One of the leading displays at Brazil’s LAAD exhibition opening today is the GUARANI project new VBTP-MR, a combat armored vehicle at full recommended weight (GVW) of 18-20 ton, supporting amphibious capacity up to 17.5 tonnes. It will be powered by a FPT diesel engine coupled to an automatic gearbox, and is designed to carry a crew of 10 dismounts plus the driver. The vehicle is designed to fit into a C-130 Hercules or forthcoming Brazilian KC-390 transport aircraft.
The Brazilian Army has already inducted over 86 VBTP-MR GUARANI 6×6 APCs armed with remote weapon station under the URUTU-3 modernisation programme to replace their EE-11 URUTU by 2015. The Brazilian Army plans to induct additional 2,044 units of the VBTP-MR GUARANI 6×6 APCs by 2030. Development and manufacturing of the VBTP-MR is being carried out jointly by the Brazilian Army, through the project Mobility Strategy and the DCT – Department of Science and Technology and Iveco.
VBTP-MR can be fitted with a variety of remote-controlled weapon stations for additional firepower, the model selected by the Brazilian Army is Elbit Systems’ ORCWS UT-30BR, mounting a 30mm cannon with provisions to carry additional anti-tank missiles. Standard UT-30BR armament is a 30mm cannon, 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, and smoke grenades, along with a panoramic commander’s sight and a laser warner. Elbit System’s Brazilian subsidiary Ares Aeroespacial e Defensa announced in October 2012 a $25 million contract to supply its stabilised REMAX remote weapon stations to the Brazilian Army. This is the first production order, and deliveries will be made from 2012-2014. REMAX was designed to be part of the VBTP programme, and seems to be characterised by a simple and easy to maintain design. The RCWS has already completed testing, and can also be mounted on other vehicles.