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Why the United States never sold battleships or aircraft carriers to the Brazilian Navy

11 June 2024 to 18: 00
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Why the United States never sold battleships or aircraft carriers to the Brazilian Navy
The relationship between the United States and Brazil has always been complex, especially when it comes to military issues. Between 1930 and 1970, the United States never sold battleships or aircraft carriers to the Brazilian Navy. Image: Production Navy/Disclosure

The relationship between the United States and Brazil has always been complex, especially when it comes to military issues. Between 1930 and 1970, the United States never sold battleships or aircraft carriers to the Brazilian Navy.

During the 1930s, the Brazilian fleet was stagnant. The Brazilian Navy sought support from the United States to modernize its navy. At the time, the United States wanted to strengthen ties with Latin American countries to prevent them from getting closer to enemies like Germany and Italy. This American interest opened doors for Brazil.

In 1937, with American help, Brazil began building Marcilio Dias class destroyers, based on American models. During World War II, the United States continued to provide support, including Cannon-class escort destroyers.

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Despite this collaboration, the United States never sold larger ships such as battleships or aircraft carriers to Brazil.

On several occasions, requests from the Brazilian Navy were refused. For example, in 1936 and 1937, Brazil requested obsolete Omaha-class and Wickes-class ships, but the American government refused. During World War II, Brazil planned to acquire larger ships, including Independence-class aircraft carriers and Nevada-class battleships.

However, the United States opposed these requests. They believed that Brazil did not need such a large fleet and that the cost of operating these ships was too high. The United States wanted to ensure that Brazil did not have a fleet superior to that of other countries in the region and preferred that Brazil depend on American support for sovereignty issues.

Furthermore, they believed that Brazil should focus on improving its infrastructure and transportation, rather than investing in expensive warships.

This American stance led the Brazilian Navy to seriously consider purchasing British ships. From the 1970s onwards, Brazil began to develop its own naval industry with British support, building Niterói-class frigates and acquiring Oberon-class submarines.

Despite the negatives and the complexity of relations, the United States and the Brazil maintained a strategic relationship. Eventually, the Americans realized the importance of supporting the Brazilian Navy and began to offer other types of ships. However, they never sold battleships or aircraft carriers to Brazil. This marked an era of learning and adaptation for the Brazilian Navy, which sought to develop its own naval capabilities and diversify its suppliers.

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