The Brazilian Army has a huge Amazon Command that is set to grow in the coming years. But their soldiers need special equipment to operate in this terrain as well as expert training.
Here is some of the equipment that they use shown to Shephard during a MASA press trip to the Army’s Amazon Command in Manaus.
The army is replacing is old Para Fal 7.62mm rifle with a new Brazilian-made 5.56mm rifle called the IA2.
They started replacing the Fal over two years ago but the transition is still ongoing. A spokesperson from Amazon Command told Shephard that they army refused to accept the IA2 more than ten times until it was perfect and properly tested.
The IA2 weighs just 3.4kg and has a range of 1,800m. The effective range is about 300m but it has a 30 round magazine and more suited to shooting in the jungle where ranges are much less.
In this way it compares favourably to the Para Fal, which weighs more at 4.87kg. Although the Fal has a longer maximum range of 3,800m and an effective range of 600m this has little use in the jungle when you are more likely to engage at short ranges. It has a 20 round magazine.
According to the army, it will take 5-10 years to replace all 200,000 Para Fal rifles so it will continue to see service for some time yet. It is part of the army’s plan to be able to supply itself with its own rifle and not have to rely on imports.
The army also uses the Tactical Trirail 12mm pump action shotgun from Mossberg for close encounters and used by the point-man on patrols. It weighs 2.9kg and has a range of just 15m. It holds
Other small arms include the Imbel 9mm GC MD1 pistol. It weighs just 1094g with a maximum range of 50m and a magazine that holds 17 rounds, plus one up the spout. There is also a range of different sized bayonets designed to be fitted to the end of the barrel of the IA2 rifle.
All the jungle battalion soldiers have laser target designators and every soldier is equipped with Harris SPR 7800S individual radio that uses VHF and has a range of 1-2 km. At the higher company level they are equipped with Falcon II radios, also from Harris. For SATCOM they use Global Star and Iridium.
Spotters use the Newcon Optix telescope and the rifles are fitted with the HDS 3x lens scope and the HDS 3AA red dot sight also from Newcon Optik.
Soldiers use a rucksack that can hold loads from 15kg to 20-25kg in weight depending on the mission. Movement is slow with distance of only a kilometre or two covered in a day.
The sniper rifle is fitted with sights from Leupold and there are options for night vision/thermal capability. All sights are tested prior to use on deployment. There is no movement at night, the risk of getting lost or giving away your position to an enemy through noise is too high.
A Brazilian NCO told Shephard that they do not use sleeping bags, just hammocks at night time. They also take standard water purification and medical equipment. Whilst GPS is used for navigation, soldiers are also trained to fix their location using more traditional means such as the sun and stars as well as with maps and a compass.
He added that up to 2004 the Brazilian Army did not use GPS. It was only when the US military operating in Afghanistan and Iraq got lost that they opening up GPS services. Back then accuracy was around 100m, now it is much more.
Looking ahead there are plans for soldiers to be issued with tablets containing battle management system software. Data transfer capabilities will be tested next year and different systems and materials will be used throughout the trials.