Engesa EE-3 Jararaca (Pit Viper) History

The Engesa EE-3 "Jararaca" was an compact armored car of local Brazilian design, development, and production. In the post-World War 2 environment, the country purchased large quantitaties of surplus American-made military products, some which were driven into their last days while others were modernized to keep them viable. In time, better solutions were required and local concerns began providing serviceable products. The EE-3 joined several other Engesa wheeled armored vehicles adopted by the Brazilian Army - including the EE-9 "Cascavel" 6x6 and EE-11 "Urutu" 6x6 - in a line-up primarily intended to replace the outgoing American-made M8 "Greyhound" armored car. Development of the EE-3 commenced in the late 1970s and entered serial production in 1980.

The EE-3 featured a 4x4 wheeled arrangement with full suspension for off-road travel. It was a 5.8 ton design with a length of 4.2 meters, a width of 2.2 meters, and a height of 1.6 meters. The armored hull component was constructed of two-layered steel and the standard operating crew numbered three. The driver sat at front-center in the hull with the vehicle commander at middle-left. To the commander's right was a machine gun position or turreted light caliber armament manned by a dedicated gunner. All crew positions held hatches overhead with a large hinged door element fitted along the right side of the hull for easier entry/exit. The engine - a Mercedes-Benz OM 314A diesel-fueled system of 120 horsepower output - was fitted to a rear compartment and assisted in providing the vehicle with a maximum road speed of 100 kmh and an operational range out to 700 kilometers.

The EE-3 was given several useful inherent qualities including large road wheels, a high ground clearance, and sloped armored surfaces for basic ballistics protection (against small arms and shell splinters). Standard equipment included "run-flat" tires as well as a Central Tire Pressure System (CTPS) - the latter for customizing the drive based on terrain. Engesa also offered some optional equipment including an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) kit and night vision equipment support. There also proved a dedicated NBC reconnaissance vehicle form which provided an expanded NBC equipment fit and was differentiated by its raised hull roof.

The lightest-armed form of the EE-3 was outfitted with a pintle-mounted 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) which could easily be substituted with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG). Other armament mountings included a turreted 20mm Rh202 series automatic cannon with coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. The turret was large enough for only one operator. Other EE-3 forms supported an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launcher (the French MILAN system) and 60mm mortars (for indirect fire support service). Smoke grenade dischargers - for shielding the vehicle's movements - were an optional installation offered.

The diminutive Engesa EE-3 vehicle made its way into the inventories of several militaries including that of Brazil. Operators joining use of the product were Cyprus, Ecuador, Gabon, Uruguay, Tunisia, and Iraq. It was used in fast reconnaissance, tank deterrent, patrol, and security roles during its active service life.

Engesa EE-3 Jararaca (Pit Viper) Specification


Engenheiros Especializados SA (Engesa) - Brazil
1,200 Units


- Anti-Tank / Anti-Armor

- Reconnaissance (RECCE)

- Security / Defense / Law Enforcement / Convoy Escort



13.65 ft (4.16 m)


7.32 ft (2.23 m)


5.12 ft (1.56 m)


6 tons (5,800 kg; 12,787 lb)


1 x Mercedes-Benz OM 314A diesel-fueled engine developing 120 horsepower.


Maximum Speed:

62 mph (100 kph)

Maximum Range:

435 miles (700 km)

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VARIABLE: 1 x 20mm Rh202 autocannon with 1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun OR 1 x 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) OR 1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG); Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launcher (MILAN) or 60mm Mortar support. Smoke grenade dischargers optional


Dependent upon armament fit.


EE-3 "Jararaca" - Base Series Name; varying armament fits fielded (see variants listing).

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