VBCI Nexter Systems
8x8 Wheeled Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle France
From high-intensity combat missions to peacekeeping operations, the VBCI keeps an entire infantry section safe. VCBI is “Combat Proven” and is currently deployed in operation. VBCI represents the best balanced solution between protection, firepower, mobility, and payload. VBCI has unrivaled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, “Soft Kill” systems. It is fitted with CBRN equipment.
The VBCI (French denomination of "Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie)") is a French wheeled armoured infantry fighting vehicle designed and manufactured by the French Companies Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense. The VBCI was designed to replace the old tracked armored infantry fighting vehicle AMX-10P, which was used by the infantry mechanised units of the French Army. In November 2000, the French Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to Giat Industries and Renault VI (now Renault Trucks) for the first 65 vehicles (54 VCI – including 12 with the Eryx missile system – and 11 VPC). A joint venture company, Satory Military Vehicles, was set up by Giat and Renault Trucks to be responsible for the VBCI and a number of other vehicles. Renault has responsibility for the mobility systems, including the driver's station, engine, gearbox, suspension and axles and on-board electrical networks. Giat is responsible for the armored hull, interior furnishing, assembly and integration of the turret and vehicle, observation, command and control, weapons and self-protection systems. The first two prototypes were completed in May 2004. Five prototypes have been delivered, four VCI and one VPC, and are undergoing qualification trials. One is taking part in operational trials with the French Army. Serial production is underway and the first three production vehicles were delivered in May 2008, two IFV and one command variant.
Qualification was granted by the DGA in March 2008 and the VBCI has now gone into series production. On 5 December 2008, the DGA placed a supplementary order with Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense for 116 vehicles. This order brings the total number of vehicles ordered to date to 298 VBCIs. The DGA has accepted the first 49 vehicles in accordance with the initial schedule. In September 2009, The Minister of Defence, Hervé Morin, today announced an order for 332 VBCI armored infantry combat vehicles for the Army. The order was awarded by the defence procurement agency, Délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA) to a joint venture company owned by Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense. This latest order increases to 630 the number of VBCIs on order for the Army, as specified by the White Paper on defence and national security. The total cost of the VBCI program, including development and pre-production, is 2.86 billion euros. (approx. $4.1 billion).
Around one hundred vehicles are being produced annually for France, but the assembly line could deliver at a significantly higher rate, to meet any possible export requirements. The basic simplicity of the VBCI means that the production line could also be transferred, in the event of export contracts involving local provisioning, production and/or integration.
In December 2009, GTD and Nexter Systems have signed a shareholder agreement under which a Spanish joint venture will be formed within the next few weeks. One of the main tasks of the new company will be to fulfil the contract for the Spanish "Vehiculo Blindado Ruedas 8x8" (VBR 8x8) program to replace the existing BMR vehicle.
- VPC : (command post vehicle) is equipped with a terminal information system (SIT) FINDERS®, developed by Nexter Systems, a regimental information system (SIR), developed by EADS, and a remotely controlled 12.7 mm cupola. 150 VPCs have been ordered for the French Army.
- VBCI : (infantry fighting vehicle) can be equipped with 20mm RWS, 25mm, 30mm, or 40mm medium-caliber turret and a 7.62 mm MG. The rank VBCI is also available in mortar and Eryx (short-range, anti-tank missile system) versions, and can also be equipped with 25 to 105 mm turrets, or even a 120 mm low-recoil. 550 « rank » version VCIs have been ordered by the French Army.
- VTT : (Troop Transport Vehicle) is designed to transport troops. It has an interior volume of 13 m³ and can carry a 2-man crew and up to 10 soldiers with their equipment. The VTT is sized to meet export requirements and is currently being considered by several national armies.
- Other types of utility vehicle can also be produced, based on the same platform: Ambulance, Repair vehicle. Mine Clearance, etc. The total possession cost is optimized with the use of a single platform common to all variants.
The VBCI in the French Army is equipped with with a one-man Nexter Dragar turret armed with a dual-feed 25mm NATO cannon type 25 M811 with 150 rounds in the turret and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. In all weather conditions, the Tarask® turret provides the dismounted combat units with effective fire support. The Nexter 25 M811 cannon delivers 50% more firepower than any 20mm weapon. The VBCI IFV can be equipped with turrets up to 40mm, AFV with 90mm to 105mm gun turrets. The 25 mm gun fires in a single round, three rounds, ten rounds and free burst firing modes with rates of fire at 125 rounds a minute and 400 rounds a minute. The gunner is equipped with a multisensor optronic sight that includes a direct day optical channel, a thermal imager, a laser range finder and video channel linked to the weapon fire control system.
Close view of VBCI turret armed with one 25mm automatic cannon and one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
|Design and protection|
The hull and the turret of the VBCI Nexter Systems are composed of welded steel and aluminum, that offers protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. To increase the protection, the welded steel and aluminum alloy hull is fitted with spall liners and add-on titanium armour plate to protect against anti-tank weapons. The box structure floor and running gear provide protection against exploding mines. The VBCI’s level of protection outclasses that of all existing 8x8 vehicles, with its high strength alloy hull and its add-on metal armour. Structurally, the VBCI provides a very high level of protection against conventional munitions (medium caliber fire, shell shrapnel). It is also designed to resist improvised explosive devices (IED) and very powerful mines, and also has an infra-red decoy system. Finally, its significant additional weight margin means that the VBCI protection remains upgradeable, and will soon be reinforced by active protection against rockets (type RPG), HE shells, and anti-tank missiles. The VBCI has a crew of three including the driver, commander, gunner and can accommodate 8 infantrymen at the rear of the vehicle. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle on the left side, the vehicle commander, who dismounts with the troops, is seated to the immediate rear of the driver. The one-mane turret is mounted to the center of the roof hull while the power pack compartment is front right and separated from the remainder of the hull. The troop compartment is at the rear, with the troops being seated down either side facing inwards. They enter and leave the VBCI by a large power-operated ramp in the hull rear that opens downwards and which is also provided with an emergency door in the left side.
|Thee VBCI Nexter Systems is motorized with a 550hp diesel engine with an in-line six-cylinder configuration and automatic gearbox are installed in the front right of the vehicle. In-line transmission is by four central axles protected by armored housings. The VBCI is an 8 wheel drive configuration, the 8x8 configuration breaks with the tradition of tracklaying Infantry Combat Vehicles, to combine maximum ballistic and anti-mine protection with very high mobility. The VBCI offers a range of 470 miles (750 km) and a maximum road speed of 60 mph (100 km/h). The vehicle can be driven with seven wheels if a wheel is lost by a mine explosion.|
|The VBCI Nexter Systems is equipped with night/day vision for the commander and the gunner. The commander has a remote display from the gunner's sight equipped with an override control suite allowing the commander to operate the turret and weapons. The vehicle is road and railway gauge compatible and is air transportable on an Airbus A400M. The Nexter Systems VBCI can cross fording in a depth of 1.20 m without preparation and 1.50 m with preparation.|
|Due to its high level of protection, its mobility and its modularity, the VBCI Nexter Systems (Armoured Infantry Combat Vehicle) remains, more than ever, at the core of land forces action doctrines. Feedback from present theatres of conflict shows that land forces missions have become more diversified, and are tending towards targeted environment control actions that are reversible and limited in their use of force, but which can be significantly reinforced if necessary. The VBCI is a fully developed product, produced by a group of companies, formed by Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, that meets these operational requirements in terms of strategic, operational, and tactical mobility, and also in terms of protection and configuration changes, to meet the requirements of various types of mission. |
The VBCI has already been deployed in a large range of missions abroad from peacekeeping (Lebanon, CAR) to counter-insurgency (Afghanistan) or more conventional combat operations (Mali), further demonstrating its in-built operational versatility and efficiency of its 25mm weapon system. VBCI’s ability to operate in a very wide variety of terrain and extreme weather conditions have been further demonstrated during a series of operations, most notably in desert conditions, covering more than 4200km by 50°C without failure.
|From RWS up to a one or two-man operated turret, from 7.62mm MG to 105mm gun, air-defense, mortars, AT missiles / Observation, sighting and firing capability from the commander station in the hull and in the turret||Ballistic protection provided by the aluminum alloy hull with the modular add-on armour including top attack. Protection against RPG (modular add-on armour). High protection against mine effects Protection against lEDs (blast, fragments, EFP)|
|Fire control system with laser ranging and IR camera, NBC protection, centralized tire pressure |
|3 + 8||Length: 7.80 m; Width: 2.98 m; Height: 2.26 m|
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