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Bravia Chaimite - Бронеавтомобиль (Португалия)

Bravia Chaimite

Bravia Chaimite
Type - Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin - Portugal
Service history
In service - 1967-present
Wars - Portuguese Colonial War / Carnation Revolution / Lebanese Civil War / 1982 Lebanon War / Moro Conflict / Internal Conflict in Peru / 2006 Lebanon War / 2007 Lebanon Conflict / 2008 Conflict in Lebanon / Libyan Civil War (2011-present)
Production history
Manufacturer - Bravia
No. built - over 170
Mass - 6.800 to 8500 kg
Length - 5.6 m
Width - 2.26 m
Height - 2.39 m
Crew - 1+10
Armor - up to 7.62 mm
Main armament - depend of variant
Secondary armament - depend of variant
Engine - diesel engine . 155 hp (115 kW) at 3300 rpm
Payload capacity - 804 kg
Transmission - automatic gearbox
Operational range - 804 km
Maximum speed - 99 km/h (62 mph) / 4.8 km/h on water
Steering system - rack & pinnion non assisted

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.
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, though the last operational Chaimite armored cars were only retired in 2016.
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. 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.
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 90 mm low-pressure cannon. 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. The base Chaimite subsequently spawned several variants designed for internal security, anti-tank purposes, and medical evacuation. By the time production ceased, over 600 had been manufactured for the Portuguese Army and export.

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 90 mm or 75 mm 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 history

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 infuriated 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. 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, 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.
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.
Middle East
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. 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. 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 disbandment of the militia in 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 - that they requested further nine or 10 vehicles in 1980, which were delivered 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.
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.
Latin America
Peru was the first foreign customer of the Chaimite, purchasing in 1970 twenty V-200 armored cars for its Marine corps, which were delivered in 1971-1973.


Current operators
 Lebanon: 30.
 Libya: 16.
 Peru: 20.
 Philippines: 20.

Former operators
Guardians of the Cedars - some captured from the Internal Security Forces in 1976.
 Tigers Militia - some captured from the Internal Security Forces in 1976 and returned in 1980.
 Palestine: Palestine Liberation Organization - 1 supplied by Libya in 1981.
 Portugal - 84 units were operated by the Portuguese Army and 4 operated by the Portuguese Marine Corps; replaced in 2009 by 188 Pandur II.

Evaluation-only operators
 Malaysia: one V-400 prototype tested in July 1973.

In Popular culture
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.

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