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Aviação do Exército

Founded just 30 years ago, in 1986, the Army Aviation Command operates helicopters in support of Brazil’s army. The city of Taubate, roughly half way between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, was chosen as the cradle of army aviation, and to this day, it remains the main base. One of the Aviagraphers was invited to take a closer look at the base and its helicopter operations.



One of the first acquisitions of the newly founded army aviation was a helicopter to insert small numbers of troops into the battlefield. A type of helicopter not often used for this role is the Eurocopter Dauphin, but this type was chosen and dubbed HM-1 Pantera (Helicoptero de Manobra). Currently, the fleet is being upgraded locally to K-2 standard with more powerful engines.

More helicopters were bought in France, and produced under license by Helibras, the local subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters which can be found close to Taubate. This Ecureuil (or Esquilo) was upgraded with a FLIR in support of urban security missions, like the 2014 World Cup Soccer and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Ecureuils are used for many missions, like attack, training and reconnaissance and are named HA-1 Esquilo with the army (Helicoptero de Ataque). EB-1002 is seen training at Taubate.

The need for troop carriers with a larger capacity than the Pantera, led to Eurocopter for an acquisition once again, and resulted in the purchase of a number of AS532UE Cougars. Called HM-3 in Brazilian service, one of these is seen departing.

The newest helicopter of the army is the Super Cougar, which is considerably larger than the Cougar and can easily be distinguished by its five-bladed rotor. Logically, the designation HM-4 was chosen, and they were named Jaguar in Brazilian army service.

The dark paint scheme of this Pantera is not only well suited for the dense foliage of the Amazon jungle area, it is also said to be radar absorbing.