Monday, December 22, 2008

Chaimite: Second article published

Following a first part published in the December issue, the Portuguese magazine Motor Clássico has published on its Jannuary issue, the second part of a work covering the history of the portuguese-built Chaimite armoured vehicle.

Among the topics covered are the operational deployment of the Chaimite fleet in the Colonial War during the 1970s and the peacekeeping operations of the 1990s, details from foreign users , the Portuguese Marines fleet inclunding the history of the Armada 90 vehicle as well as other unknown aspects and curiosities such as the current status of the Portuguese and foreign vehicles or the destiny of the vehicles and prototypes.
These two articles are the result of several months of field research which has included interviews, research on archives, military units and press as part of the Chaimite Research Project. Main references and sources are indicated in the second part.

Pedro Monteiro

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chaimite: First article published

The Portuguese magazine Motor Clássico has published on its December issue, the first part of the history of the portuguese-built Chaimite armoured vehicle which has been in operation with both Portuguese and foreign military and security forces since the 1970s.

This first article comprises topics such as the context which surround the development of the project, the first years of production, other projects developed by the Bravia-VM (e.g., the Leopardo truck and the Comando Mk III security vehicle) as well as a technical description of the Chaimite. Other topics will have further development in the second part of this work.
The article is the result of several months of field research which has included interviews, research on archives, military units and press as part of the Chaimite Research Project.

Pedro Monteiro

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pandur II ICV: Walkaround

A walkaround of the basic variant of the Pandur II armoured vehicle, the ICV (Infantry Carrier Vehicle). This combat variant is armed with a 12,7mm caliber machine gun. Other versions, such as the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) armed with a Steyr SP 30 turret with a 30mm canon, are part of the Portuguese purchase.
Com a encomenda do Exército português estão a ser construídas um total de 260 viaturas blindadas do tipo Pandur II 8x8. A Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH (Steyr-SSF), que desde 2003 pertence ao grupo norte-americano General Dynamics, conseguiu mais um grande projecto na sua história. Não foi apenas o melhor preço o que convenceu os militares portugueses: as características do veículo, tais como a tecnologia avançada, a alta mobilidade, a protecção da equipa no interior, assim como a sua flexibilidade, foram determinantes. Em resposta às várias tarefas que o Exército prevê para os seus Pandures foram desenvolvidas várias versões personalizadas, em primeiro lugar para o transporte de tropas e missões de reconhecimento e de apoio. [Steyr's Press Release, 29.05.2008]
The 240 vehicle fleet will be operated by the Brigada de Intervenção, the medium brigade of the Portuguese Army.

Front view of the Pandur II ICV. Two vehicles were presented to the public at Coimbra in June 2008 during the commemorations of the anniversary of the Brigada de Intervenção. [click to enlarge].

Rear view of the Pandur II ICV. Two vehicles were presented to the public at Coimbra in June 2008 during the commemorations of the anniversary of the Brigada de Intervenção. Notice the Browning H2B machine gun. [click to enlarge].

Top view of the vehicle. The engine compartment is placed at the right side of the driver [click to enlarge].

Troop compartment of the Pandur II ICV which can carry up to eight troops [click to enlarge].

Another detail of the Portuguese-built vehicle [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Portuguese Army boosts its fire power with new weapon systems

The reception of the first batch of Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks purchased in 2007 has boost the fire power, mobility and operationally of the heavy brigade of the Portuguese Army, the Brigada Mecanizada (Mechanized Brigade). The Brazilian defence website Defesa Net has published an article which compares the new Leopard 2A6 with the old M60 A3 TTS:

On the other hand, Steyr has been testing a prototype of a Mobile Gun System (MGS) version of the Pandur II which could be purchased by Lisbon for the Brigada de Intervenção, the Army medium brigade:

Pedro Monteiro

Friday, October 3, 2008

Felino 08

Every year, the members of the CPLP (Portuguese-speaking countries comunity) realize a joint military exercise know as Felino. This year edition tooked place at the military zone of S. Jacinto, near the city of Aveiro, and at the air base of Ovar.

Pedro Monteiro

Sunday, August 17, 2008

EHM: Sailing across the skies

The August issue of the Portuguese magazine "Vega" (you can check their website here) brings a report about the Esquadrilha de Helicópteros da Marinha (EHM, Navy Helicopter Squadron) as part of my collaboration with such publication.

Such work includes images from the Instrex 08 military exercise as well as several details about the future of the squad. Besides, the articles from the magazine include a full English version.

Pedro Monteiro

Pristina 082: Portugal prepares a new peacekeeping mission in Kosovo

In 2007, the Pristina 072 (see report here) was the final exercise of the portuguese force before being deployed in Kosovo.
One year later, the Agrupamento Mike from the Brigada de Intervenção (Intervention Brigade, the medium brigade of the Portuguese Army) was involved on the Pristina 082 which took place in Cabeceiras de Bastos, during the last week of July. The exercise tested the performance of the Portuguese troops on a peacekeeping mission, since they will be part of the KFOR Tactical Reserve Manoueuvre Batalion. The unit of 290 men will replace the Portuguese force deployed in Kosovo in September.

A full report in Portuguese was published, last week, by the Brazilian defence website Defesa Net:

Pedro Monteiro

Cassiopeia: Protecting the law on the waters

The NRP Cassiopeia is a fast patrol craft from the Argos class which entered in service in 1991. Its primary mission is fishing surveillance aimed at combating illegal fishing in the Portuguese coast.

Last July, I have embarked on this vessel as part of a report.

Pedro Monteiro

Friday, July 11, 2008

Portuguese Army in analysis

The last edition of the Portuguese magazine Segurança & Defesa (check the website) brings an analysis of the changes that have been occurring in the Portuguese Army. The main focus is the new organic structure of the military branch.

Such work presents and updates some of the data of my previous work for Fuerzas Militares del Mundo - published in November and December of 2007.

Pedro Monteiro

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Coimbra Airshow 2008

Here are some photographs that I have taken during the weekend on another edition of the Coimbra Airshow (report of the 2007 edition)

Despite the reduced presence of the Portuguese Air Force due to participation of its acrobatic teams in the Air Force Day (Azores) and Royal International Air Tatoo (United Kingdom), the airshow had the presence of several civilian aircraft, such as the Smoke Wings acrobatic Team or the aircrafts from the Aerofénix.

A classical and impressive Boeing-Stearman N62TS from the Aerofénix museum [click to enlarge].

The take-off of another aircraft from museum: in this case, one Havilland CT-120 Chipmunk [click to enlarge].

One of the few military aicraft present was this Dornier Do-27 of the Air Force museum [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

Air spotting in Monte Real

Last week I have made a spotting session in the air base of Monte Real, where the Portuguese F-16 fleet is based. In the photos is possible to identify both F-16 OCU from the 201 Sqn. "Falcões" and F-16 MLU from the 301 Sqn. "Jaguares".

This spotting session follows a report, made in last March, about the F-16 fleet along with my Juan Carlos Pando (you can check his website here)

One of the most modern fighters from the fleet is this F-16BM in the M5 configuration. The aircraft belongs to the 301 Sqn. "Jaguares" which operates all the MLU fleet [click to enlarge].

The end of an afternoon mission for a F-16BM from the 301 Sqn. "Jaguares" [click to enlarge].

A low pass of a F-16A OCU from the 201 Sqn. "Falcões" with a low-viz scheme [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

CTOE: Portuguese Special Operations

The second part of an article about the Centro de Tropas de Operações Especiais (CTOE, Center of Special Operations Troops) has been published in the June issue of Fuerzas Militares del Mundo (

MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTED IN: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and USA.

Pedro Monteiro

Monday, June 2, 2008

Merlin flight

The 2006 edition of the Portuguese Armed Forces annual military exercise, Lusíada 06, was the perfect opportunity for testing the new abilities that the AgustaWestland EH-101 Merlin fleet brought to the Força Aérea Portuguesa (FAP, Portuguese Air Force).

From 6 to 15 November, the FAP detached to Ovar reserve base a force comprising F-16 fighter, C-212 and C-130 transport and P-3 patrol aircraft, as well as Alouette III and EH101 helicopters. The helicopters were used in transport and support missions, a role that used to be played by the SA-330 Puma. The Merlin fleet, whose operation began on February 2006, belongs to 751 Sqn. that will keep detachments in Madeira and, from this year on, also in Azores.

Thanks to the Air Force it was possible an excellent air-to-air photography session. This report was made for Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

A Portuguese EH101 Merlin flying towards São Jacinto.

A Portuguese EH101 Merlin landing in São Jacinto, the second location where Lusíada took place.

Pedro Monteiro

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dragão 08: Portuguese and Spanish troops train crisis response

The Dragão 08 is the main military exercise of the Brigada de Intervenção (Intervention Brigade, the medium brigade of the Portuguese Army). The last edition has included the participation of Spanish troops from the BRILAT as part of the Sagitário 08 - which took place along with the Dragão 08.

In short, the Dragão 08 has comprised to phases: the first one, in April, was basicly a command post exercise (CPX, check the article in Defesa Net); the second one, was a field training exercise (FTX). The FTX has involved 1.135 men and 160 tactical vehicles, inclunding 27 armoured vehicles (12 V-150 with a 90mm gun; 13 Chaimite V-200 personnel carriers; 2 Chaimite V-600 armed with a 81mm mortar). The field manoeuvres took place in the mountainous region of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, north of Portugal.

The Dragão 08 has allowed to the Brigada de Intervenção the trainning of a crisis response response, as well as joint operations with foreing troops.

In the last ten years, the brigade mobilized more than 4.000 men and 11 units in several peacekeeping missions. This was the case of the missions in Bósnia, Kosovo and East Timor. Currently, it has an unit of military engineers deployed in Liban and is preparing a combat unit for a mission in Kosovo.

A V-150 armoured vehicle, armed with a 90mm gun, during field manoeuvres. The Brigada de Intervenção also operates the Chaimite armoured vehicle in both troop carrier (V-200) and mortar carrier (V-600) variants [click to enlarge].

An image of the stressful and demanding command post exercise which simulated the defence against a conventional threat [click to enlarge].

A Spanish soldier from the BRILAT. Around 100 Spanish troops (infantry) have been involved with the second phase of the Dragão 08 [click to enlarge].

Reports published in the Brazilian website Defesa Net:

Pedro Monteiro

Helicopters over Beja

Anually, the 552 Squadron "Zangões" organizes a meeting which brings to Beja, south of Portugal, different generations of helicopter pilots. This year, the meeting has happened in May 17th.
As usually, pilots and members from other Portuguese helicopter units were invited to the event. This is the case of the 751 Sqn. (EH-101 Merlin) and the EHM (Super Lynx, Navy). In addition, aviation enthusiasts and plane spotters were invited to be present.

The 552 Sqn. operates the Alouette III fleet. In service with the Portuguese Air Force since 1963, the Alouette III has already reached the impressive mark of 300.000 flying hours. Besides, tis amazing machine is used by the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal).

One Alouette III seconds before the end of another flight. The 552 Sqn. is one of the most active squadrons in the Air Force. For several reasons. First, because all the military pilots destined to the helicopters – including those from the Army and the Navy – make their training with the "Zangões". Secondly, because the squadron is involved in several missions, such as joint exercises with the Army [click to enlarge].

These three helicopters belong to the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal). They have returned to the airshows in 2005 and now has three Alouette III with their own paint scheme [click to enlarge].

One SA-330 Puma was present in the exposition. The Puma was replaced by the new EH-101 Merlin in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

CTOE: Portuguese Special Operations

The first part of an article about the Centro de Tropas de Operações Especiais (CTOE, Center of Special Operations Troops) had been published in the May issue of Fuerzas Militares del Mundo (

This article is the result of a previous visit to the unit, located in Lamego, north of Portgal. The CTOE, created in 1960, is now part of the Brigada de Reacção Rápida (Quick Reaction Brigade).

MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTED IN: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and USA.

Pedro Monteiro

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rotores de Portugal

The 552 Squadron "Zangões" flies the Portuguese Alouette III fleet, an helicopter which is in service since 1963. Though it is a veteran, this machine has now a new role as part of the acrobatic team Rotores de Portugal (Blades of Portugal). They have already an official website online with fresh news and excellent photos.

This image shows their leaflet for the year of 2008 which is ilustred with photos by Ricardo Nunes, André Carvalho and by myself and designed by Miguel Amaral, one of the members of the Templar Squadron Ilustred Profiles.

Pedro Monteiro

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chaimite Project: The exotic Armada 90

During the 1970s, the Portuguese Marines received a batch of four Chaimite V-200 armoured vehicles - which were produced by Bravia-VM in Samora Correia. One of these vehicles was known as Armada 90 because it was armed with a special system with eight rocket tubes of 88,9mm. Actually, such system was developed by portuguese military and engineers. Besides that, the turret could be armed with one Browning 12,7mm and one MG42 7,62mm machine guns. Currently, this vehicle is conserved in Alfeite.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Marines who have received me during my visit as part of the research project about the Chaimite and the Bravia-VM which I am doing.

Pedro Monteiro

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

El Tirador Solitario

For those who are searching for news about defence one of the best sources is the spanish blog El Tirador Solitario (check the blog here). The blog, updated by Pedro Lucio several times a week, always brings great photos and brief news with further sources and links for reference.

A M60 A3 TTS tank from the Portuguese Army photographed during the last Army Day in Leiria.

I would like to thanks the kind reference that Pedro Lucio has made to me in a great post with photographs from our troops depliyed in Afghanistan.

Pedro Monteiro


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blade runners over the sea

The Esquadrilha de Helicópteros da Marinha (EHM, Navy Helicopter Squadron), created in 1993, operates the Super Lynx fleet of the Portuguese Navy. These helicopters are used with the Vasco da Gama class frigates (Meko 200PN type). Although it is a young unit, the EHM has already in her curriculum vitae real operations, like the Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) in Guinea-Bissau in 1998.

I have flew with them in last February as part of a report for the portuguese magazine "Vega" (you can check their website here).

Pedro Monteiro

The portuguese F-16 fleet

Monte Real is the home of the portuguese F-16 fleet. The F-16 OCU fleet, received in 1994, is operated by the 201 Squadron "Falcões". The other unit is the 301 Squadron "Jaguares", which operates the modern F-16 MLU fleet.
Both units are often present in national and international military exercises. More recently, they took part in the NATO Air Defense Mission "Baltics Air Policing 07 (November-December 2007) 3000 kilometers away from Monte Real. There, they have assured the vigilance, control and reaction to a potential hostile act to the sovereignty of the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), inclunding with aicrafts in Quick Reaction Alert (QRA).

A helmet of a special very special "pilot" of the Portuguese Air Force. In fact, this helmet was offered to the President of the Republic during his visit to Monte Real [click to enlarge].

A F-16B OCU from the 201 Sqn. ready for another mission with the RNLAF fighters [click to enlarge].

The impressive take-off of a RNLAF F-16MLU fighter with full after-burner. During our visit, the RNLAF squadrons 322 and 323 were at Monte Real training with the portuguese Vipers [click to enlarge].

I have visited the two squadrons with Juan Carlos Pando (you can check his website here) last February as part of an article for the magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

Pedro Monteiro

EH-101 Merlin

A new photo which I have taken during my visit to the 751 Sqn., last November (please, check the previous report).

Pedro Monteiro

Chaimite Project: A visit to Escola Prática de Cavalaria

On the first week of February, I have visited the Escola Prática de Cavalaria (EPC, Practical School of Cavalry) as part of the research which I am doing about the Chaimite and the Bravia-VM (please, check my last post). More recently, as part of the new organization of the Portuguese Army, the EPC has been moved from Santarém to Abrantes, where it was located a former infantry regiment.

Besides, this was a good opportunity to photograph some of the armoured vehicles which have served in the portuguese Cavalry (and that are preserved in Abrantes), as well as the present armoured fleet. In fact, the EPC has already in service the new Pandur II 8x8 armoured vehicle.

One of the new Pandur II 8x8 received by the EPC in the right side of the photo. In the left side, we can see a Chaimite V-600 4x4 armoured vehicle [click to enlarge].

The french-built Panhard AML was a light armoured vehicle used in the Colonial War (1961-1974) in missions such as scort and reconnaissance. Some of the vehicles were upgraded in the 1980s with a new engine and systems and, finally, redraw from service in 2001-2002 [click to enlarge].

An impressive M48 A5 Patton main battle tank in the main gate of the EPC. It was used by the 1ª Brigada Mista Independente, now known as Brigada Mecanizada (mechanized infantary). They were replaced by the M60 A3 TTS [click to enlarge].

Though Portugal does not use horse cavalry any longer, the Portuguese Army still has the tradition of learning how to ride a horse [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rodas de Viriato

The portuguese blog Rodas de Viriato has been publishing several material about the vehicles - civilian projects and military too - produced and designed by portuguese companies.

A Chaimite V-200 in the military exercise Pristina 072, in July 2007. Notice the one-man turret designed by Bravia.

That is, actually, the case of the Chaimite V-200, an armoured vehicle which was produced by Bravia-VM in Samora Correia. I would like to invite all the visitors to contribute for a research project about the Chaimite and the Bravia-VM which I am doing.

Pedro Monteiro

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Comandos are an elite force, specialized in assault operations, with an old tradition in the Portuguese Army. They were created during the Colonial War, in the 1960s.
Currently, there are two operational companies and a third one is expected to be created when the unit is moved to their new base. The Comandos are part of the Brigada de Reacção Rápida (BRR, the Army light brigade).

For those who are interest in know more about the unit, the former comando Mário Relvas has an interesting blog about them.

Pedro Monteiro

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Honorary mention

The Jornal do Exército, the official publication of the Portuguese Army, usually organizes a photo contest every year. One of my photos has received a honorary mention, the only award that the jury decided to give in this edition.

The photo shows a M60 A3 TTS main battle tank from the Brigada Mecanizada covered by a dust cloud seconds after firing its 105mm gun. Such photo was taken during the 2007 edition of the military exercise Rosa Brava. It was titled Treinar a guerra em paz or Trainning war at peace.

Pedro Monteiro

Portugal receives the first Pandur II armoured vehicles

On January 31st, the Minister of Defence attended the official ceremony which marked the delivery of the first nine Pandur II armoured vehicles to the Portuguese Army. They are part of an impressive total of 240 vehicles which the Army will receive until 2010. According to some military sources, these new vehicles could be detached in peacekeaping operations after the second semester of 2008. Some images, from the portuguese news agency LUSA, were published by the spanish blog El Tirador Solitario, a good source for international defence news.

In the image, a Bravia Chaimite V-200, the portuguese-built armoured vehicle which, presently, is used by the Army in foreign missions. The vehicle, shown in the photo along with a french-built Panhard VBL, was used in the military exercise Pristina 072 in the region of Vouzela. In the Military Zone web site, you can check some technical information about the Chaimite (portuguese text only).

Pedro Monteiro

New main battle tanks for the Portuguese Army

Recently, an agreement was signed between the portuguese and dutch authorities for the supply of 35 Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tanks along with 2 vehicles in the Driver Training Tank. The first 8 combat vehicles will be received in the end of 2008, and the other 29 in the following year.

In the Portuguese Army, they will be used by the Brigada Mecanizada, which currently operates the M60 A3 TTS tank, as already reported here.

Pedro Monteiro

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A brief pause

During the next few weeks, I will not have the opportunity of post here - in any case, some articles are already scheduled.
Until then, here you have a picture of one of the Pandur II wheeled armoure vehicle which the Portuguese Army will receive in the beginning of this year. It is an Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) version that it is armed with a 12,7mm caliber machine gun. The photograph was published as part of the article about the Portuguese Army, in the magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo (December, 2007).

Pedro Monteiro