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Armored Cars: Inbra Gladiador II

July 19, 2019

Via Grupo Inbra.

With Brazil having returned to the forefront of military innovation in Latin America it comes as no surprise armored 4×4’s like the Gladiador II are being groomed for export. Unlike the late 20th century heyday of the country’s weapons manufacturers, who were all state-owned, private companies are now showing they too can roll out products to meet any end user’s requirements. Such is the case with Grupo Inbra, a firm specializing in synthetic fibers and ballistic materials, and their followup to the first Gladiador unveiled in 2012–its appearance then resembling the Panhard VBL–now boasting a complete redesign.

Of course, a cursory glance at the Gladiador II invites comparisons to the ubiquitous AM General Humvee. But in fairness to this Brazilian truck, its appearance subscribes to common features found in all military 4×4’s that must navigate varied terrain, ergo the wide chassis supporting a coiled spring independent suspension and the noticeable ground clearance. The Gladiador II in its present variant is a troop carrier with a monocoque hull; hardened steel panels welded together to form the body. Its diesel engine type is unspecified but produces a whopping 183.7 horsepower, giving a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour on paved roads, although this is more than halved when it runs across difficult geographies.

Weighing 9.2 tons fully loaded, the Gladiador II has space for five, including the driver and co-driver, although two more passengers can enter from a rear swing door and access folding seats. Ballistic resistance is at STANAG II, making it impervious to gunfire from assault rifles, and the cab has bulletproof windows with mesh screens for protecting their surface against projectiles. This particular detail is more appropriate for law enforcement agencies who expect contact with hostile crowds. Hand grenades and small bombs are manageable threats considering the Gladiador II’s armor level, but crews shouldn’t push their luck against anti-material rifles and shoulder-fired rockets.

The combat optimization of the Gladiador II is simple but effective. Each of the hefty side doors on the cab have small gun ports for the occupants to discharge their firearms. The roof has three small square hatches, with two directly above the driver and co-driver. Having roof hatches are useful as alternative exits should the Gladiador II be compromised, like being completely ablaze after a rain of petrol bombs. (Or worse.) The simple act of just peering out the vehicle from the hatch is useful for its occupants too as the view from the door windows is constricted. The Gladiador II’s roof does have a circular mount for a primary weapon. Its last public appearance at the LAAD 2019 arms show featured an Israeli-made remote weapon station that matched a 12.7mm machine gun with two portable anti-tank missiles.

The Gladiador II looks like a worthy addition to any NATO motor pool and a competitor against Europe’s multitudes of protected 4×4’s. Besides its current variant, incremental changes are to be expected such as a towing winch on the bumper, perhaps smoke grenade dischargers on the roof, external cameras for full-spectrum visibility, and propellers in the rear to make the Gladiador II fully amphibious. Inbra has announced their vehicle’s development process is ongoing and the intended market is Brazil’s ground forces then possible foreign end users. Even with several other military 4×4’s made in Brazil aspiring for breakout success, the Gladiador II looks like it can stick around for a while.

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