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The Bravia Chaimite is an armored vehicle with all wheel drive axles built by the Portuguese company Bravia and used by the Portuguese Army in the Portuguese colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, from 1967 to 1974 when it ended. The Chaimite was originally an unlicensed derivative of the Cadillac Gage Commando assembled and later produced in Portugal, with a number of improvements and technical modifications.[1]

Bravia Chaimite
Chaimite Exercise Iberian Resolve1.jpg
Portuguese Chaimite V200 during Exercise Iberian Resolve, 2002.
TypeLight Armoured Vehicle
Place of originPortugal
Service history
In service1967–present
Used bySee Operators
WarsPortuguese Colonial War
Carnation Revolution
Lebanese Civil War
1982 Lebanon War
Moro conflict
Internal conflict in Peru
Libyan Civil War (2011-present)
Production history
ManufacturerBravia
No. builtover 600
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications
Mass6.800 to 8500 kg
Length5.6 m
Width2.26 m
Height2.39 m
Crew1+10

Armorup to 7.62 mm
Main
armament
depend of variant
Secondary
armament
depend of variant
Enginediesel engine
155 hp (115 kW) at 3300 rpm
Payload capacity804 kg
Transmissionautomatic gearbox
Operational
range
804 km
Speed99 km/h (62 mph)
4.8 km/h on water
Steering
system
rack & pinnion non assisted

There were two versions of the Chaimite, the VBTP V-200 and the VBPM V-600. The VBTP (Viatura Blindada de Transporte de Pessoal, Armoured Personnel Transport Vehicle), had an 11-man capacity and was armed with one .50 Browning heavy machine-gun, while the VBPM, (Viatura Blindada Porta-morteiro, Armoured Mortar Carrier Vehicle), had only a 4-man capacity and was armed with one Browning .30 heavy machine-gun and one 81 mm mortar. These vehicles had diesel engines with 155 hp (115 kW) at 3300 rpm with automatic gear capable of taking on speeds to a maximum of 99 km/h (62 mph). The armour of this APC was capable of defeating rounds up to 7.62 mm NATO.

The Chaimite was gradually phased out of Portuguese Army service since 2008 and replaced by the Austrian Pandur II 8x8 APC,[2] though the last operational Chaimite armored cars were only retired in 2016.[3]

HistoryEdit

Designed in the mid 1960s for the Portuguese Army, in its original incarnation the Chaimite resembled a modified Cadillac Gage Commando, leading to speculation that Bravia had produced it under license from the United States.[1] A hearing held before the United States House of Representatives in 1977 verified that no such license had been granted, and that two former Cadillac Gage employees had been prosecuted for illegally transferring the technical knowledge for the Commando design to Bravia.[4]

The first prototype Chaimite appeared in 1966, and was designed primarily for direct fire support, with a large turret ring and braced chassis to carry a 90mm low-pressure cannon.[5] In 1968 or 1969 the prototype was sent to Portuguese Guinea for combat trials, where it performed well but was later destroyed by African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) insurgents with an RPG-2 or RPG-7.[5] The base Chaimite subsequently spawned several variants designed for internal security, anti-tank purposes, and medical evacuation.[6] By the time production ceased, over 600 had been manufactured for the Portuguese Army and export.[7]

VariantsEdit

  • V-200: armoured personnel carrier
  • V-200 Armada 60: special variant for the Portuguese Marines of the V-200 armed with a multiple 60 mm rocket launcher
  • V-300: light fire support with 7.62 NATO to 20 mm gun
  • V-400: heavy fire support with 90mm or 75mm low-pressure gun
  • V-500: communications and command vehicle
  • V-600: mortar carrier with 81 mm or 120 mm mortars
  • V-700: anti-tank with Swingfire or HOT missile launcher
  • V-800: ambulance
  • V-900: armoured recovery vehicle
  • V-1000: anti-riot with water cannon

Combat historyEdit

AfricaEdit

Libya placed an order of 60 V-200 Chaimite armored cars in June 1976, though only 13 or 16 were delivered. The Libyan government cancelled the order upon hearing that the Portuguese government had decided that same year to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, an act that enfuriated President Muammar Gaddafi who immediately severed the diplomatic and commercial ties with Portugal in protest, which left the remaining 25 vehicles still in production at the assembly line of the Bravia VM plant in Samora Correia.[8] The batch of V-200 Chaimite armored cars that was shipped to Libya prior to the break-up of diplomatic relations was assigned to the Presidential Guard,[8] with one of the vehicles being later sent to Lebanon; the other remaining vehicles were kept in service until the overthrow of the Gaddafi Regime in October 2011. Their present status is unknown, though some unconfirmed reports claim that they have been used in combat on the ongoing Libyan Civil War.

AsiaEdit

Twenty V-200 Chaimite armored cars were acquired in 1973 by the government of the Philippines for its Philippine Army units fighting the Muslim separatist guerrillas in Mindanao during the Moro conflict, but only 13 were actually delivered before the order was cancelled by the Philippine authorities.[9]

Middle EastEdit

Lebanon was the first Middle Eastern country to place a request in December 1972 of thirty V-200 Chaimite armored cars for its Internal Security Forces (ISF), though only twenty-one vehicles had been delivered by April 1975, when occurred the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), a conflict in which they saw considerable action.[10] During the Battle of the Hotels in October 1975, the ISF used their own V-200 armored cars alongside loaned M113 and Panhard M3 VTT armored personnel carriers (APCs) by the Lebanese Army in a successful operation to evacuate more than 200 people – including the staff and residents, most of them tourists – trapped in the Holiday Inn and adjoining hotels located at the Minet el-Hosn hotel district of downtown Beirut.

When the ISF collapsed in January 1976, the Christian Tigers Militia and Guardians of the Cedars (GoC) militia were able to seize an unspecified number of V-200 armored cars, which the GoC later employed against the Syrian Army at Houche el-Oumara during the Battle of Zahleh on April–June 1981.[11] The vehicles operated by the Tigers Militia were reportedly employed in the defense of the Christian-controlled east Beirut quarters during the Hundred Days' War in February–April 1978, but after the forcible disbandement of the militia on October 1980 they were eventually returned to ISF ownership.

The Lebanese ISF Command was so impressed by the performance in the field of its V-200 Chaimite armored cars – notably, the Lebanese crews praised the ability of their vehicles armored hull to withstand in an Urban combat environment small-arms fire, landmine blasts and even RPG-7 anti-tanks rounds[12] – that they requested further nine or 10 vehicles in 1980, which were delived by 1982. Later in August 1990, the Lebanese showed interest in acquiring an additional thirty V-200 armored cars along with 15 Bravia Commando MK III patrol cars for the ISF, but those plans were eventually scrapped upon the conclusion of the civil war in October that same year.[12]

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrilla factions operating in Lebanon received from Libya a single vehicle in 1981, which was later captured in the Beqaa Valley by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the 1982 Lebanon War.[13]

Latin AmericaEdit

Peru was the first foreign costumer of the Chaimite, purchasing in 1970 twenty V-200 armored cars for its Marine corps, which were delivered in 1971-1973.[14]

OperatorsEdit

 
Map of Bravia Chaimite operators in blue

Current operatorsEdit

Former operatorsEdit

Evaluation-only operatorsEdit

Popular cultureEdit

The Chaimite made some major film appearances, notably in the 1993 movie The House of Spirits, portraying Chilean Army APCs in action during the September 1973 military coup d'etat and in the 2002 movie The Dancer Upstairs, in the colours of an undisclosed Latin American Army. It was also featured in the 2000 film April Captains, set in during the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of April 1974.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Christopher F. Foss. Jane's World Armoured Fighting Vehicles (1976 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. pp. 290–293. ISBN 0-354-01022-0.
  2. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 80-95.
  3. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 152-156.
  4. ^ United States-South Africa Relations: Arms Embargo Implementation: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Africa of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, First Session, July 14 and 20, 1977 (Report) (First ed.). Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. July 1977. p. 63. Retrieved 28 June 2017. The assertion was made here last week that a Portuguese firm, Bravia, had produced V-150 personnel carriers under license...from Cadillac Gage of Detroit. This statement is false. The facts are that two former employees of Cadillac Gage stole technical data and conveyed it to the Portuguese firm. When this was discovered by the U.S. Government, the two former employees were prosecuted for illegally transferring the technology, and were convicted and sentenced.
  5. ^ a b Coutinho, Pereira (May–August 2012). "Exército Português Auto-Metralhadoras" (PDF). Revista da Cavalaria. 3 (27): 6–10. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 20, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 122–123. ISBN 978-0-00-472452-2.
  7. ^ Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Armour and Artillery (2002 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 482. ISBN 978-0710623096.
  8. ^ a b Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 41-55.
  9. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 36; 55.
  10. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), p. 41.
  11. ^ An ex-ISF V-200 Chaimite employed by the Guardians of the Cedars pictured at Houche el-Oumara during the Battle of Zahleh, April–June 1981.
  12. ^ a b Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), p. 42.
  13. ^ http://www.ecsbdefesa.com.br/fts/Chaimite
  14. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 33; 55.
  15. ^ a b c d "Trade Registers". Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  16. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), pp. 41-43.
  17. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), p. 36.

ReferencesEdit

  • Christopher F. Foss, Jane's Tank and Combat Vehicle Recognition Guide, HarperCollins Publishers, London 2002. ISBN 0-00-712759-6
  • Pedro Manuel Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais, Contra a Corrente, Lisboa 2018. ISBN 9789899901261 (Portuguese/English text)

External linksEdit