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VTP-1 Orca

Prototype armored personnel carrier

VTP-1 Orca

The VTP-1 Orca was the largest and heaviest wheeled APC developed up to its time

Entered service ?
Crew 2 men
Personnel 16 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 18 t
Length 7.84 m
Width 2.5 m
Height 2.5 m
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm (~ 600 rounds)
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V53T diesel
Engine power 275 hp
Maximum road speed 120 km/h
Range 1 200 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench 0.6 ~ 1 m
Fording ~ 1.5 m


   The Orca has the distinction of having the highest passenger capacity of any modern APC, and it is among the largest and heaviest ever built. It was developed with the intent of providing the Chilean Army with a high-mobility universal carrier that could rapidly transport large amounts of men, weaponry, and equipment over great distances.

   Development of the VTP-1 Orca began in the early 1980s, and the project formally announced in 1983. Concept art of the Orca displayed earlier in 1982 proved different from the actual layout of the vehicle. It was developed in parallel with the BMS-1 Alacran Halftrack, utilizing a large number of mechanical and structural components, and thus bears a close visual resemblance.

   It is unknown if the Orca ever saw service, but it is understood that the Chilean Army ordered 100 in 1985, and that an additional, smaller order was placed by the Chilean Marine Corps. It is no longer available for production.

   The APC variant is equipped with a skate mount for a 7.62mm MAG, a 12.7mm M2HB, or a Mk.19 AGL grenade launcher on the commander's cupola. The hull is also outfitted to support a heavier weapon mount (such as an autocannon turret), though this would likely preclude the use of a cupola-mounted weapon. There are 2 firing ports with vision blocks on each side, and the rear door.

   Vehicle armor is high-hardness steel, varying in thickness from 6 mm to 16 mm, which provides sufficient protection against explosion overpressure, shall splinters, and 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds. It is unknown if spall liners, an NBC protection system, or a fire suppression system are fitted.

   The crew sits slightly forward of the center, as the rear passenger spanning more than half the length of the vehicle. The driver is on the left, and the vehicle commander on the right, while the passengers sit lined-up side-to-side against the fighting compartment walls on bleachers. There are two rectangular 1-man troop hatches at the middle of the vehicle, which are set at the edges of the roof, and are hinged on the outside. The single rear door is hinged on one side, and opens horizontally. The VTP-1 Orca to this day has a larger passenger capacity than any production wheeled armored personnel carrier.

   As with most AFVs manufactured by developing countries, the Orca's electronics are very spare. A radio is standard equipment, and a starlight periscope for the driver is optional, but no other significant electronics are known to have been offered.

   The VTP-1 Orca's propulsion is a Detroit Diesel 6V53T Diesel V6 with 275 hp, coupled with an Allison MT653DR automatic transmission with 5 forward gears and 1 reverse gear. It has a top speed of 120 km/h, and a maximum road range of 1 200 km. 400 liters of diesel fuel are carried internally. The suspension is reportedly taken from a commercial truck, but no further details are available. This armored personnel carrier is not amphibious.




   Proposed variants of the VTP-1 Orca include a prime mover for towed artillery, a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with 20-mm or 30-mm autocannons, a tank destroyer with an ATGM launcher (possibly the Hammerhead TOW launcher), a 120-mm mortar carrier, a self-propelled radar vehicle, a self-propelled communication relay vehicle, an armored ambulance, a mobile field hospital, and a mobile workshop;

   BMS-1 Alacran; this Chilean halftrack vehicle is similar to the Orca, having been developed in parallel using common components.



   Article by BLACKTAIL

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VTP-1 Orca

VTP-1 Orca

VTP-1 Orca

VTP-1 Orca

VTP-1 Orca

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