Brazil - Country Commercial Guide
Defense, Aviation and Security

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-22


The Brazilian defense, aviation and security industries remain some of the most important in the Southern Hemisphere. Brazil is one of only six countries in the world that manufactures commercial jets, and has been one of the top 10 export destinations of U.S. aerospace products over many years.  

The development of strategic sectors such as defense and space engineering is flourishing thanks to a strong commercial relationship developed between Brazil and the U.S. over recent years. Currently, there are successful government-to-government and industry-to-industry efforts promoting joint ventures and bilateral commercial cooperation. These programs seek to leverage unique capabilities and technological advantages to promote innovation and cooperation across industries.

Public safety remains a fundamental concern in Brazil, resulting in considerable investment in security equipment and technology. The pervasive nature of the problem has gained enormous public and political visibility, leading the federal government to create a Public Security Department to coordinate a portfolio of law enforcement agencies throughout the national territory.


There are significant opportunities for U.S. companies to do business and/or become a supplier to the Brazilian defense, aviation and security sectors. There are major subsectors and segments in these industries that U.S. suppliers should focus on, which include but are not limited to the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), aircraft repair & maintenance, space launch technologies and communication satellites, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles). The Brazilian defense and space sectors also offer unique business opportunities in the segment of wheeled and tracked armored vehicles, short range air defense systems, weapon systems, attack helicopters, communication satellites, sensors, radars and systems integration, satellite constellations, launch vehicles, space operations center and others.

Companies with know-how and technology in these areas are welcome to establish partnerships with local Brazilian companies and are encouraged to participate in future public tenders and reverse auctions opened by the Brazilian government. To succeed in Brazil, U.S. companies must either be established in the country or have a well-informed local representative. Much like in other sectors in Brazil, it is important to have a distributor or system integrator that can offer post-sale and maintenance services, replacement parts, and repairs. Whether introducing a product to the market independently or entering with an existing local partner, it is necessary to have a coherent market entry strategy to penetrate the Brazilian market.

Leading Sub-Sectors


Commercial Aviation 

Brazil possesses a large commercial aviation market and ranks 5th globally in terms of annual domestic flight passengers with 92 million passengers transported in 2019, slightly behind Japan, which occupies the 4th place with 96 million annual domestic passengers.

There are three major segments that U.S. suppliers in this industry should focus on: OEMs, general aviation, and repair & maintenance.  A fourth niche, which is growing rapidly, is the drone and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) market. 

OEMs – Embraer is a global company headquartered in Sao Paulo with businesses in commercial and executive aviation, as well as in defense and security markets.  Founded in 1969, the company became a leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 150 seats. 

Currently, Embraer imports approximately 56% of its components from North America, mostly from the United States. Embraer’s selection criteria take technical solutions, product quality, commercial and aftermarket support and a number of other factors into consideration. It requires certifications such as AS9100, EN9100, JISQ9100 and NBR15100.  Depending on the type of product, additional certifications might be required. 

The other major OEM is Helibras, the Brazilian subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters.  In 2019, approximately 36 helicopters were produced in its Brazilian plant, serving the military and civilian markets.

General Aviation  

According to the Brazilian Association of General Aviation (ABAG), a private aviation association, general aviation plays a strategic role in the development of Brazilian transportation and logistics industries by establishing connections with 5,568 municipalities, through 2,567 airports spread across the Brazilian territory. 

The general aviation fleet includes approximately 7,800 airplanes and helicopters in service. The detailed breakdown includes 610 jets, 1,130 turboprops, 1,160 helicopters and about 4,900 piston engine aircraft, which are used by passenger air taxis, air ambulances, private operators and flight instruction providers. 

Cessna, Neiva, Piper, Embraer and Beechcraft together represent 50% of Brazil’s existing fleet. According to a study conducted by the Brazilian General Aviation Association, 40% of the fleet is concentrated in the Southeast region, but since 2018 the South and the Central-West regions have been registering the highest growth rate.   

Also of note within the general aviation industry, the aerial agricultural sector has never had a negative year in fleet growth in Brazil.

Repair & Maintenance  

According to the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), Brazil’s total fleet consists of 22,219 aircraft composed of commercial aircraft, general/business aircraft, and experimental aircraft.  Due to political and economic uncertainty going on in the country, demand for new aircraft has slowed down over the last couple of years. However, the demand for replacement parts has shown growth and will likely continue to increase over the next few years.  

In 2019, the market for aircraft repair and maintenance was estimated at US$730 million with an estimated annual growth rate of approximately 5% over the next 5 years. The relatively strong market for repair and maintenance is driven by the fact that more than 40% of the general aviation fleet is composed of one or two-engine piston-powered aircraft with more than 30 years of use. The average age of the general aviation fleet is currently 30 years, while the commercial aviation fleet has an average age of six years. To provide repair and maintenance services in Brazil, the company needs a Maintenance Organization Certificate (COM) issued by ANAC. There are 522 maintenance bases currently in Brazil with a valid COM. The importation of parts and components for the aeronautical industry totaled US$9.2 billion in 2018. Around 36% of the imports have their unit value in the range of $10k to $100k dollars. 


 In May 2017, ANAC approved the special regulation for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) throughout the Brazilian territory. UAV operations in Brazil must follow the ANAC regulations as well as the regulations established by the Brazilian Air Space Control Department (DECEA) and the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL).  According to ANAC, there are currently around 2,400 companies registered for drone operation in Brazil. 

The services provided by drones have increased in recent years, as demonstrated by the increase in the number of drones used for professional reasons. According to consultancy PwC, Brazil follows global trends, and its drone market is divided among sectors including infrastructure (41%), agriculture (26%), logistics (10%), safety (8%), entertainment (7%), insurance (5%) and mining (3%). 

The Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency classifies the drones into 3 classes, according to the weight supported during takeoff:

Class 1 - Greater than 150 kg;

Class 2- Between 150 and 25 kg;

Class 3- Less than 25 kg.

Drones below 250g are considered only for recreational purposes and do not enter the classification.

Only class 1 and 2 drones require an Airworthiness Certificate (CA) for operation; they also need a RAB registration like any aircraft in the Brazilian fleet. Class 3 drones require SISANT System registration of Unmanned Aircraft.

There are approximately 80,000 registered drones in Brazil, indicating that the Brazilian market is maturing and now undergoing a period of investments in new companies, products, and services in the sector.

For example, the state government of São Paulo is investing in drone technology to help identify criminals as part of its efforts to combat crime. Similarly, the state government of Ceará is using drones to assist with water management. Drone technology for mapping and agribusiness also have a strong presence in the Brazilian market.

As drone technology evolves, increases its security levels, its autonomy and its integration with other systems, new business models start to emerge, such as logistics, health services and even search and rescue operations.


In 2019, Brazil’s total passenger volume reached 107 million passengers which represented 1.2% increase versus the previous year.  Domestic and international passenger traffic plunged in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the three major domestic carriers (Azul, Gol and LATAM) reported operations at between 70-80% of pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of 2020, representing an uptick that has industry observers optimistic that domestic traffic may return to 2019 levels by mid-2021.

There are 11 domestic air transportation companies certified to operate in the country, concentrated in 5 Brazilian states: São Paulo, Paraná, Amazônia, Goiás and

 Rio de Janeiro. Besides the domestic airline companies, ANAC has certified 72 foreign companies to operate regularly in the country. The United States hosts most of these companies, followed by Argentina and Colombia, with 7, 5 and 4 companies, respectively. 

Brazil has 2,499 airports registered by ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency), 1,911 of which are private and 588 are public. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the country’s air passenger movements (arrivals and departures) are concentrated in 65 airports (international, national and regional). Thirty-one of those airports are located in major cities with main regional terminals able to process over one million annual passenger movements

Ground Service Providers (GSP) 

Ground Service Providers (GSP) play a key role in the aviation sector in Brazil. Currently, GSPs account for 40% of all the services at Brazilian airports, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The Brazilian market has been presenting a continuous growth in this particular segment with over 30% growth. Brazil has 120 GSPs which are responsible for creating 42,000 jobs.  

As the GSP sector continues to develop, there will be demand for services like baggage transportation, aircraft cleaning, safety inspections, check-in, aircraft fueling, surface transport for crew and passengers, X-ray for hand luggage and checked luggage and air cargo handling. 

Safety and Security Industries 

Public security remains a fundamental problem with enormous public and political visibility. The largest clients in the security market are the Government of Brazil and financial and commercial institutions with large investments in the police modernization program serving as key drivers in the Brazilian security market. 

In 2019, the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) implemented a plan to invest US$30 billion over four years to upgrade public security agencies with new equipment such as vehicles, ballistic vests, holographic sights, and stun guns.  Similar opportunities for security suppliers will continue to grow as the government continues to focus on infrastructure concessions to address public security problems. This in turn has increased the security opportunities available to system and technology providers in the country. Concession investments should take place in mass transport systems, with money being spent on both roads and airports to increase their efficiency, security, and capacity.  

Over the next decade, the Brazilian government security program aims to strengthen border control, combat organized crime, improve the prison system, create a  National Information System for the Public Security agencies, and combat drug trafficking.  

At the state level, public security secretariats are also investing in the acquisition of new technologies to respond to the public outcry against crime across the country. Command and Control centers have become widely used by state police agencies and will need to be modernized to improve interoperability and data analysis capabilities as modern law enforcement methods are implemented.   

Below are the areas that currently present the best prospects in the Security market,


Surveillance Equipment 

Access Control 

Security Systems 

Detection Devices (thermal cameras, drug, fire, metal) 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 

Cyber Security (hardware, software) 


Personal security, access control, alarm systems and surveillance circuits 

Residential Buildings 







Home Security 








Personal security, access control, alarm systems and surveillance circuits 

Airport Security 







Banking Institutions 







Public Safety & Security 

Surveillance equipment e.g. UAVs, emergency response integrators and professional training 

Mass Transportation 
















In 2019 the United States of America officially designated Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA). The MNNA designation is a unilateral U.S. decision that identifies its top, strategic defense partnerships.  Brazil is only the second country to receive MNNA designation in the Western Hemisphere and it reflects the strong bilateral defense relationship between the two countries. The MNNA helps support collaboration on the development of defense technologies and provides a number of benefits to the Brazilian government, including special access to the U.S. defense industry, increased joint military exchanges, as well as special access to military equipment financing. 

 In March 2020, the United States of America and Brazil signed a bilateral agreement on Research Development, Test and Evaluation  (RDT&E) that will expand opportunities for both countries to collaborate and share information on the development of new defense capabilities and pave the way for potential future cooperation on applied research, development of emerging technologies, analysis, operational studies, demonstrations, and testing and evaluation prototypes. Before it can enter into force, the Brazilian Congress needs to ratify this agreement.   

Brazil’s initial 2021 federal budget proposal for the defense sector was approximately US$1.83 billion;* however, subsequent budget cuts decreased the total budget to approximately US$ 1.58 billion, creating challenges for the Ministry of Defense to cover discretionary expenses and priority projects. The National Defense Strategy  (NDS) continues to be the guide for medium and long-term planning for the defense sector in Brazil. The three strategic sectors highlighted in the NDS are: nuclear, cyber and space. Major Brazilian Defense Strategic projects include the Submarine Development Program (PROSUB) and the Navy Nuclear Program (PNM) coordinated by the Brazilian Navy; the Guarani Armored wheeled vehicles, the Integrated Border Monitoring System (SISFRON) and Cyber Defense coordinated by the Brazilian Army; and the KC-390 aircraft, the Gripen AM-X aircraft modernization, and Space System Strategic Program coordinated by the Brazilian Air Force. 


The strategic relationship between Brazil and the United States in the space sector has been rapidly growing in recent years with several foundational agreements signed, such as the Space Situational Awareness Agreement, the CubeSat Agreement to Study Solar Physics, Scintillation Prediction Observations Research Task - SPORT and the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Cooperation Agreement. In March 2019, Brazil and the United States signed a technology safeguards agreement that was ratified by the Brazilian Congress and entered into force in December 2019. The technology safeguards agreement allows the use of U.S. technology in space launches from Brazil, specifically the Alcantara Space Launch Center in Maranhão. 

Recently, the Brazilian Space Agency published the second public call to identify companies, national or foreign, that were interested in carrying out suborbital and orbital launch operations using the Alcantara Space Center. The technology safeguards agreement is helping unlock bilateral commercial cooperation in a range of advanced technologies related to space. According to Brazil’s Strategic Program for Space Systems (PESE), priorities for the space sector include development in the following areas: satellite constellations, launch vehicles, a space launch center (Alcantara), and a space operations center.  

Import Requirements & Documentation 

As in most industries, having a local office or a trusted and well-respected local representative with extensive contacts and a solid sales record is a critical business practice to succeed in Brazil.  Some aerospace, defense, and space technology might be subject to ITAR regulation. U.S. companies should contact the U.S. Department of State to learn about regulations and restrictions before engaging in any business transactions. 

Selling to the Government 

To conduct business with the Brazilian government, U.S. companies must be prepared for a long and complex engagement. In addition to the ever-present desire for offsets, U.S. firms must be prepared to transfer technology (subject to pertinent export control regulations) and oftentimes engage in a long-term partnership with the Brazilian aerospace and defense industry for the co-development and local production of components, parts, and assembly.  All government acquisitions are published at


Most Armed Forces acquisitions are done through public bids. Generally, bids are evaluated on the basis of technical specifications, price and availability with an emphasis on lowest price.  The company that presents the lowest price and complies with all technical requirements and documents requested in the bid wins the contract.  Foreign Military Sales (FMS) are an important and well-used government-to-government acquisition mechanism. Sole source procurement is rare and generally only on national security basis.  

More information about the FMS program can be found at

Limitations on Selling US Products and Services 

Aeronautical products must have a certification issued by  ANAC – National Civil Aviation Agency, responsible for the regulation, inspection, and safety of civil aviation activities, aeronautical products, and airport infrastructure.   

Distribution & Sales Channels if applicable 

Brazil is a geographically large country.  Aircraft part suppliers without local representation may find it difficult to build relationships, get timely information, and gain access to decision-makers.


Principal Business Associations:

  • ABIMDE – Brazilian Defense and Security Industries Association
  • AIAB – Aerospace Industries Association of Brazil
  • COMDEFESA/ FIESP – Department of Defense and Security / State of Sao Paulo Industry Federation
  • ABAG – Brazilian Association of General Aviation
  • ABEAR – Brazilian Airlines Association
  • IBA – Brazilian Aviation Institut  
  • ABESE - Brazilian Association of Electronic Security Equipment
  • ABSEG – Brazilian Association of Security Professionals
  • FENAVIST – National Federation of Security Companies

Contact Information 

For more information, please contact the US Commercial Service Industry Specialists at or