Isarel’s Elbit Systems has signed a contract with Ghana to supply 11 Iveco Guarani 6×6 armoured vehicles to the country.
The vehicles will be manufactured by Iveco Defence Vehicles in Sete Lagoas, Brazil, and fitted with REMAX remotely operated weapons stations, according to Zona Militar. The REMAX, for 7.62 and 12.7 mm machineguns, is manufactured by Brazilian company Ares Aeroespacial e Defesa.
The VBTP-MR Guarani (Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal – Média de Rodas/Armoured Personnel Carrier Vehicle – Medium Wheeled Type) was developed by Iveco and the Brazilian Army as part of its Urutu-III modernization program aimed to replace Brazilian EE-11 Urutu vehicles. A contract was signed in 2009 to codevelop the vehicle.
The 14.5 ton (empty weight) amphibious vehicle family is fitted with an Iveco-FPT 9-litre, 281 kW (383 HP) bi-fuel engine, coupled to an automatic gearbox, giving a top speed of 100 km/h. Two waterjets at the rea of the hull allow amphibious operation. It can carry 11 personnel. It is 7 metres long, 2.7 metres wide and 2.3 metres in height and can be transported by C-130 Hercules and C-390 aircraft.
It can be equipped with manned and unmanned turrets carrying armament from 5.56 to 30 mm. Different configurations of the modular vehicle have been designed to fulfil roles including personnel carrier, command post, recovery, ambulance, etc.
The Guarani’s armour provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters while the V-shaped hull provides protection against landmines. The vehicle can be fitted with add-on composite armour for improved protection.
Apart from Brazil, the Guarani has also been ordered by the Philippines and Lebanon. The Philippines deal was brokered by Elbit, which will supply Elbit-made turrets and subsystems.
News of Ghana’s armoured vehicle acquisition emerged late last year when Ghana’s Parliament approved $86.1 million in government loans to fund the acquisition of 19 armoured vehicles from Elbit Land Systems.
According to official records of a 3 August 2020 meeting between the parliamentary portfolio committees on health and defence, an agreement is in place between the Israeli Discount Bank and the Government of Ghana and insured by the Israeli Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation. A $74 million credit facility will be combined with a $12 million commercial loan.
In terms of the agreement revealed last year, Elbit Land Systems will supply nine 8×8 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) equipped with Elbit Systems UT30 30 mm remotely operated turrets. The order also includes ten 6×6 IFVs fitted for reconnaissance operations.
Ghana said the acquisition will equip the army to deal with potential impacts of terrorism, human smuggling and other security threats along the northern border with Burkina Faso. They will also be used for counter-terrorism operations and supporting police internal security operations.
Elbit had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.