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Portuguese Chaimite V200 during Exercise Iberian Resolve, 2002.
|Type||Light Armoured Vehicle|
|Place of origin||Portugal|
|Used by||See Operators|
|Wars||Portuguese Colonial War
Lebanese Civil War
Libyan Civil War
|No. built||over 600|
|Weight||6.800 to 8500 kg|
|Armor||up to 7.62 mm|
|depend of variant|
|depend of variant|
155 hp (115 kW) at 3300 rpm
|Payload capacity||804 kg|
|Speed||99 km/h (62 mph)
4.8 km/h on water
|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.
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 90mm 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.
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.
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.