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Guerrero. anti-armor (with some of the 20 Milan ATGW launchers available) and air defence (with the 6 estimated RBS-70 man-portable launchers available to the Ejercito). The deployable units of the Ejercito ar e dis tr ibuted among 13 var ious Brigades (Bde). including 28 LAV-150ST armed with water cannon for crowd control and 40 VBL scout cars. Additionally. . These are configured as weapons carriers for fire-support duties. with the states of Chiapas. 1st and 2nd Inf Bde’s considered as fully deployable with integral support units. o f which over half have been acquired since the 1980s. eight with MILAN ATGW launchers. Limited modernization programs are known to have been undertaken for the WW II era US supplied M3 half-tracks as well as the 1960s era German supplied H W K 1 0 series full-tracked vehicle fleet. These zones generally correspond with the country’s 31 states. as opposed to Canada’s Iltis jeeps. Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Parachute (PARA) Rifle Bde. The regions will ultimately be the nucleus for the cr eation of up to six Army Corps. The APC fleet also includes a very large number of BDX (4 x 4) and full-tracked AMX VCI recently acquired from Belgium. Houston Chihuahua San Antonio ARMY (Ejercito) The Ejercito is deployed to respond to IS threats and is mainly dispersed into 40 military zones grouped in 12 military regions. Besides the tracked vehicles the only armoured vehicles with excepVANGUARD 16 Issue 5. As the for ce that bears the brunt of IS operations the Ejercito is PACIFIC in urgent need of modernOCEAN ized and new equipment. with half also containing at least one or more cavalry regiments or support units. ENG and both Military Police (MP) Bde’s constitute the Army’s General Reserve.300 durable HMMWV (Humvee’s). the Ejercito is well equipped with light utility vehicles having some 3. with only four of these: Presidential Guard. PARA.AMX VCI tracked APC showing it’s ability to climb up to a 60% gradient. Each zone is garrisoned by one or more infantry Battalions (Bn). The PARA Bde is relatively mobile having received a number of Supacat 6 x 6 all-terrain vehicles in early 1998. Pedro Moreno Armoured (Armd) Bde and Jose Antonio Torres Motorized (Mot) Cavalry Bde are grouped together under CE1 in Mexico District Federal. The Guard. of which only the 1st (CE1 in Regional Mitar 1) currently exists with the 2nd and 3rd Corps forming. 2000 Monterrey Durango Guadalajara Manzanillo Mexico City Acapulco GULF OF MEXICO Veracruz CHIAPAS Province tional off road mobility are 120 ERC-90 Lynx armored cars supplanted by two VCR/PC variants with extensive commu nications equipment. The majority of the Ejercito’s Armored vehicle fleet is comprised of a varied fleet of 4-wheel vehicles optimized for IS. Vera Cruz and the one federal district around Mexico City each subdivided into three zones. while the 1st and 2nd Inf Bde’s.
112 x 120mm) Army Units 13 Bde’s: Guard. plus the DNVI Ocelote APC which is similar to the French VAB series – this version may include a number of other variants such as: reconnaissance vehicle.000 personnel Armed Humvee's on manoeuvres with motorized units. 7 Mech Regt’s plus 25 Independent (Indep) Co’s 9/2 Armd Recce Regt’s / Bn’s plus 3 Indep Co’s 6/3 Artillery Regt’s / Bn’s 4 Recoilless Gun Groups (106mm M40A1) 6 ENG Bn’s: 3 Combat. An-32. DHC-5D) COIN (AT-33A. Navy: 12 77 8+10 19+8 4 14 ? 8 37. The MN has a negligible ASW capability with the modest naval air arm mainly equipped for coastal patrol duties and limited fire support. PC-7) Support + Heavy Lift Helicopters (Mi-17. Puma + Mi-26T) 80 Light Transport Helicopters (+24 206L-4 on order) .62mm turret as per DN-III. 33 billion pesos (US $3. in conjunction with the numerically large marine forces (which are under the auspices of the MN) which were recently reorganized. minesweepers and Coast Guard ships still in service which still offer sterling service and provide gunfire support for drug enforcement patrols. developed since 1967 under the stewardship of the Mexican Department of National Industry. for employment on the Holzinger and Uribe (which the former are based on) class patrol ships. plus 3 Indep Combat Co’s 29 Cavalry Regt’s: 3 Armd.000 personnel Fighter (F-5 Tiger II) AEW (3 Embraer EMB-145SA on order) Transport (C-130A. those units of the MN with gun calibres 3 inch or greater are essentially a well preserved floating museum of ex-US.5 tonne DN-IV Caballo – 20mm armed turret or 7.9 billion) A rm y 420e 394e 286e ? 5 128 180. 80 Tracked Half Tracks (M3) SPH: 5 Buffalo w/ 75mm turret from M8 Towed Artillery (112 x 105mm How. 4 Mech Inf. 100 Infantry Bn’s: 82 Inf.Since the 1980s. (incl. ENG. 4 Horsed Cavalry 100 Special Forces Units wheeled 4 x 4 armoured vehicles designated the DN (Defence Nacional). They are backed by the Hinds. 18 Mot. recently acquired under great secrecy. Cavalry. 1 Marine and 1 Assault). 3 Construction.000 conscripts) Light Tanks (M-3. 3 Mechanized (Mech) Inf Bn’s. M-5 Stuart. with six already delivered. based at Veracruz. 5 Guard (incl 3 Inf. 2 x MP. It is believed there are at least two mortar versions – mounted 81mm and towed French 120mm TDA. 375e AMX-13) Recce: 354e Wheeled (plus 40 MAC-1) APC’s: 206e Wheeled.000 personnel (approx. 727. mainly WWII vintage.62mm turret – with five DN-V also appearing as Buffalo fire support vehicles utilizing the complete turret of the WWII era US supplied 75mm M8 SPH – the only self-propelled artillery system in service with Mexico. Mexico has been engaged in the development and production of an indigenous series of CURRENT DEFENCE BUDGET CURRENT FORCE LEVELS: (e = estimate) Approx. 5 x Armd.2in. with characteristics of both the Textron LAV150 and MOWAG Roland light armoured vehicles.600 Marines) Destroyers and Frigates Gunships and Patrol Craft (River Craft not incl. The substantial patrol force with a majority of modern units. armoured cargo carr ier and armoured ambulance – a fire support vehicle with a 90mm turret is projected. Production has been undertaken for the following versions: the DN-III SEDENA 1000 – based on modified Dodge 4x4 truck chasis. 60. frigates.100 Naval Air and 8. command post.) Transports + small support ships Light shipborne + Mi-8 support helicopters Mi-24P/35P Hind Attack Helicopters Maritime surveillance (C-212 and An-32) MRS (FIROS 6 on 4x4 chasis: Marines) 105mm How (M56: Marines) Air Force : 11 – 23 115 55+2 8. The 11 MBB-105’s will be progressively replaced by10 MD902 Explorers. PARA. have been heavily engaged in counternarcotic operations and preventing incursions by foreign fisheries poachers. 2 x Inf. destr oyers . 3 PARA (incl 1 FAM). 18 x 75mm How) 172 Heavy Mortar (60 x 4. 1. two versions of the 6. The latest vehicle to enter service has been the DN-VII Lince scout car which is very similar to the Renault VBL – appearing in both DIM-I reconnaissance and DIM-II VIP transport versions. NAVY (Marina Nacional – MN) Other than some recently leased ex-US ‘Knox’ and ‘ Bronstein’ class frigates. and are expected to be armed with 70mm rocket pods and Gatling guns by December in an effort to step up the fight against drugs. DN-V Toro – reconnaissance variants similar to LAV-150 with British Helio 20mm/7.
Of note. Mexican media have reported that the Su-25 will acquire 3 Embraer EMB-145SA AEW&C aircr aft. plus three Cline’s augmenting the FAM transport fleet which was severely depleted following the withdrawal of the C-47 Dakota’s.Frogfoot is a possible replacement for the AT-33A’s which will hav e to be retired soon. south and northwest respectively.7 and 9 in the east. including some armed helicopters . out of the 73 originally donated to Mexico by the US between 1996-97 had been returned by the FAM due to their poor condition. 24 Bell 206L-4 Long Ranger helicopters are being purchased with the first four delivered in December 99. Additionally. Brazil and Greece which have also chosen the Erieye and will be one of 16 air forces worldwide (including NATO). By September 1999 all 72 Vietnam era UH1H Huey helicopters. Plans have been announced to acquire 20-30 Aermacchi SF-260E Warriors for primary/basic training and up to 70 new Cessna 182S aircraft have been acquired for primary training. equipped with Ericsson’s PS-890 Erieye phased-array radar. which the FAM described as ‘junk’ with even the US General Accounting office criticizing the transfer by noting in July that the helicopters had not been properly maintained due to spares shortages. and is structured to support the Ejercito and Federal Police in IS and anti-narcotics operations. The FAM will join the ranks of Sweden. as of August 12TH . the FAM has reportedly announced. including many small liaison aircraft impounded from smugglers. with the Navy also acquiring eight Mi-8 Hip and four Antonov An-32 Cline for SAR and maritime surveillance respectively. patrol and liaison tasks. based in Edmonton. The MN also undertakes those duties traditionally provided by the Coast Guard forces of other nations. The two Mi-26T Halo heavy lift helicopters recently acquired have already provided invaluable service.ca VANGUARD 18 Issue 5. A majority of these modern patrol craft are comprised of the locally built Holzinger and Azteca classes which are well equipped and cons tr ucted by Mexican shipyard personnel under Naval direction. In the past. AIR FORCE (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana – FAM) The FAM operates an extremely mixed complement of mainly 2nd generation aircraft. with the Mexican government so pleased it may fund more. for anti-narcotics missions. The FAM has recently undertaken a number of new aircraft acquisitions – in view of the availability of ‘cheap aircraft’ from the former Soviet Republics – and has acquired some 56 Mi-17 Hip helicopters from Kazan in Russia. The majority of armed aircraft are trainers such as the AT-33A or PC-7 configured for Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations. that it Basic pilot training on Pilatus PC-7 PC-7's on training flight for COIN duties. He can be reached at: defencegeopol@sprint. with an extremely small fleet of II F-5 fighters for air defence intercept duties. 2000 . that currently operate or have on order AEW&C aircraft. Mexico. as part of Mexico’s anti-narcotics plan which will be based at three diverse locations: BAM No’s 4. Mark Romanow is an independent Defence/Geopolitical Analyst. b Photos courtesy of Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional. the FAM has often relied on US largesse for surplus helicopters to help in increasing the mobility of Mexico’s anti-narcotics units but this has fallen on a sour note of late.
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