Brazil OKs Israeli ATMOS-2000 Howitzers Despite Accusing It Of ‘Gaza Geocide’; Triumphs Chinese, French Artillery Guns

Wars make strange bedfellows. Nowhere is this more true than the recent purchase by Brazil of Israeli Howitzers. Brazil’s President recently blamed Israel for the death of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Still, his government has gone ahead to order howitzers from the same Israelis whom he blamed for the “genocide” of Palestinians.

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Brazil’s criticism and disapproval of Israel’s war in Gaza – that triggered a diplomatic breakdown between the two countries – has still not dissuaded it from buying the Jewish nation’s weapons.

Brasil announced it had selected the Israeli ATMOS-2000 truck-mounted 155-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer/Gun (SPH/SPG) last week. Among the competitors for the Howitzer deal were the French CAESAR, the Chinese SH-15, and the Slovakian Zuzana-2.

South America’s defense and military analysis forum SA Defensa, on March 2, had said that the “four options” were “narrowed down” following a “rigorous evaluation.” Last week, it reported that Brazil’s Ministry of Defense announced the conclusion of the Viatura Blindada de Combate Obuseiro Autopropulsado (VBCOAP) competition by declaring Israel’s Elbit Systems as the winner.

The Contract

As per the “initial contract,” the company is now expected to supply 36 guns, with the first two units as part of the “Sample Lot” to be handed over within 12 months.

These vehicles will “undergo technical and operational evaluations in Brazil.” A main contract will follow for the remaining 34 systems, which will be delivered in annual batches until 2034. It may be mentioned that in January 2023, Colombia, too, ordered 18 ATMOS guns in a deal worth $101.7 million.

The main trial would involve comprehensive field firing and mobility trials. The government of President Lui Inacio Lula Da Silva (or “Lula” as he is endearingly known) can also be assumed to have taken into account supply chain, life-cycle costs, and availability of spares, components, which usually differ depending on the country of origin.


The 52 caliber Autonomous Truck-Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS), mounted on a Tatra T-815 6×6 wheeled truck, features a magazine of 27 rounds and achieves a maximum range of 41 kilometers with extended range rounds. Its rate of fire, ranging from 4-9 rounds per minute, ensures rapid response in combat situations.

The Brazilian Army’s acquisition of the ATMOS is part of its efforts to modernize its artillery capabilities. The Israeli howitzers will complement its existing arsenal, which includes the ASTROS II multiple rocket launcher, the M109A5 self-propelled howitzer, and the Gepard anti-aircraft system. Azerbaijan, Botswana, Denmark, Cameroon, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, and Zambia also use the ATMOS-2000.

File Image: ATMOS

Brazil & Israeli Row Over Palestine

Brazil has traditionally been supportive of Palestine, calling for a Palestinian state to be created on the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel had seized the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem during the war. Brazil’s position became harder and sharply critical of Tel Aviv after civilian deaths reached nearly 20,000 earlier this year in the war in Gaza.

Latest estimates put the toll at close to 30,000 casualties. Lula had termed Israel’s war on Gaza a “genocide” against Palestinians and even compared it with Adolf Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Lula’s remarks and said the comparison was “crossing a red line.”

Israel soon declared Lula as a “persona non-grata” in response to his remarks, while Brazil retaliated by recalling its ambassador in Tel Aviv.  Netanyahu called Lula’s comments “shameful and serious,” adding how he “trivialized” and “harmed Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

“Israel fights for its defense and securing its future until complete victory, and it does so while upholding international law. I decided with Foreign Minister Israel Katz to summon the Brazilian ambassador to Israel for a stern reprimand conversation immediately,” Netanyahu added.

A few days later, Lula again described Israel’s offensive in Gaza as a “genocide” and that he would “not exchange (his) dignity” over his position on the matter. He emphasized the severity of the raging Gaza war and its devastating impact on Palestinians. Lula also called for a “free and sovereign Palestinian state” amid the raging battle. By then,  the spat had snowballed into an unprecedented diplomatic row.