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Portuguese armor vehicle to test in Brazil

  |   June 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM
SAO PAULO, June 20 (UPI) -- Portuguese manufacturer Pinhol plans to test its new four-wheel explosive-resistant armored vehicle in Brazil with a view to developing a long-term production and marketing partnership in the Caribbean and Latin American region.

Pinhol S.A. produces hard-wearing vehicles and other steel products but industry analysts say it is the first time that the company has been mentioned in connection with a defense vehicle. The four-wheel vehicle is said to resist improvised explosive devices and regular land mines while shielding occupants in an armed ambush.

The tests in Brazil follow a partnership developed between Pinhol and Brazilian manufacturers of commercial off-the-shelf vehicle chassis.

The so-called mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle has a combat weight of 28,600 pounds, a top speed of 75 miles an hour and a maximum range of about 930 miles.

The propulsion in the MRAP unit consists of a 480-horsepower diesel engine which is coupled to a seven-speed (six plus reverse) automatic gearbox.

Pinhol says the vehicle, made with SSAB ARMOX steel, can be equipped with armored add-ons, climate control and communication systems, a protected manned weapon station or a remote weapon station.

Armox 500T, the world's toughest protection plate in its hardness range, can be used in defense vehicles because it easy to work with.

The Pinhol combat vehicle's hull features several ports for light machine guns and protected windows around the hull and a windshield protected by a mesh.

The vehicle can accommodate a driver and a 10-member warfighter team. The design of the vehicle comes in different configurations.

The company has also developed the Puma airborne multipurpose lightweight mine-protected vehicle that can be used to transport cargo or deployed in combat.

The Puma has a combat weight of 7,700 pounds and a top speed of about 87 miles. The Puma can be fitted with machine guns and carry cargo or up to seven troops.

Pinhol is also looking to expand markets outside Latin America, where Brazil's own aviation and defense industries are looking for new business opportunities.

European defense manufacturers are looking to Latin America's newly acquired spending power and revived defense regeneration programs, fueled by post-crisis growth and gains in commodity markets. Pinhol already is a major supplier to the Portuguese armed forces and has built a reputation for tough multipurpose armored vehicles.

The company has outlined plans to produce larger, six- to eight-wheel armored vehicles that are resistant to explosive impact and can take part in combat and security duties.

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