LAAD 2023 – More on the Brazilian Army Guaraní programme

While production continues at steady pace, IDV and the Brazilian Army are frozing the configurations of the Guaraní specialised versions, industry also looking to further export opportunities

Numbers have been floating around concerning the Guaraní 6×6 programme, and LAAD was the right place to confirm some information concerning the status of one of the major programmes of the Brazilian Army. Known in Brazil with the acronym VBTP-MR  (Viatura Blindada de Transporte de Pessoal Média sobre Rodas, medium wheeled armoured personnel carrier, the initial production was concentrated on personnel carrier versions, a number of specialised versions being also in the pipeline.

While initially the overall number of planned vehicles was 2,044 with a rate of 114 vehicles per year for 18 years, financial constraints led to some reductions. Pre-series vehicles were handed over to the service in 2012, a first contract for 216 vehicles being signed. A further contract was signed in 2016; initially this aimed at 1,580 vehicles, but was then reduced to 1,200 spread on 20 years, therefore IDV is producing 60 Guaraní  per year for Brazil. These are produced in the Sete Lagoas plant, which was inaugurated 10 years ago, in 2013, the work for the Brazilian Army being carried out on one shift, which leaves considerable room to cope with potential export contacts, the facility being able to support a 120 vehicles per year production rate.

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The total number of vehicles booked by the Brazilian Army is therefore 1,416 to be delivered by 2037. It is to note that all those vehicles come with a 3-year Integrated Logistic Support contract. In November 2022 the 600 vehicles target was overcome, all those being fitted with the pintle-mounted system developed by CTEX, (Centro Tecnológico do Exército, the Army technology centre), or by the REMAX (Reparo de Metralhadora Automatizado X) remotely controlled weapon station developed by Ares Aeroespacial e Defesa, as well as with the Elbit Systems’ UT-30BR turret armed with an Mk44 30 mm cannon, produced locally by AEL Sistemas.

Required to elaborate on the Guaraní 2 development, IDV officials underlined that his is mostly a journalistic definition, further developments looking at finalising all specialised versions, which are part of existing contracts.

At the International Armoured Vehicles conference held late last January in Twickenham, the Brazilian Army detailed its intentions in terms of specialised Guaraní . According to the briefing 103 vehicles in the mortar carrier variant fitted with a 120 mm mortar will be produced between 2029 and 2033, followed by 74 command post vehicles between 2031 and 2034, 64 ambulances (2032-2037), 62 air defence (2034-2037) and 28 communication vehicles (2035-2037).  However, according to IDV, the work on specialised versions might be anticipated to align them with the delivery schedules.

The first export user of the Guaraní  6×6 was Lebanon, which ordered 16 vehicles in 2015, deliveries starting in 2017, followed in 2021 by Ghana which ordered 11 of them.

In the Philippines it was Elbit Systems of Israel to take part in the bid for 28 wheeled APCs, the Guaraní  winning over its competitors. IDV does not comment on this issue, and especially on problems that are arising for the export in that particular country. EDR On-Line understands that the German arms export regulator, the BAFA (Bundesamtes für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontroll the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control), is unwilling to grant the export license, the steel as well as the transmission being of German origin. However other vehicles with German content were sold to that same country without major hurdles. What will happen next remains to be seen.

A major contract yet to be signed is that with neighbouring Argentina. This deal is carried out at governmental level, the rulers of the two countries having expressed the will to cooperate on the Guaraní, therefore the letter of intent for 156 vehicles signed on 23 December 2022 might soon become a full contract.

According to IDV representatives other nations are interested in the Brazilian-produced armoured vehicle, mostly in Africa and Asia. The company is ready to adapt them to customers requirements, especially in integrating government furnished equipment such as combat management and communication systems.

Photos by P. Valpolini