The embarkation of the first five Guarani 6X6 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) is currently underway at the Port of Santos in São Paulo, Brazil. Tecno Defesa reported that these vehicles are part of an initial contract for 28 units destined for the Philippine Army, with an estimated arrival date at their final destination, the Port of Manila, set for mid-December. The agreement stipulates that all vehicles covered by this contract must be delivered by the second half of the coming year. Following the resolution of an impasse with Germany, the Filipino government is in active negotiations for a second batch of Guarani armored vehicles, comprising an additional 28 units. The Philippines expresses a keen interest in acquiring a total of 114 Guarani APCs, with varying configurations, divided into three distinct lots.
The months of negotiations involving various stakeholders, including governments and companies, have led to this positive outcome. The embargo’s impact on key components, such as ballistic steel (thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG), anti-mine protection plates (Rheinmetall Protection Systems GmbH), M17 and M45 periscopes (GuS glass + safety GmbH & Co), homokinetic half-shafts, 6HP 602S transmission (GKN Driveline Deutschland GmbH), and Behr Y2991001 cooling system fans (MAHLE GmbH), had significant implications for the capability and readiness of the Philippine Army. With this embargo lifted, the Philippines can now enhance its defense capabilities and reinforce its commitment to regional security and stability. This decision underscores the importance of finding diplomatic solutions to international issues and the value of international cooperation in advancing global security.
The VBTP-MR (Portuguese Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal – Média de Rodas; “Armored Personnel Carrier Vehicle – Medium Wheeled Type”) Guarani, part of the Brazilian Army’s “Urutu-III” modernization program, is designed to replace the aging EE-11 Urutu vehicles, reflecting Brazil’s commitment to enhancing its armored capabilities. Developed by Iveco in collaboration with the Brazilian Army, the VBTP-MR Guarani represents a modular and adaptable armored platform capable of hosting various turrets, weapons, sensors, and communication systems. This versatility enables the deployment of specialized versions, including communications, ambulance, and fire support variants armed with large-caliber mortar and gun systems. The Brazilian Army has signed a substantial contract worth approximately €2.5 billion with Iveco for the supply of VBTP-MR APCs. This contract signifies Brazil’s determination to modernize its military equipment and transition from the older Urutu vehicles to more advanced and versatile platforms.
The contract for the acquisition of 28 6X6 Guarani vehicles by the Philippine Army was signed with Israeli company Elbit Systems as the prime contractor on February 7, 2021. The contract is part of a broader “Government-to-Government” (Gov-to-Gov) military package facilitated through Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of International Defense Cooperation (SIBAT). The total package encompasses various weapon systems and may ultimately include up to 114 Guarani vehicles, marking a significant expansion of the Philippine Army’s armored capabilities. These Guarani vehicles are being produced at the IDV factory in Sete Lagoas, Brazil, at a cost of approximately $46 million, with delivery scheduled for 2023-2024. The Philippine version of the Guarani comes with notable modifications, including additional ballistic protection plates, a Battle Management System, a Software-Defined Radio, a Remotely Controlled Weapon System tailored to Philippine requirements, and a hydraulic winch with substantial towing capacity.