January 19, 2010, the French procurement agency (Direction
Générale de l’Armement - DGA) supplied
the French Army with its first four ARAVIS® multipurpose
heavily protected armored vehicles. In April 2009, the
DGA ordered a total of 15 ARAVIS® vehicles from
NEXTER Systems under a contract worth nearly €20
million, of which €15 million was funded from the
national economic recovery plan. The defense element
of the economic recovery plan totaled €2.4 billion
in 2009, and had the effect of increasing funds earmarked
for equipment by 10%.
This acquisition provides the French Army with a heavily
protected armored vehicle for use in reconnaissance
missions in areas where roadside explosive devices are
likely. ARAVIS® vehicles will be used to equip the
engineering units that use the BUFFALO and SOUVIM mine-clearing
systems used to disarm improvised explosive devices
(IEDs) in Afghanistan.
The ARAVIS® is a 4-wheel drive 12.5 metric ton air-transportable
vehicle fitted with a very high level of protection
against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
It can carry up to 7 engineering unit personnel. Likely
to be called upon to return fire in non-secure areas,
it carries a remotely-operated turret armed with a 12.7
mm machine gun of the type used on the VAB TOP vehicles
deployed in Afghanistan since the start of 2009. For
reconnaissance missions, the turret-mounted cameras
of the ARAVIS® are supported by 7 peripheral cameras
that provide total coverage of the area immediately
around the vehicle.