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BMS-1 Alacran

Prototype armored personnel carrier

BMS-1 Alacran

The Chilean BMS-1 Alacran demonstrated superior mobility to all other halftrack models

 
 
Entered service -
Crew 2 men
Personnel 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 10.5 t
Length 6.37 m
Width 2.36 m
Height 2.3 m
Armament
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm (~ 600 rounds)
Mobility
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel
Engine power 275 hp
Maximum road speed 80 km/h
Range 900 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench 0.6 ~ 1 m
Fording 1.6 m

 

   The BMS-1 Alacrán (Spanish: Scorpion) was developed in the early 1980s as a private venture by Cardoen Industries, based upon experience gained in its modernization of Chile's M3A1 halftracks in the mid-1970s. The objective was to develop a modern Halftrack Universal Carrier for sale throughout the developing world, as a possible follow-on to World War 2-era designs in service.

   Ultimately the Alacran was not a success; while its mobility was demonstrated to be superior to all other halftrack models, the Chilean Army deemed it to be poor in comparison to contemporary wheeled and full-track vehicles, and the offer was turned down. The Alacran ultimately proved a failure on the export market as well, as the armed forces of every potential customer either came to the same conclusion as the Chilean Army, deemed it too expensive, or both.

   By 1992, the BMS-1 Alacran project was effectively in limbo, but Cardoen had much bigger problems on its hands. Sales of some $200 Million of cluster bombs (along with an illegal sale of Zirconium) to Iraq landed Cardoen Industries in hot water, and significantly damaged the company's reputation. Between a lack of sales and legal troubles, the Alacran is effectively no longer available for purchase.

   The BMS-1 Alacran has a distinctive appearance. It has a chisel-shaped glacis plate that has a steep underside and a shallowly-sloped topside. Its roof is long, flat, and largely featureless. The rear end is flat, and slopes inward slightly. The upper sides of the hull slope inward, with a trapezoid-shaped wheel well forward on either side, and a very large, long well for the track, spanning almost half the length of the vehicle. The driver's windscreen is a small, ballistic glass panel situated on the middle-left of the frontal slope, that apparently opens and is hinged at its base.

   Protection is afforded by high-hardness steel armor, proofed against blast overpressure, 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds, and shell splinters on all sides, and 12.7-mm ball rounds over the frontal arc. Photographs of the interior suggest that spall liners are not a standard feature, and it is unclear if an NBC system or fire suppression are available for the Alacran.

   The weaponry varies widely from one variant to another, with the APC typically carrying a Browning M2HB 12.7-mm machine gun. Other weapons may be mounted to the standard commander's cupola, including 7.62-mm machine guns, 40-mm grenade launchers, and recoilless rifles.

   The interior is spacious, with individual seat pads for 10 passengers, along with the vehicle commander and driver stations, and stowage bins are inside the lower sponsons. There are 4 firing ports and 4 vision blocks on either side of the vehicle, as well as 2 firing ports and 2 vision blocks. Pioneer tools are typically stowed externally, in the forward-left side of the vehicle. There are two rectangular troop hatches on the roof, and the rear door is apparently hinged on its sides.

   The BMS-1 Alacran's electronics are very spare, but include a radio and a driver's starlight periscope.

   Propulsion is provided by a Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel V6 with 275 hp at 2800 rpm, coupled to an Allison MT-653 automatic transmission with 5 forward gears and 1 reverse gear. It is worth noting that this is the same engine used in the M113A3 APC. A Cummins V-555 diesel with 230 hp at 3000 rpm was also offered. 350 l of fuel are carried internally.

   The running gear of the Alacran is unique, having a pair of wheels with a hydraulic coil-spring suspension forward, and the complete track assembly of the M3A1 halftrack to the rear. The track assembly is a throwback to an earlier era, with a vertical volute spring suspension that has 4 bogies, a single upper bogie return roller, a front idler, and a rear drive sprocket. The tracks appear to be the same model used on the M3A1 halftrack as well.

   The vehicle is 6.37 m long, 2.36 m wide, 2.3 m tall, and weighs 10.5 tonnes at combat weight, and its footprint gives it 0.71 kg/cm2 of ground pressure. It can tackle a 60% gradient, a 40% side slope, and ford a 1.6 m deep water obstacle. Data on the BMS-1 Alacran's ground clearance, vertical obstacle, and trench are unavailable.

   The unit cost of the BMS-1 Alacran is unknown.

   Known versions of the Alacran include a C3I vehicle, a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, a fire support vehicle with a large-bore gun, an ambulance, an multiple launch rocket system with a 70-mm LAU-97 rocket launcher, an ATGM carrier, and a 120-mm mortar carrier. Other variants have been proposed, but not constructed.

 

Variants

 

   VTP-1 Orca; an all-wheeled version of the BMS-1 Alacran, in a 6x6 configuration;

   Unknown Iranian halftrack; in 1996, a new type of halftrack has been photographed on trials in Iran. It is uncannily similar to the Alacran, but surprisingly is amphibious. It has different wheels, tracks, firing ports, and a pump jet outlet similar to that on the BTR-60, but its hull architecture is too similar to the BMS-1 Alacran to be a coincidence.

 

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BMS-1 Alacran

BMS-1 Alacran

BMS-1 Alacran

BMS-1 Alacran

BMS-1 Alacran

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