2 photos for a change
2 photos for a change
The V-200 Chaimite is an armoured personnel carrier (APC) built by the Portuguese company Bravia, based on the US made Cadillac Cage V-100 Commando. Following the refusal by the US government to provide armoured vehicles to the Portuguese Army in the sixties, Portugal began to develop its own APC in 1964 and delivered to the Portuguese Army in 1967. More than 600 of these APC were built.
The armoured steel hull of the Chaimite provides protection from small arms fire up to 7.62 mm NATO ammunition. In the basic version, this APC has an 11-man capacity, the crew consisting of 3 members. The driver sits towards the front of the vehicle with the second crew member, the commander, to his right. They are covered by a two-piece hatch that opens on the either side of the vehicle. Access is either by one of two doors (divided into two parts) positioned on each side of the vehicle or by one door on the rear.
The V-200 is equipped with a one-person designed turret built by Bravia : this turret has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. The armament depends on the variant: either two 7.62 mm machine guns, or two 5.56 mm machine guns or one 7.62 mm (0.30) and one .50 (12.7 mm) machine gun. This last option is the one used by the Lebanese Internal Security Forces.(ISF, Internal Security Forces, the Lebanese “gendarmerie”).
According the SIRPI (1), 30 V-200 Chaimite were delivered to Lebanon in 1973. Without clear photographic evidence, these vehicles were more probably delivered in the late 1970s or in 1980 (2). Obviously, at those dates, it was becoming urgent for the ISF to replace the armoured vehicles lost during the first battles of the war, as the Staghound armoured cars were captured and used in substantial numbers by the various militias. The Lebanese Chaimite served with the Force 16, the emergency unit of the ISF and was painted in a light bluish gray colour. They have been seen in action several times during the war, sometimes filmed by the press cameras of the world, like during the escort of the Lebanese Forces militia fighters leaving Zahle besieged by the Syrians in 1981.
More recently, as part of a security and assistance program launched in 2006 (3), 21 Chaimite have been refurbished by the United States. Originally powered by a petrol engine, these APCs were refitted with Mercedes diesels engine (4). The Lebanese V-200 are now operating within the special unit of the I.S.F., the Leopards (Al-Fohood) and the Rapid Intervention Regiment. They have been seen during the raids in Tripoli in May 2007, against buildings housing some militants of the Islamist group Fatah al-Islam.
(4) Assaut number 43 : Alexandre Leblond, les forces spéciales libanaises, août 2009
Author: Mathieu Morant
Chaimite during the Lebanese Civil War:
Chaimite in use with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces:
In the beginning of the seventies the U.S. military became interested in commercial vehicles for certain roles. This sudden interest for such vehicles was related to economics more than a certain reliance on strict tactical design. The concept of the CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle) was born although the first series of vehicle weren’t yet known under that denomination. The M880 series which appeared in 1973, was aimed to replace the M715 Kaiser-Jeep. The Chevrolet CUCV family of vehicles replaced in turn the Dodge M880 series beginning from 1984. The militarization of the Chevrolets was a bit more extensive than it had been with the earlier Dodges. Modifications included the addition of a brush guard and towing shackles on the front bumper and a dual 12-and 28-volt 100-amp charging system. The power plant was GM’s 6.2-liter diesel coupled to a TurboHydramatic transmission. Most models used the Process NP208 Process two-speed chain-driven transfer case. All models were equipped with non-slip rear differentials.
The Lebanese Army was supplied with CUCVs throughout the nineties. A wide range of M880 series and CUCVs can be found in Lebanon even the rarest variants. The M880 and M1008 are usually used for patrolling while the M1009 is used as officers vehicle. The non-exhaustive list of such vehicles in Lebanese Army use can be resumed as follow:
According to an article published in the Lebanese newspaper L’Orient-Le-Jour a couple of days ago, the Lebanese Civil Defense may disappear within 4 years. Lack of funds is threatening its existence, claims its director.
The men of the Lebanese Civil Defense have been on alert since last June to cope with forest fires that destroyed 800 hectares since the month of May. Yet last week, more than 40 acres went up in smoke after eleven fires in North Lebanon, Mount Lebanon and in the South, according to a military statement. But does the civil defense have the necessary means to fight against this scourge? General Darwish Hobeika says that the institution sees its equipment deteriorating with 20 per cent of its vehicle being unusable and in the same time having growing difficulty to collect the 10,000 dollars a year for vehicles maintenance. No tires has been bought for a decade. General Hobeika talks also about a deficit of 120 ambulances and the most recent one in service is ten years old. the consequences are not only material. “My men are old,” said General Hobeika. Without the young volunteers, we could not do anything. The average age of professional firefighters is about 50 years, while the 4,000 volunteers’ average age is twenty years. The lack of funds affecting the institution will lead to a huge problem when the aging employees will get retired.
The only source of satisfaction comes from abroad, more specifically from France. This country, along with the United Nations has trained since 2007 many members of the Civil Defence to rescue techniques and earthquakes clearing. “Almost 200 of my men are now specialized in the rescue and intervention in forest fires; and themselves can conduct training in clubs, schools, universities or hospitals, welcomes M . Hobeika. During this program funded by the French government, the Civil Defense had also received donations of equipment for rescue and clearing for a value of nearly 300,000 dollars. But what the institution needs today is a long-term support, which by definition can only come from the Lebanese state. Otherwise, warned the General who is retiring next year, “at the rate things are going, there will be no Civil Defense in four years.”