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The Urutu was an amphibious troop transport vehicle designed by Engesa in partnership with the Brazilian Navy. It was approved in 1972 after successful tests, including open-sea trials. Serial production began in 1973, sharing some components with the Cascavel. The Urutu had good sales in various countries, although it didn’t achieve the same success as the Cascavel. It could transport up to 10+2 soldiers and could be equipped with various turrets and optional accessories, such as fire suppression systems and protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical threats.
The Urutu AFSV concept, a light combat vehicle, was conceived around 1973-1974, as mentioned in Engesa brochures. These brochures illustrated various possible configurations for the vehicle, including the idea of equipping it with a 90mm cannon. The Urutu AFSV was also shown with different turrets, including the French H-90. However, there is no evidence that any Urutu actually received this turret. Additionally, the Urutu AFSV concept already included amphibious features, indicating that it was being developed in the early stages of the Urutu prototype, known as CRTA.
Urutu AFSV prototype
The Engesa conducted experiments with various turrets on the Urutu and Cascavel vehicles during their production. The Urutu AFSV (Fire Support Vehicle) underwent several modifications, with the first prototype dating from around 1973-1974. One prototype featured a British Alvis turret with a 76mm cannon and a modified boat-shaped hull, but this configuration was abandoned.
Another Urutu AFSV prototype, equipped with an ET-90 turret and a 90mm EC-90 cannon, participated in a competition in the United States, although it lost to the LAV-25. The turret design was later changed, possibly due to weight considerations for amphibious operation. The Urutu AFSV M2 likely served as a proof of concept while improvements and new turrets were being developed for testing by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Two final versions of the Urutu AFSV were developed, known as M5 and M7. Both used a 90mm EC-90 IV cannon produced by Engesa with a recoil of 300mm in a modified ET-90/300 turret. The turret was positioned in the center-left of the hull, allowing space between the side doors and the turret basket. Engesa’s policy allowed customers to customize various features and equipment of the vehicle.
The M5 Urutu AFSV used the M5 Urutu hull and was equipped with an OM-352A engine and an Allison AT-545 automatic transmission. It was built before December 1981, but it is unknown whether it participated in the competition in the United States.
The M7 Urutu AFSV used the more modern Urutu AFSV hull, featuring a more powerful Detroit Diesel DDA 6V53 engine and an MT-643 Allison automatic transmission. Additionally, the M7 was distinguished by the use of planetary gear wheel hubs, providing greater durability and performance, despite increasing the vehicle’s cost and complexity. These improvements offset the additional costs due to their enhanced durability and performance.
The overall dimensions were the same as the standard Urutu, except for the height and weight due to the turret. It had the following measurements:
- Length: 6.15 meters
- Width: 2.59 meters
- Height: 2.6 meters, approximately 0.4 meters taller than the original Urutu.
- Weight: 14 tons, around 2 tons more than the original Urutu, which could vary depending on the engine used.
The vehicle was operated by a crew of three (commander, driver, and gunner), with room for up to four additional soldiers in the rear. There was also space for two more soldiers seated in the side doors, although these were not counted in some brochures.
The Urutu AFSV hull had the following measurements and characteristics:
- Armor: 12 mm thick in the front and 6 mm on the sides and rear.
- Use of bimetallic steel, providing a superior protection-to-weight ratio compared to standard steel.
- Effective armor thickness of 21.6 mm in the front and 10.8 mm on the sides and rear against 7.62 mm shots.
The hull was:
- Welded and angled at the front, with the rear angle varying depending on the model.
- Equipped with two side doors and a rear door operated by the driver or passengers.
- Positioned with the driver in the front left, near the engine in a separate compartment.
- Potentially providing space for two additional soldiers behind the driver and engine, near the side doors, although this position is not mentioned in other documentation.
- Fitted with the turret positioned in the center-left and ammunition storage racks directly behind it.
- Able to transport four infantry soldiers in the rear and two in the side doors.
- Equipped with a sewage pump and a manual reserve pump for amphibious operations.
- Featuring a single circular hatch on top of the rear compartment, alongside several firing ports for the soldiers in the rear, varying according to the hull model.
- Capable of carrying 36 rounds of 90 mm ammunition.
- Controlled by the driver with a steering wheel, brake, and accelerator pedal depending on the version, as well as the automatic transmission shift lever.
- Equipped with 3 periscopes available to the driver, which could be upgraded to day/night periscopes.
The Urutu AFSV offered three main engine options, along with various transmissions, although additional choices were available depending on the customer’s preferences.
- Mercedes OM352 Diesel: 125 hp at 2,800 rpm, 353 Nm at 1,600 rpm (260 lb-ft)
- Mercedes OM352A (turbocharged) Diesel: 190 hp at 2,800 rpm, 431 Nm at 1,800 rpm (318 lb-ft)
- Detroit DDA 6V53 Diesel: 210 hp at 2,800 rpm, 598 Nm at 1,800 rpm (441 lb-ft)
Detroit DDA 6V53
These engines were paired with a range of transmissions, depending on the Urutu AFSV model. Options included a 5-speed manual Clark transmission for the Urutu AFSV M2, a 4-speed automatic Allison AT-545 transmission for the Urutu AFSV M5, or a 4-speed automatic Allison MT-643 transmission for the Urutu AFSV M7. The MT-643 could only be matched with the Detroit engine. Additionally, the Urutu AFSV utilized a 2-speed Engesa transfer case, allowing the vehicle to operate in both low and high gear. Engaging low gear sacrificed power for increased torque, enhancing its capability for climbing steep slopes. The vehicle also featured a power take-off (PTO) function for the propellers through the transfer case. The Urutu AFSV achieved a top road speed of approximately 95 km/h and a maximum amphibious speed of around 8 km/h. While its buoyancy was sufficient for firing the main cannon without sinking due to recoil imbalance, it was not suitable for open sea operations. The vehicle also boasted a remote tire pressure control system for adjusting tire pressure from inside the vehicle.
In terms of off-road performance, the Urutu AFSV had a slope-climbing ability of around 60% and a maximum lateral incline of 30%. It had a ground clearance of 0.375 m and could clear a vertical obstacle up to 0.6 m in height. The operational range was 850 km. It could also be transported by air, like all other Urutu versions. The vehicle featured 6x6 drive, with the rear four wheels forming part of the bumerangue suspension. The bumerangue suspension, combined with the 2-speed Engesa transfer case, allowed the Urutu to navigate challenging terrain and provide maximum traction in most situations. Engine power was distributed by a front differential and a rear differential. The rear differential drove the bumerangue suspension with a single axle, making the bumerangue suspension design highly innovative.
The turrets used in the Urutu AFSV had various designations, mainly related to the gun recoil stroke. For example, a turret with a 500 mm recoil gun was designated as ET-90/500, while one with a 300 mm recoil was called ET-90/300. Additionally, there were designations like ET-90 I and ET-90 II for different types of turrets designed by Engesa and equipped with the EC-90 gun. The Urutu AFSV shared the same turret ring diameter (1,600 mm) with the Cascavel, allowing for interoperability of weapon systems between the vehicles. The first Urutu AFSV prototype used a Cascavel ET-90/500 turret, mounted on the front left, with an EC-90 III gun. Even with this configuration, the vehicle remained amphibious, although there is little information available about its performance at sea.
The ET-90/500 turret was designed and manufactured by Engesa in 1975 to replace the French H-90 turrets, with the goal of increasing domestic production for the Cascavel vehicles. This turret was purpose-built to accommodate the EC-90 cannon, and Engesa produced the 90mm low-pressure Cockerill cannon under license.
- Weight: 2,400 kg
- Armor Thickness: 16 mm around the turret, 8 mm on top
- Ammunition Capacity: 24 rounds of 90 mm ammunition
- Armament: Included a coaxial French F-1 machine gun
- Commander and Gunner Positions: Equipped with 4 periscopes each
- Firing Mechanism: Cannon fired using a pedal that activated an electrical system in the breech, which then initiated the firing pin in the cartridge casing
- Handling: The turret featured elevation and horizontal traverse handles, with the former also having a trigger for the coaxial machine gun.
In some aspects, this turret shared similarities with the H-90 turret, including the turret ring diameter, armament, and layout. Initially used in Urutu AFSV prototypes, it was later replaced by the ET-90 2/500 and ET-90/300 turrets.
The ET-90 II/500 was first installed on the Cascavel M4, becoming the standard turret for all subsequent Cascavel variants. It shared most of its features with the earlier ET-90 I turret, with some exceptions.
- Armor Thickness: 16 mm all around, 8 mm on top
- Coaxial Machine Gun: Brazilian M971 MAG (licensed copy of FN-MAG)
- Gunner’s Hatch: Front-opening, located on the right side of the turret
- Ammunition Storage: All ammunition stored in rectangular cells, with the same capacity for the 90 mm cannon and machine gun
- Main Cannon: Upgraded EC-90 III
Additional Subturret: ET-7.62, installed on top of the commander’s hatch, left side of the turret
- Armor: 8 mm full protection
- Universal Mount: Accommodated either a machine gun or grenade launcher
- Firing Mechanism: Electrically operated via solenoids from inside the turret
- Optional Equipment: NVG devices and a dedicated sight for remote machine gun aiming.
In addition to the overall increase in turret size, the ET-90 II/500 featured several improvements, including the relocation of the turret fan to the rear of the turret roof (as opposed to being mounted on the bustle in the early ET-90). The turret’s height was increased to provide more space and gun depression. The turret basket was redesigned, slightly larger, and more ergonomic. This new turret design also allowed for modifications such as laser rangefinders, NVG devices, and turret traverse drive motors. The armor protection remained the same as the original ET-90, with 16 mm thickness all around and 8 mm on top.
The ET-90/300 turret, derived from its predecessors, comes in two versions, with some images showing the gunner’s hatch opening forward, while in others, it opens backward. Essentially, the ET-90/300 is similar to the ET-90/500 but lacks the bustle, eliminating the ammunition bustle, reducing its ammunition capacity from 24 to 12 rounds. This removal of the bustle required a reconfiguration of the fan’s placement. The turret’s weight was reduced to 1,800 kg, maintaining the same performance characteristics as the original ET-90. The elimination of the bustle also led to the adoption of a new gun with a shorter recoil, designated the EC-90 IV (300 mm recoil, 200 mm less than the original EC-90).
Both versions of the ET-90/300 turret were equipped with 6 smoke launchers on each side of the turret. They featured a commander on the left and a gunner on the right of the turret. The commander’s hatch could mount the ET-7.62 machine gun sub-turret. Both turrets had manual traverse with the option for the installation of a motor for automatic traverse, depending on customer preference. These turrets were equipped with 8 periscopes (4 per crew member) and a 6x magnification sight for the gunner. The M5 and M7 versions of the Urutu AFSV were fitted with the lighter ET-90/300 turret mounted in the center-left position.
The Urutu AFSV was armed with a 90 mm (36 calibers in length) EC-90 IV cannon, featuring a 300 mm recoil. As secondary armament, it had a coaxial 7.62 × 51 M971 (FN MAG) machine gun and either a .50 caliber or 7.62 machine gun mounted on the roof, attached to the turret, or on a sub-turret ET-7.62. The vehicle carried six 76 mm smoke launchers, three on each side of the turret, and stored 12 additional smoke grenades in the turret. The Urutu AFSV held 12 cartridges in the turret, stored in drum-like revolvers attached to the floor, along with another 36 cartridges in the hull.
|HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank)
|130 mm (5.1 inches) at 60º vertical or at least 250 mm (13.8 inches) flat at any range
|2,000 meters (2,185 yards)
|HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head)
|Intended for bunkers, walls, and light vehicles
|2,000 meters (2,185 yards)
|Lethal radius of 15 meters (16 yards)
|2,000 meters (2,185 yards)
|HEAT-TP (High-Explosive Anti-Tank – Training Projectile)
|2,000 meters (2,185 yards)
|White Phosphorus – Smoke
|2,000 meters (2,185 yards)
The firepower of the Urutu AFSV was comparable to that of the Cascavel, allowing for similar upgrades such as laser rangefinders and stabilizers. The Urutu AFSV could be equipped with day/night sights and also featured electric turret traverse. The vehicle had a cannon elevation of up to 30º and a cannon depression of -8º.
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