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Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake)

6x6 Wheeled Armored Car

Brazil | 1974

"The Brazilian-born Engesa EE-9 6x6 wheeled armored car became a popular export product since its adoption in 1974."

Authored By: Alex D. | Last Edited: 09/24/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Realizing the need to replace its aged stock of World War 2-era (1939-1945), American-made M8 "Greyhound" armored cars, the Brazilian Army selected a 6x6 wheeled design by the local concern of Engesa as a successor. This vehicle became the EE-9 "Cascavel" ("Rattlesnake") in service and was exported widely across South American and to clients in the Middle East. Modernization programs have served to pushed the EE-9 product along in the new millennium, keeping it fit for modern confrontations. Around 2,500 have been produced since service entry occurred in 1974.

The finalized Engesa product became a 12-ton vehicle featuring a length of 6.2 meters (with the main gun forwards), width of 2.6 meters, and a height of 2.7 meters. The standard operating crew - consisting of a driver, commander, and gunner - was three with the driver seated at front-left in the hull and the turret supporting the remaining two personnel. Armor protection ranged up to 12mm thick and consisted of steel and a fire detection system was implemented for crew survivability.

Standard armament ultimately became a 90mm main gun fitted to the turret's frontal face. To this was added a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun for anti-infantry service. The main gun was mated to a Fire Control System (FCS) for gunnery assistance and a laser rangefinder improved accuracy and reaction times. Later models introduced an external turret roof mounting for an addition 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) or a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) for local defense which also being fired from within the confine of the vehicle.

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Power to the line has been primarily an American Detroit Diesel 6V-53N 6-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine of 212 horsepower though a German Mercedes-Benz diesel of 190 horsepower was also witnessed. The engine and transmission system were fitted to the rear of the vehicle hull to provide middle and frontal internal space for the crew and various mission-critical components. The 6x6 wheeled configuration featured a noticeable space between the first and second axles and large road wheels aided in traction and cross-country traverse. Suspension was a unique Engesa-developed "Boomerang" double-axle arrangement and each wheel was given a "run-flat" feature as standard. Maximum road speed reached 100 kmh with an operational road range out to 880 kilometers.

Initial pilot vehicles appeared during 1970 and pre-production forms followed between 1971 and 1972. Upon acceptance by the Brazilian Army, production quality vehicles were seen from 1974 on. Besides the EE-9 model, Engesa also manufactured another local, similar 6x6 wheeled armored car as the EE-11 "Urutu" and this resulted in the two machines sharing many of the same automotive components for logistical friendliness.

The earliest of the EE-9 line were equipped with a turreted 37mm main gun, these taken from expiring stocks of World War 2 American-made M3 Stuart Light Tanks. The model was known as Cascavel I and carried with it the nickname of "Cascavel Magro" (the "Thin Rattlesnake"). Following this mark was the Cascavel II which featured an enlarged turret ring to house a traversing assembly appropriate for the 90mm DEFA D921 tank gun of French origin. This vehicle featured the full H90 series turret and was nicknamed "Cascavel Gordo" (the "Fat Rattlesnake") while being meant primarily for export sale. The Cascavel III mark brought along with it an in-house Engesa-designed turret system mounting a 90mm Cockerill Mk 3 series tank gun of Belgian origin (the guns were manufactured locally under license). The Cascavel IV was introduced thereafter and showcased an all-new engine and transmission pairing which improved performance. It was also equipped with a useful 7.62mm MMG/12.7mm HMG mounting for local air defense and updated optics with laser rangefinder for improved day/night service and accuracy respectively.

The most successful of the listed Cascavel models became the Cascavel III and operators went on to range from Bolivia and Brazil to Uruguay and Zimbabwe. A modernization program has been underway to evolve the EE-9 and EE-11 vehicles to a new fighting standard for service into 2020 and possible beyond.

The EE-9 saw combat service beginning with the Colombian Civil War (1964-Present) and then the Chadian-Libyan War (1978-1987). It also became a veteran (fighting under various national flags) of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Gulf War (1991), the 2nd Congo War (1998-2003), and - most recently - the Libyan Civil War (2011).

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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-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake) 6x6 Wheeled Armored Car.
1 x Detroit Diesel 6V-53N 6-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine of 212 horsepower.
Installed Power
62 mph
100 kph
Road Speed
547 miles
880 km
The physical qualities of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake) 6x6 Wheeled Armored Car.
20.3 ft
6.2 meters
O/A Length
8.7 ft
2.65 meters
O/A Width
8.9 ft
2.7 meters
O/A Height
24,251 lb
11,000 kg | 12.1 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake) 6x6 Wheeled Armored Car.
1 x 90mm Cockerill Mk 3 main gun
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm/12.7mm machine gun on turret roof (optional)
44 x 90mm projectiles
2,200 x 7.62mm ammunition
Notable series variants as part of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake) family line.
Cascavel - Base Series Name
Cascavel I - Original production model of 1974; 37mm main gun.
Cascavel II - 90mm DEFA D921 main gun in H90 turret
Cascavel III - 90mm Cockerill Mk III main gun in Engesa turret.
Cascavel IV - Updated engine and transmission system; roof-mounted 7.62mm/12.7mm machine gun mounting; laser rangefinder; day/night optics support.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 2,500 Units

Contractor(s): Engesa - Brazil
National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Chad National flag of Chile National flag of Colombia National flag of Cyprus National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Gabon National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Libya National flag of Nigeria National flag of Qatar National flag of Tunisia National flag of Uruguay National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Bolivia; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Burma; Chad; Chile; Colombia; Cyprus; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Gabon; Guyana; Iran; Iraq; Libya; Nigeria; Paraguay; Qatar; Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Suriname; Tunisia; Uruguay; Zimbabwe ]
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Image of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database DVIDS.
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Image of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database DVIDS.
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Image of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database DVIDS.
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Image of the Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database DVIDS.

Going Further...
The Engesa EE-9 Cascavel (Rattlesnake) 6x6 Wheeled Armored Car appears in the following collections:
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