Brazil -Engesa Vehicle Designations


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Vehicles made by Brazil's Engesa have come up a few times recently in the Secret Army Projects section. Engesa vehicle designations were rather confusing so I thought I'd have a go at an Engesa designation list ...

Engesa (Engenheiros Especializados SA) 1958/1963-1993

Engesa entered the vehicle field by fitting all-wheel-drive systems into existing commercial trucks (mainly for the oil company, Petrobras). Engesa also refurbished and updated obsolete armoured vehicles which had been sold or given to the Brazilian Army during or after World War II. At the request of the Exército Brasileiro, the 'specialized engineers' at Engesa began fitting four-wheel-drive conversion kits to Brazilian-made Chevrolet C10 light trucks in 1974.

Engesa Armoured Vehicle Designations

Engesa vehicle designations all began with 'EE' for the 'Engenheiros Especializados' of the firm's full name.

The most straightforward Engesa designation seem to be those of the sequential EE-Tx tracked vehicles. Wheeled vehicles are another matter. The Engesa 'EE-x' series is not a numerical sequence. But exactly how those designation numerals were arrived at varied. Most are based on vehicle weight or payload in some way. Some were based on empty weight measured in tonnes. For example, the early-model EE-9 had an empty weight of 9 tonnes, the EE-11 weighed 11 tonnes. Inevitably, those weights later grew as operational equipment was added. But weight changes while prototype were still under development could result in new designation numbers.

One examples of changing weight resulting in revised designations are the Sucuri prototypes. The first prototype - the EE-17 - had its designation numerals rounded up from 16.5 tonnes. The EE-18 Sucuri II weighed a full 18 tonnes. There were a host of changes between these two tank destroyer prototypes (including their main armaments) but their designation changes were dictated by weight. An early exception was the EE-3 Jararaca recce car - which weighed 5.8 tonnes. Here the designations seems to have referred to the 3-man crew (or, possible, to the vehicle's three main roles?).

Engesa Tactical Vehicles Designations

Engesa's unarmoured wheeled vehicle designation were also based on weight ... but here things get peculiar. When Angelo Gonçalves' Envemo applied Engesa's 4x4 kits to Chevrolet C14 and C15 pickups for the Exército Brasileiro, converted vehicle were designated EE-34. [1] The numerals in that EE-34 designation stood for its payload of '3/4 ton'. This formed a general pattern ... if decimal points are ignored. So, an EE-15 can transport 1.5 tonnes, the EE-25 about 2.5 tonnes and the EE-50 around 5.0 tonnes. Actually, the possible payloads were higher. In the case of EE-25 and EE-50, the quoted numbers were for their off-road payloads (I'm not sure if that was also true for the EE-15).

Engesa's small range of light 4x4 vehicles had two designation styles. A commercial venture, the Engesa EE-4 was a small SUV (akin to the slightly later Suzuki Vitara/Geo Tracker). Branded as the 'Engasa 4', this was clearly a reference to its 4x4 drive. However, military EE-4 derivatives were assigned more typical Engesa designations based on payload. First up was the 1983 EE-14, with reference to its planned '1/4 ton' payload. In development, it was quickly realized that the design could easily carry a 500 kg payload. As a result, that EE-14 designation was changed (c.1985) to EE-12 for a '1/2' ton payload. [2]

Engesa Sub-Types

Although Engesa designations were apt to change according to weight, there's little evidence for factory-applied sub-type designations. [3] The EE-T1 and EE-T2 tanks were given suffixes - P1 and P2 - which simply stood for Protótipo. To distinquish variants in armoured vehicle types, Engesa applied Mark numbers. The approach of the Exército Brasileiro what somewhat more convoluted. However, since such military designators show up in discussions of Engesa vehicles, they are worth discussing here.

The Exército Brasileiro made those distinctions by applying Modelo and Série suffixes to Engesa service vehicles. Eg: pre-production EE-9 Cascavels were Modelo M1 Série 1, early production Modelo M2 Série 2. [4] Here, the Modelo number suggested a type variation while the Série showed a sequence. So, the Modelo M2 Série 3 (a Mk II brought up to Mk III standards) was followed by new-builds - the Modelo M6 Séries 3, 4, and 5. By the time that Séries 8 and 9 had been reached, these were being applied to Modelo M7.

AFAIK, sub-type or role-designator additions were not made to tactical vehicle designations. An exception was EE-12 F2, referring to an upgrade programme for EE-12 light military utility 4x4s. In that case, 'F2' stood for Fase 2 (Phase 2) of that upgrade programme - but I'm not sure if that F2 tack-on originated with Engesa or with the Exército Brasileiro.

Engesa Tracked Vehicles Designations

Mention has already been made of the EE-Tx designation sequence exclusively for tracked vehicles. Numerically, these EE-Tx designations seem completely separate from the alpha-numerical EE-x designation. The 'T' is the EE-Tx sequence was most likely originally for 'Tanque' but this designation style was held over for the Ogum light vehicles. There only seems to be three EE-Tx designations - two for the Osório tank and one for the proposed Ogum family. I have been unable to find any trace of a genuine 'EE-T3' project.

There are other Engesa designation sequences for systems beside vehicles. Examples are the ET-90 (Engesa Torre - 90 mm) turret used on some EE-9s and proposed for the Uruvel (below). The main armament for that ET-90 turret was the EC-90 (Engesa Canhão - 90 mm) - a license-built 90 mm Belgian Cockerill gun built by Engesa subsidiary Engex (Salvador, Bahia). Doubtless there were other Engesa non-vehicular product lines with similar designation styles applied.

Engesa's Vehicle Naming Tradition

The majority of Engesa armoured vehicle designs were also assigned popular names (utility vehicles never received popular names but oddly the heavy truck did). Initially, the names chosen were those of venomous snakes of Brazil but the scope later broadened. One naming oddity was the EE-11 variant Uravel - a contraction of Urutú and Cascavel (since it combined features of both types). [5] This 1985 Engesa/FMC joint project was also referred to as 'Hydrocobra' (or 'Hydracobra') for reasons unknown to me.

For convenience, I'll list designations here with translations or explanations of their assigned popular names.

Engesa Vehicle Popular Names

EE-T1/EE-T2 Osório - after General Manuel Luís Osório (1808-1879)

EE-T4 Ogum - after a warrior god in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Candomblé

EE-3 Jararaca - Jararaca pit viper (Bothrops jararaca)

EE-4 'Engasa 4' - Self-explanatory for a commercial 4x4 SUV

EE-9 Cascavel - rattlesnake (of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus)

EE-11 Urutú - Urutú viper (Bothrops alternatus) [6]

EE-17/EE-18 Sucuri - Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)

EE-50 Mamute - Mammoth (but for Mammuthus or just 'large'?) [7]


[1] Envemo (Engenharia de Veículos e Motores Ltda.) produced 86 x EE-34s between 1981 and closing its doors in 1985. Engesa produced 386 x EE-34s between 1983 and 1988. It is possible that the 'EE' in EE-34 initially stood for 'Envemo-Engesa'.

[2] A modernized descendant of the EE-12 is the 2005 Agrale Marruá (Wild Bull) in military service as the 4x4 Viatura de Transporte Não Especializada (Non-Specialised Transport Vehicle) - VTNE being a generic description. Agrale was formed by ex-employees afte collapse of Engesa.

[3] An oddity is the current EE-9U designation which originated with the Cavalaria do Exército. It is effectively the military designation for upgraded Cascavels being proposed by Equitron Automação (as their EQ-12) and prototyped by the Arsenal de Guerra de São Paulo (as the MX-8).

[4] These Modelo numbers are sometimes rendered with Roman numerals. So, for example, in place of Modelo M2 or just M2, we might see Modelo II.

[5] Although best regarded as an EE-11 variant, I have yet to see the Uravel assigned a type designation. However, in the designation listings below, I have included the Uravel amongst EE-11 variants.

[6] Note: The accented spelling Urutú appeared in early Engesa brochures. However, the unaccented Urutu has since become more common (for both the EE-11 and Bothrops alternatus).

[7] The EE-50 Mamute naming may also have been inspired by the earlier Chevrolet 937 Gigante.


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Engesa 'EE-Tx' Tracked Vehicle Designations

EE-Tx - 1982-1986 Osório main battle tank prototypes, x 2
- EE-T1: Osório P1 (Protótipo 1), 105 mm L7 rifled gun
- EE-T1: Aimed at Exército Brasileiro and general export market
- EE-T2: Osório P2 (Protótipo 2), 120 mm GIAT G1 smoothbore
- EE-T2: Aimed at Royal Saudi Army (as the Al Fahd MBT)

EE-T3 - (??) none known, hypothetical designation
- EE-T3: Sometimes seen in error for EE-3 Jararaca
- EE-T3: Fictional desig. for a production Osório MBT

EE-T4 - 1986 Ogum light tracked vehicle family for Iraq [1]
- EE-T4: Inspired by German Wiesel but larger and heavier
-- Offered with various armaments from mid-1980s to early 1990s
- EE-T4: P1, 125 hp Perkins QT 20B4, Allison AT-545 auto trans.
- EE-T4: P2, 130 hp BMW M21 D24WA diesel, ZF 4HP22 auto transm.

Engesa 'EE-x' Vehicle Designations

Engesa EE-1 -- (??) hypothetical designation
- EE-1 : Seen as mistaken desig. for EE-T1/T2 Osório MBT
- MN/EE-1: 198? Engesa mobile SSM project offered to Libya [2]

Engesa EE-3 -- 1979 Jararaca 4x4 recce armoured car, 3 x crew
- EE-3 : Rear-mounted Mercedes-Benz OM 314A, Clark 240 V manual trans.
-- Intended as Exército Brasileiro jeep replacement, not procured
- EE-3 : Almost exclusively for export,* aka 'EE-Jararaca'
-- * Cyprus (15), Ecuador (10), Gabon (12), Guinea (10), Uruguay (16)

Engesa EE-4 -- 1983-1992 civilian SUV 4x4; soft-top/hard top vers.
- EE-4: aka 'Engasa 4' (also see EE-12, EE-14 below)

Engesa EE-5 -- (??) hypothetical designation
- EE-5: 'Armoured vehicle' seen online. Or is this just a typo?

Engesa EE-9 -- 1973-74 Cascavel series armoured recce car, x ~1,715
- EE-9 : 1970 Carro de Reconhecimento sobre Rodas project begun [3]
- EE-9 : Cascavel, aka 'EE-09', 'boomerang' suspension, 1974-1993
- EE-9 Cascavel M1: 1973 pre-production series, x 8 vehicles
- EE-9 Cascavel M2: 1973 production variant, x 102, aka Mk I
- EE-9 Mk I: 1973, dubbed 'Cascavel Magro' ('Thin Rattlesnake')
- EE-9 Cascavel M1/M2: US 37 mm M6 gun in M3 Stuart turret
- EE-9 Cascavel M1/M2: 158 hp Engesa-built Perkins 6357 diesel [4]
- EE-9 Mk II: 1974, dubbed 'Cascavel Gordo' ('Fat Rattlesnake')
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk II: (Project) Export vers. meant for Portugal*
-- * SOFMA turret, DEFA D921A low-pressure 90 mm gun, tested early 1974
-- * NB: D921A better-known by French mil. desig. - 90 mm CN-90-62 F2
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk II: 1977, to Qatar (x 20), Abu Dhabi (x 200)
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk II: Upgunned vers, 90 mm gun in a new turret**
-- ** The French D921A 90 mm cannon in a Hispano-Suiza H 90 turret
- EE-9 Mk II: 158 hp Engesa-built Perkins 6357, Clark manual transm.
-- Modelo M2 Série 3: 1977 M2 Série 2 upgrade, x 60
-- Engesa EC-90 cannon in ET-90/500 turret repl. 37 mm M6 in M3 turret
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk III: Export vers., revised power, 90 mm gun***
- EE-9 Mk III: 212 hp Detroit Diesel 6V-53N V-6, Allison AT-540 trans.
-- *** 90 mm CMI (Cockerill) Mk 2 or license-built Engesa EC-90 equiv.
-- *** In Engesa ET-90/500 turret built in Brazil by Engex subsidiary
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk IV: Increased commonality with EE-11 Urutú
- EE-9 Mk IV: 90mm EC-90, 260 hp Detroit Diesel 6V-53T, Allison MT-643
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk V : As per Mk IV except for powerplant changes
- EE-9 Mk V: 190 hp Mercedes-Benz OM 352 diesel, Allison AT-540 or AT-545
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk VI : 190 hp M-B OM 352A diesel, Allison MT-643
- EE-9 Cascavel Mk VII: As per Mk V but w/ Allison MT-643 gearbox
- EE-9 M6 Série 3: 1982, disc brakes, Allison AT-455 auto, x 12
- EE-9 M6 Série 4: 198?, equipment changes, EB x 9
- EE-9 M2 Série 5: 1977, new-build, EB x 46, CFN (Marines) x 6
- EE-9 M6 Série 5: 198?, equipment changes, EB x 16
- EE-9 M2 Série 6: 197?
- EE-9 M2 Série 7: 1981, EB follow-on order, x 9
- EE-9 M7 Série ?: 1983, Cambio Allison MT-643 transm., x 2
- EE-9 M8 Série ?: 19??
- EE-9 M9 Série ?: 1983, Cambio Allison MT-643 transm., x 213
- EE-9U Cascavel MX-8: 2013 Equitron Automação upgrade programme
- EE-9U: 320 hp MTU 6R926, ZF Friedrichshafen 6HP504C automatic gearbox
-- Prototype conversion done by Arsenal de Guerra de São Paulo (AGSP)
-- EE-9U (Cavalaria do Exército desig.), EQ-12 (Equitron), MX-8 (AGSP)
-- MX-8 : Most probably standing for Modelo eXperimental Mk VIII

Engesa EE-10 - Typo?
- EE-10: Google returns for carros blindados oil filters
- EE-10: Linked (mis-linked?) with Mercedes OM 352/OM 352A diesels

Engesa EE-11 - 1971-74 Urutú, 6x6 AAV/APC/IFV/ARV
- EE-11: Designation based on empty weight of 11 tonnes
- EE-11: Produced 1973-1987, x ~888, co-developed w/ EE-9
-- Orig.: (Project) Carro de Transporte de Tropas Anfíbio
-- CTTA: 12-to-14 marines, wheel drive in water + snorkel
- EE-11: M-B OM 352A or Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel
- EE-11 Urutú M1 : 1973 CFN (Marines) amph. transport
- EE-11 M3 Série 1: 1984, Venezuelan APC, + comms gear
- EE-11 M2 Série 1: 1974 Brazilian cavalry/mech. vers.
- EE-11 M2 Série 1: 1st tranche, 'wheel-swimmer', x 40
- EE-11 M2 Série 2: 1977 revised with propellers, x 45
- EE-11 M3 Série 2: 1984, Venezuelan ARV vers., aka VRCP
- EE-11 M5 Série 3: 1981, disc brakes, AT-545 trans., x 20
- EE-11 M6 Série 4: 1988, (??), x 45
- EE-11 M2 Série 5: 1979, redesigned hull shape, x 60
- EE-11 M2 Série 6: 1980, (??), x 10
- EE-11 M3 Série 6: 1984, Venezuelan vers., 12.7 mm M2HB
- EE-11 M3 Série 7: 1984, Venez., 20 mm Oerlikon GAM-BO1
- EE-11 M2 Série 8: 1989, (??), x 4
- EE-11 M2 Série 8: 1989, ARV with hydraulic crane, x (??)
-- Uravel: Export amphibian with EE-9's 90 mm gun turret
-- Uravel: Submitted to Canada (AVGP), USMC, Malaysia, etc.
-- Uravel: Joint Engesa/FMC project, aka 'Hydracobra'
-- Uravel: 2 x prototypes + 14 prod'n vers. for Tunisia
- EE-11VE : 2013 Venezuelan upgrade with optional floatation kit
-- NB: Urutú III was an EE-11 replacement programme [5]

Engesa EE-12 - 1985 military 4x4 utility based on EE-4 (see EE-14)
-- 2005 Agrale Marruá (Wild Bull) is a modernized EE-12

Engesa EE-14 - 1983 military EE-4 development; redesignated EE-12 (qv)
- EE-14: '14' of designation derived from '1/4' ton weight

Engesa EE-15 - 1974 military 4x4 utility truck;
- EE-15: Mercedes-Benz OM 314 4-cylinder diesel

Engesa EE-17 - 1987 Sucuri 6x6 tank destroyer prototype
- EE-17: French FL-12 oscilating turret, Giat CN 105-57 105 mm gun

Engesa EE-18 - 1987 Sucuri II 6x6 tank destroyer prototype
- EE-18: Engesa turret, OTO Melara 105/52 (105 mm L/52) gun

Engesa EE-25 - 1970s 2.5-to-5-ton commercial/military utility truck
- EE-25: 4x4 variants and 6x6 (with 'boomerang' rear axles)
-- Incl. soft-top, cabine metalica , and 4-door crew-cab

Engesa EE-34 - 1981 4x4 military utility; based on Chev C-10/C-15
- EE-34: Envemo/Engesa joint project, Perkins 4236 6-cyl. diesel
-- EB designation: VTNE (Viatura de Transporte Não Especializado)

Enesa EE-50 - 1980 Mamute cab-forward 6x6 heavy truck
- EE-50: Usual Engasa 'Boomerang' walking beam rear suspension
- EE-50 variants: Cargo, ambulance, bowser, water tanker, wrecker, fire truck, workshop


[1] Iraq originally wanted the German Wiesel vehicle but was thwarted by an arms embargo.

[2] According to a May 1988 CIA report. This Engesa SSM project was taken over by Órbita as the TM-1.

[3] Carro de Reconhecimento sobre Rodas = Wheeled Reconnaissance Car. The CRR project began as a rebuild/upgrade programme for the Exército Brasileiro's remaining fleet of 33 M8 Greyhound armoured cars. Engesa took over the CRR project from the EB in late 1970, developing the alternative VBB-1 and VBB-2 concepts. The latter led directly to the EE-9.

Meanwhile, the M-8s were updated with 120 hp Mercedes-Benz OM 321 diesels. This re-engining programme was the responsibility of the EB's Parque Regional de Manutenção da 2ª Região Militar (PqRMM/2 or Regional Motor Park of the Second Military Region) of São Paulo.

[4] Some sources incorrectly claim Mercedes OM352 (which came much later). The Perkins was the original diesel with an alternative Chrysler 318 cid petrol V-8. Other offered engine options included US GM, Ford, and Caterpillar, or East German MWM (now Deutz MWM).

[5] Urutú III was a name applied to the 1990 Nova Família de Blindados sobre Rodas project for an EE-11 replacement in Exército Brasileiro service. Planned in a 4x4, 6x6, and 8x8 range, the NFBR project was realized in the Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal - Média de Rodas or Medium Wheeled APC programme. VBTP-MR has been satisfied by the 6x6 Guarani, a derivative of the 8x8 Iveco SuperAV.[/B][/B]

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