The Iveco VBTP-MR armoured personnel carrier (APC).
The viatura blindada de transporte de pessoal-médio de rodas (VBTP-MR) is a new family of armoured personnel carriers (APC) being developed by Iveco Latin America for the Brazilian Army. Also known as Urutu III, the 6×6 drive armoured vehicle can carry two crew and nine soldiers.
In December 2009, Brazil awarded a R6bn (approximately €2.5bn) contract to the Fiat Group subsidiary to supply 2,044 VBTP-MR carriers. The new vehicles will replace the aging EE-11 Urutu APC currently in use with the Brazilian armed forces. The EE-11 Urutu was developed by Engesa Brazil during the 1970s.
Iveco’s Brazilian contract focuses on developing the VBTP-MR family APCs over a 20-year period. Production of the first batch of the vehicles is scheduled to be completed in 2012 with full delivery by 2030.
VBTP-MR 6×6 APC wheeled chassis design
The VBTP-MR APC on 6×6 wheeled chassis will weigh about 18t. It will have an amphibious capacity of 17.5t. The vehicle was designed by Iveco in collaboration with the Brazilian Army’s Department of Science and Technology. The design is based on Iveco’s 8×8 amphibious APC prototype called SuperAV.
The basic Iveco VBTP-MR model measures 6.91m long, 2.7m wide and 2.34m in height. The vehicle is designed to have a turret door and can be equipped with a remote control system for use in various applications. It can also be equipped with modular floats to increase its marine manoeuvrability. The APC is air transportable by aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules.
Brazilian domestic defence development
As part of the National Defence Strategy, the VBTP-MR project is aimed at reorganising domestic defence, while providing the Brazilian armed forces with up-to-date technology. The project was initiated by specialist companies in Brazil with an investment of R30m (€12m).
In 2007 Iveco won a tender from the Brazilian Army to develop the VBTP-MR family for armoured vehicles. The Brazilian Ministry of Defence and IVECO began development of the VBTP-MR project in December 2007. The project was created to co-develop a wheeled-medium APC on a basic platform and will be developed and manufactured at Iveco’s Sete Lagoas plant in Brazil. Italy-based IVECO Defence Vehicles will support the project.
In April 2009, the first prototype of the VBTP-MR APC was unveiled at the Latin America Aero and Defence (LAAD) show ,in Rio Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The initial 16 vehicles, to be built with imported components between 2010 and 2011, will be the pilot batch of the project. However, the vehicles will use increasing numbers of components from local manufacturers in order to reduce production and maintenance costs. The vehicles will be powered by Iveco diesel engines.
VBTP-MR APC mission variants
The VBTP-MR family of APCs will come in different mission variants for increasing the military effectiveness of the land forces. The variants will include command vehicle, armoured ambulance, fire direction vehicle, technical assistance vehicle and 120mm mortar carrier. The VBTP-MR project also includes the development of an 8×8 version for use by the Brazilian Marine Corps.
Automatic grenade launcher
Remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS) with 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher can be fitted to the Iveco VBTP-MR. Plans also include the development of a variant that can carry anti-tank guided missiles and a 30mm cannon.
Protective V-shaped hull
The armour of the vehicle will protect the crew against artillery shell splinters and small arms fire. The APC will have a V-shaped hull for protection against land mines and the interiors will be fitted with spall liners. Add-on composite armour can be fitted to the vehicle for further protection.
Turbo-charged diesel engine
The VBTP-MR will have an Iveco Cursor 9 turbocharged diesel engine generating a power of 383hp. The engine will be located at the hull front and manufactured by Fiat. The vehicle will also have hydro-pneumatic suspension, a maximum speed of 100km/h and can ford at 9km/h.