Brazilian Air Force
Established in 1941, the FAB (Brazilian Air Force) is the newest
of the services and gradually has gained a larger share of the budget.
The strength of the FAB--50,000 members in 1997 (including 5,000
conscripts), 272 combat aircraft, and forty-five armed helicopters--makes
it the largest air force in Latin America (see table 31, Appendix).
The FAB's budget is relatively large because of its civil air budget.
The minister of aeronautics, in addition to commanding the air
force, controls all civil air activities: the construction and operation
of airports through the Brazilian
Airport Infrastructure Firm (Empresa Brasileira de Infraestructura
Aeroportuária--Infraero), and air traffic control through
the Civil Aviation Department (Departamento de Aviação
Civil--DAC). The line of military command extends from the minister
through his chief of staff, who heads the Air Force General Staff
(Estado-Maior da Aeronáutica--EMAer), down to the commanders
of the three general commands: General Air Command (Comando Geral
do Ar), General Support Command (Comando Geral de Apoio), and General
Personnel Command (Comando Geral do Pessoal) and three departments:
Research and Development, Civil Aviation, and Training. There are
also seven regional air commands under the General Air Command that
cover the entire country. Numbered from one to seven, the headquarters
of the regional air commands include Belém, Recife, Rio
de Janeiro, São
Alegre, Brasília, and Manaus.
Data as of April 1997