Photo Report: Independence Day Parade in Rio

    Worldwide, military parades are a good chance for the general public – and gun buffs, in particular – to take a look at what is in use by the country organizing the event. Brazil’s 195th anniversary of its independence from Portugal was celebrated last September 7 with traditional civic and military parades throughout the nation. Although the major event is concentrated in Brasilia, the capital, other cities also organize parades that always attract the attention of large crowds. In Rio de Janeiro, a TFB camera moved around downtown Pesidente Vargas Avenue and neighboring areas to bring you images of firearms (and some other bigger stuff, as well) in use by military and police forces in this neck of the woods. Not a big deal in terms new hardware, but I hope you enjoy it and get a general picture of what we have here.

    BTW, higher-resolution photos are here:


    These Brazilian Air Force ground personnel having a quick snack before marching are all carrying 9x19mm Taurus MT-12 submachine guns, a mere derivative of the Beretta M12 with the push-through button fire selector above the pistol grip.

    The very same subgun type is seen here with Marine troops in their red parade uniforms. The MT-12 use, however, is limited to guard duties, only.

    The same (second-line) applies to the MT-12s that remain in use, such as this example carried by a Brazilian Navy sergeant.

    For honor guard duties are these .45 ACP INA M953 subguns carried by members of Rio de Janeiro State’s Military Fire Department. They were slightly-modified, licensed copies of the 9x19mm Danish Madsen M1946 for long manufactured in Brazil.

    Of current Brazilian production is this 9x19mm Taurus SMT9 submachine gun in the hands of a Brazilian Army Pathfinder (red cap) paratrooper kindly posing for the TFB camera.

    In the hands of an airborne ghillie-suited sniper is a 7.62x51mm Remington MSR (Modular Sniper Rifle), which is also employed by some other Brazilian Army units, such as the Special Operations Brigade.

    A more down-to-earth sniper rifle in general deployment by the Army is the bolt-action 7.62x51mm IMBEL AGLC, with a Mauser-based action.

    The 5.56x45mm IMBEL IA2 rifle is now more and more being seen in the hands of standard (non-airborne, SpecOps, etc.) Brazilian Army troops, with production at full swing at the Fábrica de Itajubá, Minas Gerais State.

    Here and there, examples of the IA2 are spotted with different sights, such as this top-rail mounted ITL Optronics MARS (Multi-purpose Aiming Reflex Sight), which combines two sighting devices, a laser and a reflex unit. The holstered pistol appears to be a 9x19mm IMBEL MD1 GC, a 17+1 single-action model.

    The 7,62x51mm IMBEL M964A1 MD1 PARA-FAL, with a shorter (440mm) barrel and polymer folding stock, is still the most numerous rifle of the Brazilian Army, the example “at rest” before the Independence Day parade being fitted with a Newcon Optik HDS 3AA red-dot sight on a short MIL-STD-1913 rail.

    Also waiting for the “go marching” order is this 12ga Mossberg M590A1 Tactical shotgun, used by the Brazilian Army in Military Police and Law-and-Order Guarantee Operations, when the Armed Forces may be (are, in fact) called in to give local states’ LE agencies a stronger hand in internal emergencies. This 9-rounder is fitted with a tri-rail handguard.

    The Brazilian-made CBC Military 3.0 RT 12ga shotgun has found its way into the local armed forces, this retractable-stock example being carried by a Brazilian Air Force soldier in charge of security duties. Also in use by the Army.

    This Brazilian marine kindly posing for TFB is holding the fixed-stock version (Standard Security) of the CBC pump-action shotgun mentioned above. Oh, yes: his colleague in the background is armed with an AT-4 84mm single-shot unguided recoiless weapon of Swedish manufacture for anti-armor/anti-fortification use.

    For the same (anti-armor and anti-fortification) duties, the Brazilian Army uses the Carl Gustav recoiless rifle of identical caliber, also of Swedish (Saab Bofors Dynamic) manufacture. Unlike the AT-4, it is a re-usable weapon.

    The 7.62x51mm FN 50-41 FAP (Fuzil Automático Pesado, Heavy Automatic Rifle) remains in Brazilian Army use in somewhat limited numbers to fulfill the LMG (Light Machine Gun) role. The weapon is also known as the FALO (Fusil Automatique Lourd) and the HBAR (Heavy Barrel) FAL.

    The 7.62x51mm FN MAG (Mitrailleuse A Gaz, or Mitrailleuse d’Apui Général) Model 60-20 has for long been the GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) of the Brazilian Armed Forces. The Army example shown in the center of photo has an early wooden stock, while that barely seen on the right features a later synthetic stock.

    A MAG (a.k.a. M240) machine gun is seen mounted on a Brazilian Army Agrale Marruá light 4X4 vehicle of local design and manufacture. Note four smoke grenade launchers on front bumper.

    The Belgian-made machine gun is also mounted on top of the 90mm gun turret of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel light armored combat vehicles that have been in Brazilian Army service since the early 1980s. The “Rattlesnake” (in English) was widely exported wordwide at the time it was introduced in the market.

    Contemporary to the Cascavel is the Engesa EE-11 Urutu (a highly poisonous Brazilian snake) 6X6 armored personnel carrier. Machine gun on top is a .50BMG Browing M2 mounted on a small defensive turret with four smoke grenade launchers.

    Now entering service with the Brazilian Army is a new 6X6 APC , the locally-made Iveco Guarani (a Brazilian Indian tribe).

    The wheeled APC employed by the Brazilian Marine Corps is the Swiss-made 8X8 MOWAG Piranha. Turret fitted to the left side of the vehicle mounts a 40mm Santa Barbara SB-40 LAG automatic grenade launcher, from Spain.

    The Marines showed the locally designed and made Avibras Astros II artillery rocket system, also in use by the Army. This has been a major export item by Brazil to a number of countries.

    Back to firearms, proper: this member of Marine Corps’ Tonelero SpecOps Battalion is holding a 9x19mm IMI Mini-Uzi submachine gun. The Israeli-made weapon has also been in the inventory of Brazilian Navy’s GRUMEC, the combat divers unit, since the mid-1980s.

    Nossir, these are not firearms! They are Italian-made Cristanini Sanijet Guns used for fast CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) decontamination and detoxication. The unit shown carrying it belongs to the Brazilian Army, but the Marines and Air Force also have them.

    Agents of the PRF – Polícia Rodiviária Federal (Federal Highway Police) show off their 5.56x45mm Armalite M15s to the TFB camera.

    Agents of Rio’s Guarda Municipal (Municipal Guard) are only armed with less-than-lethal weapons, such as the Condor AM 640 40mm riot grenade launcher and the (holstered) Spark DSK 700 taser-type pistol.

    A more “persuasive” 40mm grenade launcher, however, is the South African Milkor with a six-round drum and capacity to fire most 40x46mm grenades, including HE variants. Weapon is seen in the hands of a Brazilian Army CBRN-warfare unit.

    I just couldn’t help closing the article with this photo of a proud “Full Colonel” in CBMERJ (Rio’s Military Fire Department) uniform posing on the seat of a PMERJ (Rio’s Military Police) Shock Battalion motorcycle. My salute to the generations to come!

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.