The first Guarani prototype was delivered to the army in 2010 and a total of 16 test vehicles are being built. Extensive testing started last fall, including firing trials with the Israeli Elbit UT30BR turret. If the trials are successful and the army gets its requested funding, series production could start as soon as this year. Brazil hopes to find international customers for its 6 X 6. Presentations have already been made, although few details are offered. The army is still debating but likely will decide to use the Guarani to replace the armed reconnaissance vehicle Cascavel.
Likewise, funds permitting, the Polish army would gladly replace its aging fleet of tanks and tracked APC vehicles which, although modernized over the years, are reaching the end of their service life. The relatively small number of PT-91 Twardy main battle tanks (MBT) is not enough to equip the whole Polish tank force. While there is no money to develop an indigenous MBT and only second-hand tanks could be acquired in quantity, the story is different for the IFV. An interesting project being pursued by the army involves the development of a family of tracked combat vehicles in the 25-35-ton bracket, built around a light tank, and designated WWO Anders. The prototype was assembled in 2010 and is actually more of a technology demonstrator. The assembly of this vehicle was made possible by the contribution of local and international companies to supplement defense ministry funds. The concept derives from the Anders hull and components family.
The Anders chassis is brand new and features six road wheels. It comprises four compartments, with the forward-right space hosting the engine, the forward-left for the driver, the central one under the turret for the gunner and the commander, and an aft space for a squad of four infantry soldiers, able to deploy via a rear door. The engine is a German MTU 8V 199 TE2O delivering 720 hp, while an electric motor powered by a small diesel engine provides power for “silent” operations and adds another 163 hp. Given the combat weight of 33 tons, the Anders has a favorable power/weight ratio and can reach a top speed of 75 km/hr. (47 mph) and a range of about 500 km (310 mi.).
The turret is revolutionary, equipped with a Swiss Ruag CTG 120-mm/50-cal. gun with coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and automatic loader, which holds 12 rounds and allows a 12-rounds-per-min. maximum firing rate. An additional 10 rounds are carried inside an external magazine but these rounds have to be reloaded manually.
Anders has successfully carried out firing trials. An infantry combat demonstrator has been developed, fitted with an Oto Melara Hitfist 30P turret that carries a 30-mm ATK Mk44 gun and two Rafael Spike missiles.
In theory, the mechanized infantry battalions of the Polish army could receive a combination of Anders light tanks, for fire support, and IFVs, with a tentative requirement for 636. Poland would be expected to try to sell the new family on the international market, where it has already scored in Malaysia with the Pendekar evolution of the PT-91 tank. But before this happens, the Anders family needs to be ordered by the local customer and put in service.
Italy, meanwhile, is conducting an overall modernization of its army and is going to replace many of its tracked vehicles with wheeled vehicles such as the Freccia and medium-protected VTMM. At the same time it wants to replace its heavy 8 X 8 Centauro IFV—once one of the most advanced in its class, featuring a 105-mm stabilized gun—with the Centauro 2, which is going to combine a modified Freccia chassis with a new turret, advanced “vetronics” (vehicle electronics) and full integration with the army netcentric system. The Centauro 2 program started with a feasibility study in 2009 and funding to build two prototypes was approved at the end of 2011 for the Iveco-Oto Melara consortium. Centauro 2 will receive the new three-crew Oto Melara Hitfact turret featuring a lightened 120-mm/45-cal. gun with reduced recoil. The army has asked for an improved fire-control system, an upgrade to the already advanced one fitted on the Freccia. The army also requested an improved protection level and mobility, with a desired power/weight ratio of 25 hp/ton. This will require an engine capable of delivering more than 700 hp, compared with the 520-hp unit of the first-generation Centauro. The initial army requirement is for 74 vehicles to be assigned to the Pozzuolo del Fruili cavalry brigade, with a long-term need for as many as 150-200 IFVs.
Across the English Channel, many still scratch their heads about why the U.K. seems to have found it so difficult to procure new IFVs after nearly two decades of trying. With the last Warrior mechanized infantry combat vehicle (MICV) delivered in the early 1990s, Britain has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on possible new IFVs, with nothing to show in-service as of yet except for one honorable mention. And even under the most optimistic plans, the newest contracted IFV, the Warrior Capability Sustainment Program (Warrior CSP), will start to see deliveries only around 2017-18.
Warrior CSP is already looking as if it might see an expansion. Under a $1.65 billion deal, Lockheed Martin UK has been contracted for a vetronics architecture to allow for better collection, use and distribution of data, as well as some repackaging of existing equipment, and a new turret mounting the Case Telescoped Ammunition (CTA) 40-mm cannon. But there are already talks underway to consider whether other enhancements can be made as the vehicles are extensively upgraded and overhauled.
A major power train upgrade to future proof the system is one possibility, as are other mobility upgrades such as band tracks. Further out is whether there should be a new hull for the Warrior CSP. The experience with the remanufacture of the Scimitar Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (tracked) light tank in Afghanistan proved modern metallurgy can provide higher levels of protection than were possible in the 1970s and 1980s, and at negligible cost. But with money as much an issue in the U.K. as anywhere else in the West, it remains only a prospect.