Brazil's Army and Fiat Iveco signed an agreement for the manufacturing of 2.044 armored vehicles at a cost of US$ 3.5 billion as part of the new National Defense Strategy launched by the administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The strategy envisions renovation of Brazil's three armed forces with a major input of technology and participation of the Brazilian industry with the purpose of building a strong defense and military research infrastructure establishment.
General Enzo Martins Peri commander in chief of the Army said the new prototype will be an evolution of the armored troop transport vehicle "Urutu" manufactured with Brazilian technology and which was sold extensively among Third World countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
The development of the new vehicle with Italian technology should contribute to the "self sufficiency, as much as possible, in the manufacturing of military hardware", as well as creating jobs said the Army commander in chief.
The 20-year agreement for the 2.044 units was signed by General Martins Peri and Iveco president for Latin America Marco Mazzu and Pietro Borgo, head of Iveco Defense Vehicles.
The first batch of armored vehicles is scheduled to be delivered in 2011.
Pietro Borgo said that Brazilian engineers have been visiting Italy regularly to know details of the new design and anticipated Brazil would be exporting them in the near future.
The new design named Guarani weighs 18 tons, can carry 11 soldiers, equipped either with a heavy machine gun or light cannon, and is diesel powered.
Brazilian Army sources also revealed that the government was considering the purchase of anti-aircraft missile batteries, (Russian or Chinese), drones for military use from Israel, (the Federal Police will soon be equipped with a cheaper version to monitor crime in the favelas – shantytowns) and special satellite radar systems for platoons operating in the Amazon.
According to the Sunday edition of daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, the government is prepared to invest more than US$ 10 billion in the re-equipment of the Brazilian Army.