The Guarani Fighting Vehicle Is the Developing World’s Stryker
Brazil is getting more than 1,500 of these 16.7-ton beasts
Brazil stands out in Latin America for its arms industry. There are more armored vehicles, artillery pieces and aircraft made in Brazil in service around the world than from any other country in the Western Hemisphere south of the Rio Grande. It’s one of the largest small arms exporters in the world. And it’s armored vehicles are nothing to scoff at.
However, not all Brazilians weapons are 100 percent Brazilian. In 2009, Brazil teamed up with Italian firm Iveco to begin producing a new armored, mine-protected vehicle known as the VBTP-MR Guarani.
The Brazilian army called for the vehicle to take over for the EE-11 Urutu, which first entered production 1970s and which Brazil exported to Africa, the Middle East and its South American neighbors. Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile have all placed orders for the new Guarani.
Given the decades of time between the two designs, it’s to be expected that the Guarani is better equipped and armored, and just all around superior. It’s also amphibious and bears a close resemblance to the Iveco SuperAV, which makes sense.
Think of it like the Brazilian version of the U.S. Army Stryker—roughly.
The Guarani. Andre Gustavo Stumpf photo via Flickr
The Guarani is slightly larger and 1.2 tons heavier than the Urutu, but comes with 123 additional horsepower—and the remote-controlled 30-millimeter MK44 Bushmaster II autocannon is a slight upgrade from the Urutu’s 25-millimeter cannon. It has a modern suite of optics and an improved weapons stabilizer, and the Guarani is slightly faster with a top speed of 68 miles per hour. A 7.62-millimeter FN MAG machine gun rounds out the secondary armament.
Manufacturer Iveco has also designed the Guarani to be modular, allowing a user to swap out gear and weapons, such as adding on an anti-tank missile launcher, mortar or 40-millimeter grenade launcher. The Guarani sacrifices some room however, with enough space for nine soldiers in addition to the two crew members. The Urutu could carry up to 14 people.
What’s more interesting is what’s underneath and inside the Guarani. Below is a V-shaped hull, a necessity on the modern battlefield, designed to lessen the explosive and shrapnel effect of mines. The interior has a spall liner, a composite material which reduces secondary shrapnel from killing or injuring the crew after an impact to the vehicle’s outer hull.
Iveco is also building a lot of Guaranis, with the Brazilian army alone expected to receive more than 1,580 by 2038. Two hundred thirty-two of the vehicles are currently in use, according to Dialogo, a monthly magazine produced by the U.S. military’s Southern Command.
The Brazilian army has deployed them for border security duties, during the 2016 Olympics and an offensive in 2015 targeting gangs in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Maré. With any luck, expect to keep seeing them for decades, and in many more places than just Brazil.