In a major defense industry deal it was recently announced that the Israeli company Elbit Systems has won a tender worth $100 million to supply the Brazilian military with state of the art remote-controlled weapon stations, also known as REMAX (Reparo de Metralhadora automatizada X). The work will actually be carried out by a Brazilian subsidiary company owned by Elbit Systems called Ares. Apparently the work is already underway with a $7.5 million production order already delivered to the Brazilian military.
What is REMAX?
REMAX is an advanced type of remote controlled weapons station built for machine guns mounted on logistical and armored vehicles. The REMAX systems produced by Elbit and Ares were created to meet the exacting standards of the Brazilian military and to be compatible with the Brazlilain army’s Gurani 6x6 vehicles. When the new weapon stations are installed the vehicles that are equipped with REMAX systems will be used for a variety of purposed including troop transportation, peacekeeping, and border patrol.
Who are Elbit Systems?
Elbit Systems is one of the largest Israeli registered companies involved in the defense and aerospace industries. The company was established in 1966 and since that time has become a large publicly traded company with subsidiaries in Europe, North America, and South America. With over 12,000 employees the company is a leader in new military technologies, especially drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Elbit Systems in Brazil
In 2001 Elbit entered the Brazlian market by purchasing Aeroeletronica (AEL). Then in 2011 Elbit acquired two additional Brazilian companies: Periscopio Equipamentos Optronicos and Ares Aeroespecial e Defesa. However, the potentially biggest development in regards to Elbit’s activity with the Brazilain market was a strategic agreement signed in April 2011 with Embraer S.A., the large Brazilian headquartered aerospace conglomerate. This agreement has led Embrarer and Elbit to work jointly on developing new technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles for military applications. The Brazilian air force now has several Elbit Systems Hermes 450 UAVs in service and performing operational duties. This same model of drone has reportedly been used in Israel during its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In other countries it has been used for border patrol and reconnaissance missions.
Brazilian Israel Relations
While it is certain that this $100 million dollar deal was carried out after an extensive due diligence process, it remains to be seen if it will lead to warmer Israel – Brazil relations in other areas of the government. For the past year and a half, Israel has had no ambassador in Brazil due to the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed the controversial Israeli settler leader Dani Dayan to the post. Thankfully the impass was resolved a week ago when the Israeli government decided to appoint a different candidate to the ambassadorship, Yossi Shelly. However, he is also a controversial figure for having a checkered past with questionable ethical violations. He also has no experience as a diplomat. However, as he has now already been approved by the Brazilian government he can focus on getting to work on improving relations between the two countries.
Guest post by Aaron Huber, Founder of www.kycisrael.com