Brazilian Army unveiled an upgraded Cascavel reconnaissance vehicle prototype, known as the VBR-MSR.

The Brazilian ground force operates a fleet of more than 400 EE-9 Cascavel armored vehicles, developed primarily for the reconnaissance role. These combat vehicles are gradually being replaced by the Centauro II 8×8, and are partly being modernized to suit modern warfare. On November 29, the Brazilian Army unveiled an upgraded Cascavel reconnaissance vehicle prototype, known as the VBR-MSR. This is an important part of the Strategic Program for Armored Forces of the Brazilian Army. The goal is to turn this vehicle into an important and high-tech asset in the Brazilian Army’s arsenal.

Lieutenant Colonel Fábio Musetti de Souza, Project Supervisor, stated, “The modernization of the Cascavel represents a significant technological advancement for Military Engineering and our Mechanized Forces. It’s a complex engineering activity, closely collaborating with the Defense Industrial Base, demonstrating the importance of developing new technologies for the country.” The project incorporates a series of innovations and improvements, ranging from the replacement of the engine and automatic gearbox with more powerful versions to the implementation of state-of-the-art systems to enhance operational effectiveness.

Notable adaptations include a tire pressure adjustment system for all terrain types, a more efficient braking system, and the modernization of the tower control system, enabling the operation of the 90mm cannon via a joystick. Furthermore, security has been reinforced with the introduction of an anti-tank missile launching system.

ENGESA EE-9 Cascavel is known as a wheeled reconnaissance vehicle originating from Brazil, manufactured by Engesa. The vehicle was widely exported and remains the most numerous cannon armed reconnaissance vehicles, and are now operated by over 20 nations in South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Due to its heavy armament, it can also serve as a fire support vehicle.

All EE-9 Cascavels layout are based on the World War 2 era US M8 Greyhound scout car. The crew of three consists of a driver, seated in the front of the hull, and a commander and gunner who seated in the turret. The engine is mounted at the rear of the vehicle. The dual hardness steel armor protects the EE-9 from 12.7mm rounds over the frontal arc and small arms fire and shell splinters all around. An NBC system is not fitted. Six smoke grenade launchers are attached to the turret.

Cascavel has undergone upgraded versions from Mk 1 to Mk 7. Basically, the Cascavel is equipped with an electrically powered turret, fitted with an Engesa EC-90 90mm main gun, compatible with high explosive, high explosive anti-tank or high explosive squash head shells; a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun is also mounted to the left of the main armament. It is not stabilised and only mounts a rudimentary optical fire control system, which has been upgraded with a laser rangefinder in Brazilian service. The Cascavel can easily destroy various armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and other armored vehicles except main battle tanks.

Like other vehicles of the same type, the Cascavel compensates for its lack of armor with very good mobility, having a top speed of 110 km/h. Still in service in several countries and currently runs a program to modernize the EE-9, as well as the EE-11, enabling them to remain in service for some time.

Brazil is the main user of the EE-9. Many have been exported to South America, Africa and the Middle East. The EE-9 is not used by Western nations, except for Cyprus. No other Brazilian armored vehicle ever had such success on the international market. Relatively simple and affordable, the EE-9 Cascavel came as a solution for emerging local powers to secure a fast response vehicle suited for flat, dry expanses where armored cars are more at ease than tanks.

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