Engesa Sucuri EE-18 - the Latin American Centauro

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Engesa Sucuri EE-18

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Introduction:

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Engesa unveiled a new model of combat vehicle, agile and fast, capable of reaching speeds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour on roads anddestroying a tank from a distance of over 4,000 meters. This vehicle, known as the Sucuri EE-18, is a wheeled armored vehicle equipped with a105mm cannon and represents an evolution of the EE-17 Sucuri model.

Although the EE-17 served as an effective fi ring platform, its initial weapons system had its shortcomings. It was fi tted with the French FL-10 turret,designed in the 1950s for tracked vehicles. This turret weighed 4 tons, which hindered the mobility of the Sucuri EE-17 on unprepared terrain.Moreover, its ammunition capacity for the 105mm cannon was limited to just 12 rounds, rendering the project impractical.

The engineers at Engesa recognized the potential of their Sucuri platform and decided to seek solutions to this problem. After inputting a computerwith specifi c programs listing all turrets equipped with 105mm cannons worldwide, they identifi ed two promising alternatives.

The fi rst alternative was a project by OTO Melara, a subsidiary of FIAT, featuring an automatic loading turret equipped with a high-powered cannonand crewed by just two members (a gunner and a commander). The second alternative was a turret from the Stingray program by Cadillac Gage, equipped with a British Royal Ordnance L-7 cannon, the same used in the simpler version of the Engesa Osório with a 105mm cannon.

Both turrets weighed only two tons, offered greater crew protection compared to the FL-10, and could carry 28 cannon rounds. The only signifi cantdifference was that the Italian turret allowed for faster loading of the 105mm cannon, enabling a higher rate of fire.

For a vehicle whose primary function was to fi re on the move and swiftly change position to evade enemy fi re, essentially serving as an armoredvehicle that ambushed adversaries and retreated before encountering counteraction, these characteristics were indispensable.

Ultimately, the choice fell on the OTO Melara turret to equip the Sucuri EE-18. The company was optimistic about the estimated price of 1 milliondollars in 1987, with a specific focus on countries with vast flat terrains such as deserts.

Armor:

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The hull would use the same construction and armor process as its predecessor. The EE-18’s hull is made of dual-hardness armor, consisting of anouter layer of tough steel and an inner layer of softer steel, roll-bonded and heat-treated to provide maximum ballistic protection against small armsand projectile splinters.

Turret:

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.Turret Construction and Design:

  • The armored turret is a crucial component of the EE-18 Sucuri’s structure, constructed with welded steel plates that provide exceptional ballistic resistance.
  • The turret layout accommodates the vehicle’s crew, with the commander positioned on the right, the gunner in front and slightly below, and the loader on the left.
  • The turret design allows for a panoramic view of the surroundings, offering the commander periscopes for comprehensive observation.
  • The loader can access the turret through a single hatch that opens backward and has a rotating observation periscope.
  • A basket system is utilized in the turret, supported by rollers at the bottom of the hull and moved by an articulated arm. This design enables turret removal without the need to shift the basket, simplifying maintenance operations.
  • Seats for the gunner and commander are installed on the basket’s floor, adjustable in height, providing comfort and flexibility for the crew.
  • The loader’s seat is directly affixed to the turret and features a foldable seat to create more space during cannon loading.
  • All three occupants in the turret have easy access to the vehicle’s interior.

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1-commander 2-gunner 3-driver 4-loader sing hatch

Operational Versatility:

  • The EE-18 Sucuri allows the commander to replace the gunner if necessary.
  • Both the commander and gunner can rotate the turret at a speed of 26° per second and elevate the main armament at a rate of 35° per second (maximum).
  • The fire control system includes a computer-controlled ballistic marker, automatic angular correction, manual crosswind correction as the first emergency mode, and a ballistic reticle as the second emergency mode.

Observation and Target Acquisition:

  • Observation and target acquisition capabilities are advanced, with roof-mounted sights for the commander and gunner featuring 8x magnification for both day and night.
  • An embedded laser rangefinder is included for precise distance determination.
  • The gunner also has an emergency combat sight with 8x magnification.
  • The turret is equipped with a passive night driving periscope for the driver and a laser detector.
  • Various communication systems are integrated into the turret to ensure operational efficiency and connectivity during tactical operations.

Armament:

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  • The EE-18 Sucuri is armed with a smoothbore 105mm cannon, manufactured by OTO Melara.
  • The cannon can fire various types of ammunition, including APFSDS-T, HEAT, APDS-T, HESH, smoke rounds, and training ammunition.
  • The vehicle carries a total of 30 rounds of 105mm ammunition, with eight in the turret and 22 in the hull.
  • The fire control system allows engagement of stationary and moving targets, whether the vehicle is stationary or on the move.
  • The 105mm cannon is stabilized in both horizontal and vertical planes, with electronically controlled turret rotation and weapon elevation. Manual controls are available for emergency situations.
  • The firing system is electric and features a pedal-operated firing mechanism in the breech, accessible to both the gunner and commander.
  • An independent electrical circuit is available for firing control by the gunner in emergencies.
  • The cannon barrel is of the rifled L7 type and includes a lightweight thermal sleeve to prevent heat-induced deformation.
  • A hydropneumatic recuperator cylinder is mounted parallel to the barrel to serve as the muzzle brake.
  • The breech opening can be automatic or manual, with manual operation reserved for NBC (nuclear, biological, or chemical) combat situations to maintain turret pressurization.
  • Empty shell casings are automatically extracted upon breech opening.
  • The secondary armament includes a coaxial 7.62mm MAG machine gun, operated by both the gunner and commander, with an emergency trigger for critical situations.
  • A .50 caliber Browning machine gun is externally mounted on the turret and operated by the loader.
  • The EE-18 is equipped with two sets of six smoke grenade launchers capable of deploying smoke and anti-personnel grenades.

Sighting System:

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  • The EE-18 Sucuri II’s targeting system was equipped with various periscopes and electronic resources.
  • The gunner’s periscope was an OIP LRS-5 (day-night) with ND:YAG laser, an integrated computer, a firing rate of one shot every five seconds, and a range between 200m and 9,995m.
  • The commander had an OIP SCS-5 8x (day-night) periscope and four additional GUS M-17 daytime vision periscopes.
  • The loader had access to a Helio AFV No.30 Mk 3600 lx (day-panoramic) model.
  • An Aeritalia Telescope C-215 8x daylight telescope was available for emergency firing (backup).
  • The night vision system included image intensification capabilities.
  • The commander could access all functions of the gunner’s periscope from his control panel.
  • The cannon’s traverse and elevation systems had buttons for laser firing, mobile target tracking, and coaxial machine gun operation.
  • Shooting parameters, such as wind speed, altitude, ambient temperature, ammunition type, and temperature, were manually input into the computer during normal operations.
  • When a target was sighted, the laser was fired to gather distance information, and the computer displayed a red luminous point on the periscope screens.
  • Aiming was done by aligning the target with this point, followed by firing.
  • For moving targets, a similar procedure was followed, requiring tracking the target between two marks on the screen to calculate its speed.
  • Ballistic reticles integrated into the periscopes could be used for targeting in case of computer malfunction.
  • The combat scope provided an alternative option for targeting, featuring the same reticle.

Engine and Transmission:

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  • The EE-18 Sucuri II was powered by a Scania DS 11 four-stroke diesel engine with six inline cylinders, direct injection, and turbocharging, producing a maximum power of 384 horsepower.
  • It featured a ZF-6 HP 600 automatic transmission with lock-up and a retarder, providing six forward speeds and one reverse gear.
  • The transfer case was a ZF STV 550 model.
  • Front and rear differentials were ZF BK-DU, with the front differential being a ZF BK-DUA model of the drive-through type.
  • All differentials had a locking system and were mounted with vibration-dampening mounts to minimize vibrations.
  • Planetary gear reductions, disc brakes, and tire calibrators were part of the differentials.
  • The hydraulic steering system was provided by ZF, model 8046.

Tires and Suspension:

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  • The EE-18 Sucuri featured an independent hydro-pneumatic suspension system similar to McPherson suspensions found in cars but with nitrogen-pressurized hydraulic cylinders instead of shock absorbers and springs.

  • The suspension calibration could be adjusted by altering the gas pressure.

  • The braking system used hydro-pneumatic technology.

  • The vehicle used Michelin tires (model XS) with low-profile design and bulletproof inner tubes.

  • The wheel rims were made of stamped steel and covered with rubber mats to isolate them from the ACM crowns.

  • The ACM crowns were composed of two parts joined by screws.

Specifications:

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  • Crew: 4
  • Configuration: 6x6
  • Combat Weight: 18,500 kg
  • Power to Weight Ratio: 20.50 hp/tonne
  • Length (Including Gun): 7.75 meters
  • Hull Length: 5.84 meters
  • Width: 2.80 meters
  • Height (Turret Roof): 2.59 meters
  • Ground Clearance: 0.40 meters
  • Track (Width Between Tracks): 2.33 meters
  • Wheelbase: 4.40 meters
  • Approach/Departure Angle: 76°/52°
  • Maximum Road Speed: 105 km/h
  • Fuel Capacity: 480 liters
  • Maximum Road Range: 700 km
  • Water Fording: 1.3 meters
  • Gradient: 60%
  • Side Slope: 30%
  • Vertical Obstacle: 0.6 meters
  • Trench: 2 meters

Powertrain

  • Engine: Scania DSI-11, 6-cylinder in-line diesel with direct injection, four-stroke, turbocharged, and intercooled, developing 380 hp at 2100 rpm.
  • Transmission: ZF 6 HP 600 fully automatic, with lock-up, retarder, and torque converter, 6 forward speeds and 1 reverse.
  • Transfer Case: Mechanical, 1-speed with constant mesh and split torque.
  • Secondary Transfer Case: Mechanical, directly linked with automatic transmission.
  • Steering: Hydraulic.

Suspension

  • Suspension: Independent hydro-pneumatic MacPherson with 308 mm of wheel travel.

Tires

  • Tires: 14.00 x 22.50 run-flat radial.

Brakes

  • Brakes: Discs on all wheels actuated by air over hydraulic system. Double calipers on front wheels and single calipers on rear wheels. Mechanical drum-type parking brakes, incorporated with the differentials in intermediary and rear axles.

Electrical System

  • Electrical System: 24V.
  • Batteries: 4 x 12V, 100 Ah.
  • Alternator: 28V, 200A.

Armament

  • Main Armament: 1 x 105 mm gun.
  • Coaxial Armament: 1 x 7.62 mm machine gun.
  • Smoke-Laying Equipment: 6 smoke discharges on each side of the turret.
  • Ammunition:
    • Main Armament: 30 rounds.
    • Coaxial Armament: 3200 rounds.
    • Smoke Grenades: 24 (12 inside the vehicle).

Gun Control

  • Turret Power Control: Electric/mechanical.
  • By Commander: Yes.
  • Turret Traverse: 360° at 26°/s.
  • Gun Elevation/Depression: +15°/-6° at 35°/s.
  • Gun Stabilizer:
    • Vertical: Yes.
    • Horizontal: Yes.

Source:

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BASTOS, Expedito. C. S. . Blindados no Brasil - Um londo e árduo aprendizado - Volume 2. 1º. ed. Juiz de Fora: Edição do autor, 2012. v. 2. 604p .
ecsbdefesa.com.br – CAÇA-TANQUE EE-18 SUCURI II O MAIS SOFISTICADO E DESCONHECIDO 6×6 DA ENGESA

Images:

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7 Likes

new pictures

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1 Like

A fantastic wheeled light tank for the LatAm tree! +!

4 Likes

Great tank, even only as Italian premium(if Snail don’t make South America TT) it will rule on battlefield

1 Like

Certainly, it is very similar to the Vickers Mk.11 of the English line, very fast, light armor and deadly cannon of the otto melara

1 Like

Vickers Meets rooika? I’d love playing this

1 Like

+1 premium

1 Like

This 6x6 would be very interesting!

1 Like