On 25 November 2022, the Logistics Command (COLOG)/Diretoria de Material (DMat) of the Brazilian Army announced the final selection results of the procurement programme for the new armoured combat cavalry 8×8 wheeled medium vehicle or ‘Viatura Blindada de Combate de Cavalria – Média Sobra Rodas’ (VBC Cav – MSR 8×8). According to the statement, the Italian CIO (Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara) consortium offering the Centauro II was ranked first place, followed by the US General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) with the LAV 700AG, while the China’s Norinco offering the ST1-BR was ranked third.

The Brazilian Army’s Logistics Command announcement also stated that the first-ranked company is invited to sign the initial contract for the programme on 5 December 2022. The contract signature had initially been planned to be signed in late November, but was moved back.

The three candidates were shortlisted in early October 2022, and required to submit their respective Best and Final Offer (BAFO) based on the Request for Proposal (RfP) for the VBC Cav – MSR 8×8 programme issued by the Brazilian Army Logistics Command on 20 July 2022. According the RfP, the final selection was based on four main areas of evaluation, including technical, commercial, initial logistical support and offset issues, respectively contributing 52.54%, 11.04%, 30.09% and 6.34% of their final ranking.

Centauro II with Hitfact MkII turret, armed with 120mm/45 caliber gun and fitted for 105mm/52 Centauro II, Photo:  Leonardo

The Brazilian Army’s overall requirement is for 221 VBC Cav vehicles, however according to the same RfP, the VBC Cav – MSR 8×8 programme presently only covers the procurement of 98 vehicles under a multi-year process, along with an initial logistical support package and a single simulation system.

Although more details on Brazilian vehicles’ configuration, deliveries and timing will surface following the contract award, some information on timings was present in the RfP. The initial two prototypes are due to be delivered within two months from the contract start date, and a second batch of seven vehicles for doctrinal experimentation is to be delivered in 2024, while a third batch of seven vehicles is due to follow in 2025. Following this, a further 12 batches are due to be delivered, at a rate of one batch per year from 2026 to 2037. Each batch will consist of seven vehicles, apart from two batches of six vehicles, which are scheduled for 2027 and 2028. Each batch also has to include an initial five-year logistics support package.

The programme is expected to see the participation of Brazilian industry not only for the customisation and equipment supply but also in the simulation, training and logistic support segments, also fulfilling offset requirements. According to the RfP, vehicle assembly could be launched in Brazil using Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits. Iveco Defence Vehicles is already present in Brazil, with production facilities for the Brazilian Army’s VBTP-MR Guarani 6×6, however, more information on potential local production at these facilities is expected to emerge after the contract award on 5 December 2022.

Luca Peruzzi