Capability to be Rolled Out to all Mechanised Brigades
Initial field tests have begun at the Brazilian Army’s São Paulo War Arsenal (AGSP) of the two prototypes of the VBE Eng (special armoured engineer vehicle) variant of the 6×6 GUARANI.
Designed for use by combat engineers, the new vehicle uses the standard GUARANI chassis and adds to it a number of engineer tools, built by Pearson Engineering and all interchangeable. These operate via a common interface and control module, enabling simple coupling and decoupling of the tools.
In this initial phase, the Brazilian Army acquired three different tools: an excavator manipulator arm (EMA), an earth anchor blade (EAB) and a straight obstacle blade (SOB). Following the anticipated success of the tests, deeper consideration will also be given to acquisition of tools specifically designed for the counter-mining function.
An integration phase began last year, but has been interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It re-commenced in August, resulting in these initial tests by the AGSP team. Prior to delivery to the army, maintenance crew training, to be delivered by AGSP personnel, and a formal vehicle appraisal by the Army Evaluation Centre (CAEx) are planned.
Two in-service GUARANIs were used for the conversion, drawn from 15th Company of Mechanised Combat Engineers Company of 15th Mechanised Infantry Brigade at Palmas (PR). The brigade is already developing the doctrine for the use of the VBEng, and will be the operators of the modified vehicles once approved by CAEx. The army intends to equip all the mechanised brigades with the capability.
Florencia Lucero Heguy and Santiago Rivas in Buenos Aires for MON