The Italian vehicle manufacturer Iveco has signed a contract to sell 80 vehicles to the Lebanese military and police. According to Italian industrial sources the deal, worth about 30 million euros, was signed in mid-December.
The contract includes 25 Light Multi-role Vehicles (LMV), five heavy armor and mine protected troop carriers (MPV) and ten VBTP 6×6 armoured fighting vehicles VBTP-MR. The remaining vehicles include unarmored military trucks.
The VBTP-MR (Viatura Blindada de Transporte de Pessoal) was developed by Iveco for the Brazilian Army and is currently in production under an order for 2044 vehicles. The VBTP is an amphibious, 18 ton 6×6 vehicle; they are capable of carrying 11 soldiers. Some of the Brazilian VBTPs are equipped with remotely operated weapon system developed and produced by Elbit Systems, but these weapon systems are unlikely included in the configuration offered to the Lebanese.
Jane’s Defense Weekly mentioned that the VBTP-MR are to be produced in Brazil by Iveco Latin America at its plant in Sete Lagoas, State of Minas Gerais, and dispatched directly to Lebanon without armament.
This order represents the first export contract for Brazil since 1993. In the 1980s Brazil exported thousands armoured vehicles of different types produced by Engessa. The company entered bankruptcy in 1993 and was liquidated, following the collapse of its leading customer – the Iraqi Army in the 1991 Gulf War.