Engesa Cascavel EE-9 M2 (HS-90)

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Engesa Cascavel EE-9 M2 (HS-90)

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In 1972, the Brazilian Army contemplated arming their new wheeled reconnaissance vehicle, the EE-9, with a 90 mm gun. However, the decision was delayed due to ongoing debates. Foreign influence played a pivotal role when Portugal suggested equipping the vehicle with the 90 mm gun and turret from the French Panhard AML-90 during trials in 1973. Engesa, the manufacturer, responded by creating a version of the EE-9 armed with the 90 mm gun, leading to successful trials in Portugal in early 1974. This marked the birth of the legendary 90 mm armed EE-9 Cascavel, which became Engesa’s most successful armored fighting vehicle for wheeled reconnaissance missions.

  • Weight and Dimensions: The EE-9 M2, equipped with a 90 mm gun, had an empty weight of 10 tonnes and a combat-loaded weight of 11 tonnes (11 and 12.1 US tons respectively). Including the gun, it measured 6.22 meters (20.4 feet) in length, while without the gun, it was 5.19 meters (17 feet) long. The vehicle was 2.59 meters (8.5 feet) wide and approximately 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) tall with the HS-90 turret installed.

  • Crew Configuration: The EE-9 M2 was operated by a crew of three individuals, comprising the commander/loader positioned on the left side of the turret, the gunner stationed on the right side of the turret, and the driver situated in the middle front hull.

Hull

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  • Hull Composition and Armor: The hull of the EE-9 M2 was constructed from welded bimetal steel plates, with the upper front plate angled at 60º from vertical. Additionally, the hull featured two covers mounted above the Boomerang suspension, serving as mudguards and offering minimal spaced armor protection. Armor thickness varied across different sections of the hull, with the upper front plate measuring 16 mm (0.63 inch) and the sides, rear, top, and bottom hull ranging from 6.5 mm to 8.5 mm (0.26 to 0.33 inch) in thickness. The front section provided protection against .50 caliber machine gun fire at an unspecified range, while the entire vehicle was shielded against 7.62 mm armor-piercing rounds at 100 m (109 yards) and standard 7.62 mm rounds at 50 m (54 yards).

  • Exterior Features: The EE-9 M2 was equipped with two externally mounted headlights positioned on the upper front hull plate, along with provision for mounting rearview mirrors on the headlight guards. A black-out light was installed on the right side of the left headlight. Additionally, a foldable windshield was situated below the driver’s hatch for use when driving with an open hatch. The driver’s hatch comprised two parts, with the front section integrated into the upper front plate and the rear part forming part of the top hull plate. Three periscopes provided the driver with a 180º field of vision, with Libyan EE-9s featuring a single driver’s periscope.

  • Ventilation and Fuel System: Ventilation inlets, identifiable by their frustum shape, were located on both upper hull side plates. A siren was positioned behind the ventilation inlet on the vehicle’s right side. The fuel tank cap was centrally located on the left side of the upper side hull plate, with the fuel tank installed on the hull floor. The rear of the vehicle featured a large ventilation grille similar to the M8, with rear lights on either side of the grille. Access to the engine was facilitated through two large hatches on the rear of the hull top.

  • Driver’s Station: The EE-9 M2 featured an adjustable hydraulic-powered steering wheel and three pedals: clutch, brake, and throttle. The gear shift stick was situated to the right of the driver, with a control panel located on the front left for managing headlights, siren, windshield, and interior lighting. The dashboard, positioned to the right, housed instruments such as the speedometer, ignition switch, fuel meter, and temperature gauge.

Mobility

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  • Engine Options: The EE-9 M2 utilized either the OM352 or OM352A engines, both 6-cylinder inline diesel engines, with the OM352A featuring turbocharging. The OM352 produced 125 hp at 2,600 rpm and 353 Nm at 1,600 rpm, while the OM352A generated 172 hp at 2,800 rpm (DIN standard) and 431 Nm at 1,800 rpm. The Brazilian Army primarily utilized the OM352A engine, although earlier Brazilian Cascavels may have initially been equipped with the standard OM352 engine before being upgraded or replaced with the OM352A.

  • Performance Characteristics: The EE-9 M2 boasted a top speed of 95-100 km/h (59 mph) and an operational range of 750 km (466 miles). It possessed a turning radius of 7.7 m (8.1 yards) and could ford depths of up to 1 m (3.3 feet). Additionally, the Cascavel could traverse a 35º slope, overcome a vertical obstacle of 0.65 m (2.1 feet), cross a trench measuring 1.65 m (5.4 feet) in width, and maintained a ground clearance of approximately 0.5 m (1.6 feet). The front-wheel travel distance was 0.2 m (0.66 feet), while the rear wheels could travel up to 0.9 m (3 feet). It was equipped with 12 X 20 run-flat tires measuring 0.5 m (1.6 feet) in diameter. The distance between the front axle and rear axle of the EE-9 M2 was 2.8 m, with a spacing of 1.4 m (4.6 feet) between the two rear wheels.
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  • Transmission and Suspension: The EE-9 M2 utilized a manual Clark 280V transmission with 5 forward and one reverse gears. Both variants featured an Engesa 2-speed transfer case, enabling operation in both reduced and high gear for improved torque and traction, particularly on challenging terrain. The vehicle utilized a 6 x 6 driven configuration, with the rear 4 wheels integrated into the Boomerang suspension system, renowned for its ability to traverse difficult terrain while maintaining traction. The Boomerang suspension, initially developed by Engesa in 1969 for trucks operating in rough terrain, utilized leaf springs for dampening and facilitated rotation of the suspension around its axle for enhanced maneuverability.

  • Braking and Steering: The EE-9 M2 was equipped with hydro-pneumatic drum brakes and featured hydraulic steering systems. Steering was primarily facilitated by the two front wheels, with the Boomerang suspension ensuring uniform rotation of all wheels at the same speed.

  • Additional Features: While a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) was available as an option for the EE-9 M2, it is unclear if any units were equipped with this feature. The Brazilian Army did not widely adopt the CTIS for their EE-9 vehicles.
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Turret

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  • Turret Design: The HS-90 turret was constructed from welded steel plates, with armor thickness ranging from 14-15 mm at the front to 7-8 mm at the rear. It accommodated a two-person crew, with the commander/loader positioned on the left and the gunner on the right. The commander’s position was identifiable by the dome-shaped cupola, and both crew members had rear-opening hatches.

  • Aiming Systems: A direct sight telescope with 6x magnification was used for aiming the cannon, coaxial to the gun. Additionally, both the commander and gunner had access to four sights, each with 1x magnification. While a laser rangefinder could potentially be installed atop the gun shield, it was not commonly implemented on the HS-90 turrets for the EE-9. A spotlight was positioned on the left front side of the commander’s hatch, aiding visibility.

  • Ammunition Storage: The turret stored 24 rounds of 90 mm ammunition, divided into two sections: 12 rounds on the left side of the turret bustle, and 12 rounds in two 6-round revolver-style magazines located behind the gunner and commander. Additionally, the turret housed 2,000 rounds (10 boxes) for the 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, with at least 6 rounds stored in a magazine in the frontal part of the turret basket floor.

  • Operating Characteristics: The turret had a gun depression of -8° and an elevation of +15°, supported by a mechanical drive system and electrical components operating on a 24 V system. Six 76 mm smoke launchers were mounted on the turret – three on each rear side. Engesa offered optional equipment such as a roof-mounted 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun, active or passive night vision sights, and a laser rangefinder.

Armament:

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The EE-9 M2 was equipped with both the French DEFA D-921 90 mm low-pressure gun and the license-produced EC-90 gun, while the EE-9 M3 solely utilized the EC-90. The EC-90 offered several advantages over the D-921. Firstly, it boasted increased muzzle velocity, enhancing the accuracy of HEAT rounds and enabling engagements at longer ranges, with muzzle velocities rising from 750 m/s to 890 m/s for HEAT rounds. Additionally, the EC-90 provided ammunition versatility, including access to HESH rounds, and Engesa explored the development of an APFSDS round, although this remained a prototype. The APFSDS round, if developed, would have matched HEAT round performance, boasting a muzzle velocity of 1,176 m/s. Engesa also initiated the development of a canister round, albeit unfinished.
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On the other hand, the D-921 gun offered an advantage in penetration capability with its OCC 90-62 HEAT round, which outperformed Engesa’s NR478. The reasons for this performance difference are unclear, potentially attributed to factors such as spin rate, explosive filler type, or testing methodology.

The firing table for the EC-90 gun extended up to 3,000 m for the HEAT round, 2,380 m for HE and smoke rounds, and 1,020 m for the coaxial machine gun. The main armament was fired via a pedal on the turret basket floor, controlled through the main electrical system box. This box regulated various functions including firing the main and coaxial armament, configuring the ventilation system, and controlling internal lights. Additional control boxes were added for equipment such as laser rangefinders and day/night sights if required.

Specifications

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Specifications (EE-9 M2) Measurements
Dimensions (L-W-H) 6.22 m (with gun) x 2.59 m x 2.3 m (20.4 feet x 8.5 feet x 7.5 feet)
Total weight 11 tonnes (12.1 US tons)
Crew 3 (Driver, commander, gunner)
Propulsion Mercedes OM352 or OM352A (125 and 172 hp)
Speed (road) 95 km/h (59 mph)
Operational range 750 km (466 miles)
Armament 90 mm DEFA D-921 (HS-90)
7.62 mm N model F-1 (Coaxial)
Armor Hull Bimetal
Front 16 mm (0.63 inch)
Side 8 mm (0.32 inch)
Rear 8 mm (0.32 inch)
Top 6.5 mm (0.26 inch)
Floor 6.5 mm (0.26 inch)
HS-90 Turret
Front 14-15 mm (0.6 inch)
Rear 7 to 8 mm (0.3 inch)

Images

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Source

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Engesa EE-9 Cascavel 40 anos de combates 1977-2017 – Expedito Carlos Stephani Bastos

Blindados no Brasil – Expedito Carlos Stephani Bastos

CRM and EE-9 M2 37 mm - Tank Encyclopedia

2 Likes

+1 as a premium since it was intended for export

Also i could be wrong but i think Iraq and Libya operated this variant too

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M2 and M3 in the same photo, Libyan Cascavel
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Janes A&A1979-80
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