By Col. Carlos Eduardo Porto Alegre Rosa (Brazilian Army)
World War I alerted strategists around the globe and also in Brazil of the importance that airplanes would have in the coming decades. In order to face this emerging threat, in 1933, the Brazilian armed forces went through a reorganization of its Military Aviation branch and its defense against airplanes. With this background, in 1939, the Brazilian Army created the Center for Instruction of Air Defense (Centro de Instrução de Defesa Antiaérea - CIDAAe), as part of its Aviation School.
Within today’s Brazilian Army, the educational facility responsible for specializing Officers and NCOs in Air Defense Artillery and Coastal Defense is the Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School (Escola de Artilharia de Costa e Antiaérea - EsACosAAe). It was created in 1965, with the fusion of the Air Defense School and the Coastal Anti-aircraft School.
Painting of the Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School in Rio de Janeiro
EsACosAAe is the only military educational establishment that develops and trains Brazilian Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, as well as military from partner nations, in the fields of air defense and coastal defense. It is known in Brazil as the “Cradle of Coastal and Air Defense Artillery.”
The school offers various courses, post-graduate studies, and internships, including the Air Defense Artillery Course for Officers, the Air Defense Artillery Course for NCOs, the Aerial Target Operator Course, Radar Operator and Fire Direction Course, Air Defense Commander Internship, and many more. In addition, the school functions as the primary consultant for all doctrinal aspects in regard to air defense and is engaged with the Army Projects Office in carrying out research and development of innovative technology such as hypersonic weapons, directed energy etc.
Students at the Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School
In Brazil’s armed forces, ground-based air defense consists of specialized units in the Army and the Marine Corps, as well as in the Navy and in the Air Force. In the Brazilian Army, Infantry and Cavalry Brigades have an organic Air Defense Artillery Battery. All Air Defense Artillery Battalions in the Brazilian Army fall under the 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade. When air defense elements are utilized in a domestic homeland defense role, in Brazil's so-called Zone of Interior, they are integrated into the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System (Sistema de Defesa Aeroespacial Brasileiro - SISDABRA), which is managed by the Brazilian Air Force. In the case of a deployment into another Theater of Operations, the air defense element coordinates their operations with the Air Force Component Commander of that Theater.
Regardless if within the Zone of Interior or in any Theater of Operations, the Air Defense Artillery of the Brazilian Army has the capacity to defend strategic structures and troops, ranging from armored formations to airborne parachutist units, thereby covering some of the most varied and extreme operational environments in the fifth largest country of the world, consisting of approximately 8,500,000 Km².
The national territory of Brazil is divided into four different Aerospace Defense Regions (Regiões de Defesa Aeroespacial - RDA) to ensure the successful execution of aerospace defense operations, as well as the control of operational assets in each respective region. By doctrine, the Brazilian Army is responsible for the planning of operations for an Air Defense Artillery Brigade in each RDA.
Brazil’s Aerospace Defense Regions
The execution of ground-based air defense within Brazilian aerospace operations falls under the authority of the 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade (1ªBda AAAe). It is commanded by a Brigadier General and consists of a General Staff, a Headquarters Battery, an Air Defense Artillery Maintenance and Supply Battalion, and six Air Defense Artillery Battalions with the task of providing air defense for strategic structures of Brazil’s national territory. In addition, Brazil is planning to establish more Air Defense Artillery Battalions in the coming years.
Brazilian short-range air defense
The organic Air Defense Artillery Batteries of the Infantry and Cavalry Brigades are technically not subordinated to the 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, but instead to their respective maneuver brigades. However, they still have close bonds and a doctrinal connection with the 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade. This allows full integration and doctrinal exchange between all elements of the Air Defense Artillery of the Brazilian Land Component.
In 2011, Brazil created the Army Strategic Program “Anti-aircraft Defense” (Programa Estratégico do Exército “Defesa Antiaérea” - PEE DA Ae) with the aim of modernizing air defense on a national level, as well as equipping anti-aircraft artillery units with the best equipment in the defense segment. The program’s ultimate goal is to recover and optimize short-range air defense functions, as well as for Brazil to obtain medium-range air defense capability. This program is managed by the 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade Commander and depends on the doctrinal advice of the Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School (EsACosAAe), to enable Brazilian industry, in partnership with the Brazilian Army, to develop varied defense products.
The Brazilian Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School (Escola de Artilharia de Costa e Antiaérea - EsACosAAe) in Rio de Janeiro
Learn more about the Brazilian Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School at its website: http://www.esacosaae.eb.mil.br/
The author, Col. Carlos Eduardo Porto Alegre Rosa is the Commandant of the Brazilian Coastal Artillery and Air Defense School (EsACosAAe) and lead advisor for air defense doctrine in Brazil.