Wheeled armored vehicle - France
The VAB ("Véhicule de l'Avant blindé" in French) is a wheeled armored personnel carrier and support vehicle designed and manufactured by the French Defence Company ARQUUS formerly Renault Trucks Defense. Since 1976, more than 5,000 VABs have been produced in 30 different versions. The basic standard model is the 4x4 VAB VTT armored personnel carrier, which carries an infantry team of 8 - 10 fully-equipped soldiers in the relatively spacious armored hull.
VAB ARQUUS main variants:
- VAB VTT: 4x4 APC version with a crew of two and ten passengers
- VAB T-20/13: VAB equipped with a turret mounted 20 mm gun recovered from old AMX-13 VCIs and refurbished and intended for fire support and for counter sniping
- VIB: IFV version fitted with the Toucan system, a teleoperated turret fitted with a 20 mm cannon, and an AA52 7.62 mm machine gun. Used by the French Air Force for airfield defense.
- VAB VOA: Artillery observation vehicle
- VAB RATAC: Radar Artillery target acquisition vehicle, carries a doppler radar with a range of 20 km
- VAB RASIT: Reconnaissance vehicle, that carries the RASIT ground surveillance radar
- VAB PC: Command vehicle
- VAB SIR: Digital regimental C4ISTAR information system
- VAB Bromure: Electronic warfare vehicle
- VAB Echelon: Maintenance and repair vehicle
- VAB Génie: Engineering vehicle
- VCAC Mephisto: Anti-tank vehicle, carries the Euromissile Mephisto system with four ready-to-fire HOT anti-tank missiles and eight more in reserve
- VTM 120: Mortar towing vehicle, that can carry 70 bombs for the Thomson-Brandt 120mm mortar
- VPM 81: Mortar carrier with an 81mm mortar firing through a roof opening
- VAB SAN: Armoured ambulance
- VAB Reco: NBC reconnaissance vehicle
- VAB ATLAS: Artillery fire command and control vehicle
- VAB AZURE: Urban warfare vehicle equipped with a dozer blade and with panoramic periscopes to observe and monitor.
- VBC-90: Armoured car variant in service with the Mobile Gendarmerie
- VAB TOP: 4x4 APC version fitted with a Kongsberg Protector M151 RWS with 12.7mm machine gun and ceramic add-on armor
The main version of VAB 4x4 is fitted with a Nexter Systems rotating gun mount type CB 127 armed with a .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB machine gun with an elevation of -15° to +45° with the shield in the normal position and from -20° to +80° in the anti-aircraft position; in both cases traverse is a full 360°. Since the deployment of the French army troops in Afghanistan, and to answer the new threats of the battlefield, the standard unprotected weapon station of French VAB is replaced by a Norwegian Kongsberg Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) armed with a .50 M2 HB MG. Some other versions of VAB can be equipped with a full range of gun weapon systems.
|Design and protection|
The hull of the VAB is divided into two main sections with the driver and commander compartment in the front and the troop compartment in the rear. It is made of welded steel armor, which provides protection against small arms fire, shell splinters, and anti-personnel mines. The thickness of the armor varies between 7mm and 15mm, depending on the version and location on the vehicle. Located at the front of the vehicle, the driver's compartment houses the driver's seat, steering wheel, and dashboard. Both crew members have a side door that opens to the front, with a bulletproof window in its upper part hinged at the top and opening outwards that can be covered by a shutter. In front of the crew is a heated bulletproof windscreen that can be covered by a flap hinged at the top. Over the driver's position is a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the front. Additionally, there are three periscopes for the driver to see the front and sides of the vehicle while the hatch is closed. The troop compartment is located behind the driver's compartment and can accommodate up to 12 infantry soldiers, depending on the specific configuration. The infantrymen enter and leave the VAB via a double door without a central pillar in the rear of the hull, which opens outwards.
|The basic variant of the VAB is based on 4x4 chassis. The vehicle is motorized with a Renault MIDS 06-20-45 in-line water-cooled turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel developing 220 bhp at 2,200 rpm. The original engine was a MAN D.2356 HM 72 in-line water-cooled 6-cylinder diesel developing 220 hp at 2,200 rpm (standard on VAB until 1983) (option of 300 hp diesel).|
|The VAB is fully amphibious, being propelled in the water by two water jets at the rear of the hull, each fitted with a deflector for steering and reverse thrust, which is hydraulically controlled by a joystick mounted on the dashboard. Before entering the water, the bilge pumps are switched on and the trim vane, which is folded back onto the glacis plate when not required, is erected at the front of the hull. Not all export customers have water jets fitted. Optional equipment for the VAB includes an air conditioning system, an armored grenade thrower hood, a firing gun port with an incorporated observation port, a gas dispenser, an NBC system (standard for French Army vehicles), passive night vision equipment, a public address system and a front-mounted winch with a capacity of 7,000 kg (which can be doubled with the aid of a pulley) and 60 m of cable.|
|One 12.7 mm machine gun||Protection against small arms firing 7.62 mm, shell splinters, and some mines.|
|Brunei, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, France, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Italy.||13,000 kg|
|France||90 km/h maximum road speed, 8 km/h water speed|
|Water jets, air conditioning system, NBC protection system, night vision, and front winch.||1,000 km|
|2 + 10 soldiers||Length: 5.98 m; Width: 2.49 m; Height: 2.06 m|
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