The VBTP-MR Guarani (Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal – Média de Rodas) is a 6×6 armoured personnel carrier developed by Iveco and the Brazilian Army as part of its “URUTU-III” modernization program aimed to replace all EE-11 Urutu by 2015. A contract was signed to develop this 6×6 APC in 2007 and its mock-up was revealed in 2009. This project was originally called Urutu III. Now this armored vehicle is also referred as the Guarani. The VBTP-MR is based on a 6×6 version of Iveco’s Superav armoured personnel carrier. In the program other Brazilian Companies also participated, such as IMBEL (Communications), ELBIT (Armaments), Usiminas and Villares (development of national ballistic structural steel).
Armor of the VBTP-MR provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle can be fitted with add-on composite armor for improved protection. This armored personnel carrier has a V-shaped hull, which provides protection against landmines. Interior is fitted with a spall liner.
The requirements for the VBTP-MR VBCI included an ELBIT remote control turret, equipped with a Mk44 Bushmaster II cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun; it should also be able fire anti-tank guided missiles. This turret, capable of 360 degree swivel and elevation / depression of -15 to +60 degrees, was chosen by the Brazilian Army on a selection made from among four companies. It is expected to manufactured in Brazil. The firing system has a laser rangefinder, vision and fire control by day/night thermal vision, double shot of command (commander and gunner of the car, with precedence for the later), automatic target tracking system, and hunter killer smoke launchers. A significant aspect of this vehicle is that the turret is equipped with weapons sights and it is stabilized in two axes, allowing firing on the move with very high probability of hit within the first shot. Future needs will determine what kind of instruments will equip the turret, possibly after the vehicle enters service.
Vehicle has a crew of two and is designed to transport 9 troops. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via the rear doors or roof hatches. The VBTP-MR is fitted with modern battlefield management systems, which is used for navigation, positioning, mission planning. It also displays nearby friendly units.
Brazilian Army also issued operational requirements for a number of derivatives of the VBTP-MR. This new family of vehicles will include command vehicle, technical assistance vehicle, armored ambulance, 120-mm mortar carrier, fire direction vehicle and 8×8 version for Brazilian Marines. Compared to the model in use today by the Brazilian Army, the new project brings advantages such as upgraded armor protection, increased mobility, increased range, independent hydropneumatic suspension, increased protection against mines, better ergonomics, air conditioning, brake system with double disc and ABS, GPS, automatic detection and extinguishing of fire, night operation capability as standard and laser detection system.