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Engesa EE-T1 Osorio

Main Battle Tank (MBT) Project

Brazil | 1987

"The privately-funded Engesa EE-T1 Main Battle Tank went on to be produced in just two prototypes before cancellation."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/25/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In the early 1980s, the Brazilian concern of Engesa undertook a private venture initiative to produce a modern Main Battle Tank (MBT) firstly for the budget-minded foreign market and, secondly, to the interested Brazilian Army. For decades, the Brazilian Army had relied on foreign procurement ventures that largely resulted in outgoing American tank stocks. The Engesa concern was founded in 1963 with the primary focus of military vehicles and ended producing a long line of light armored platforms, utility vehicles and military-grade trucks. While eventually defunct in 1993, Engesa set its hopes on the design, development and ultimate production of an indigenous MBT system in the years prior.

Design of the new MBT began in 1982 and proceeded into 1986 under the designation of EE-T1 "Osorio". It became a conventional combat design by modern Western standards featuring an operational weight of 43 tons, a four-man crew and a 120mm smoothbore main gun. Dimensionally the EE-T1 sported a running legnth of 10 meters with a width of 3.26 meters and height of 2.37 meters. The crew consisted of the driver (in the front hull) and the commander, loader and gunner (residing in the turret). Armor was developed from an aluminum/steel/carbon/ceramic formula intended to protect the vital internals of the machine against the threats of the then-modern battlefield. Power was supplied through a 12-cylinder diesel-fueled engine of 1,100 horsepower output for a top road speed of 43 miles per hour and an operational range of 340 miles. The suspension system was designed around a hydropneumatic arrangement tied to the six double-tired road wheels to improve cross-country travel. The drive sprocket was at the rear of the track system with the track idler at the front. Side skirt armor protected the critical upper portions of the tracks. Overall a fine design by modern standards.

Primary armament of the prototype was the British-born 105mm L/52 L7 rifled main gun. As was common practice (and still remains so), a 12.7mm Browning M2HB heavy machine gun was fitted atop the turret roof to counter the threat posed by low-flying attack aircraft (such as helicopters) and light armored vehicles. While not utilizing a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun mounting, the EE-T1 instead fielded a second 12.7mm heavy machine gun in the coaxial position. 12 x smoke grenade dischargers were installed along the turret sides (rear) in two banks of six.

The EE-T1 emerged as an initial prototype form in 1985. The Saudi Army proved the only true interested party at the time and successfully trialed the Brazilian system against power-players in the American M1 Abrams and British Challenger 1 (the ultimately abandoned French AMX-40 was also in contention). The EE-T1 proved to be a capable machine with the required firepower, performance and survival features sought in a wholly modern design - also at the desired cost. However, the Saudi relationship with the United States - and the invasion of nearby Kuwait by Iraq (1990) - prompted the Saudi government to continue its standing relationship with the Americans and, thusly, the M1 Abrams was selected as the official MBT of the Saudi Army. This maneuvering proved a defining blow to the EE-T1 program and, although a second prototype had been completed (this with the French GIAT 120mm smoothbore main gun), the project ultimately fell out favor. As the M1 Abrams gave an excellent account of itself on the world stage in the Persian Gulf War (1991), the Engesa concern went on to bankruptcy in 1993. The two prototypes were handed over to the Brazilian Army for further consideration though the tank was, now and forever, destined never to see the light of serial production.

The Brazilian Army is today made up of 378 ex-Belgian/ex-German Leopard 1 MBTs (1A1 and 1A5 versions, 128 and 250 respectively) with 91 ex-American M60 Patton MBTs. The M60s are being retired as of this writing (2012) as the Brazilian Army attempts to modernize its inventory.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio Main Battle Tank (MBT) Project.
1 x 12-cylinder diesel engine delivering 1,100 horsepower.
Installed Power
43 mph
70 kph
Road Speed
342 miles
550 km
The physical qualities of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio Main Battle Tank (MBT) Project.
32.8 ft
9.99 meters
O/A Length
10.7 ft
3.26 meters
O/A Width
7.8 ft
2.37 meters
O/A Height
85,980 lb
39,000 kg | 43.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio Main Battle Tank (MBT) Project.
1 x 105mm L/52 L7 rifled main gun (1st Prototype).
1 x 120mm GIAT G1 smoothbore main gun (2nd Prototype).
1 x 12.7mm Browning M2HB anti-aircraft heavy machien gun.
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm general purpose machine gun (optional)
12 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers
12 x Smoke Grenades
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio family line.
EE-T1 "Osorio" - Base Series Designation; only two prototypes completed; first prototype with 105mm rifled main gun, second prototype with 120mm smoothbore main gun.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Engesa - Brasil

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Image of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio
Front left side view of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio main battle tank

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Engesa EE-T1 Osorio Main Battle Tank (MBT) Project appears in the following collections:
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