The Malaysian Army is preparing to open an international tender for the procurement of 6×6 wheeled armored vehicles to replace older models in its inventory. The acquisition, dubbed the Next Generation Wheeled Armoured Vehicle project, aims to procure 400 new 6×6 wheeled armored vehicles to replace its fleet of Belgian-made SIBMAS 6×6 and German-made Condor 4×4 armored vehicles. Italian defense company IVECO Defence will participate with the VBTP-MSR Guarani. The other contenders may be Hyundai Rotem K806 WAV, PT Pindad with its Anoa 2, General Dynamics Land Systems with the LAV II, and FNSS with its Pars.
The SIBMAS is a Belgian amphibious infantry fighting vehicle. It was engineered from the same prototype as the South African Ratel. Production was on an order-by-order basis and commenced only for the Malaysian Army. The Condor is a 4×4 wheeled armoured personnel carrier originally designed by Thyssen-Henschel of Germany and manufactured by Henschel Wehrtechnik GmbH. Today, the Condor is considered a legacy product of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, part of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division. Malaysia ordered 460 Condor APCs in late 1981, with the last being delivered in March 1984.
The VBTP-MR Guarani (Portuguese” Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal – Média de Rodas; “Armored Personnel Carrier Vehicle – Medium Wheeled Type”) is a 6×6 armored personnel carrier developed by Iveco and the Brazilian Army as part of its “URUTU-III” modernization program aimed to replace all EE-11 Urutu by 2015. The 8×8 version of the VBTP-MR is the base of Iveco’s Superav armored personnel carrier. In the program, other Brazilian Companies also participated, such as IMBEL (Communications), ELBIT (Armaments), Usiminas, and Villares (development of national ballistic structural steel).
Compared to the model in use by the Brazilian Army, the new project brings advantages such as upgraded armor protection, increased mobility, increased range, independent hydropneumatic suspension, increased protection against mines, better ergonomics, air conditioning, brake system with double disc and ABS, GPS, automatic detection and extinguishing of fire, night operation capability as standard and laser detection system. There is an interest in exporting the VBTP-MR to other markets, because Brazil has already sold vehicles to Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific in the past. VBTP-MR Guarani exported to Lebanon, Ghana and Philippines.