In order to replace the VBL Light Armored Vehicles within the framework of the French army's SCORPION program, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) launched the VBAE program in which the Belgian army is taking part. VBAE stands for ‘Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement’ (approx. : Armoured Vehicle for Support to the Engagement).
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Arquus Scarabee armed with an MBDA Akeron MP antitank/multi-role missile (Picture source: Army Recognition)
As reported by Laurent Lagneau in Opex360, emblematic European cooperation in development is the FAMOUS project (“Futurs systèmes blindés augmentés européens à haute mobilité , Future European armored systems with high mobility”) which, financed for 10 million euros under the European industrial development program in the field of defense (PEDID, programme européen de développement industriel dans le domaine de la défense), aims to develop technological bricks likely to be integrated into different types of vehicles, from light armored vehicles to main battle tanks. Two French groups are participating: Nexter and Arquus.
In addition, in November 2021, the General Delegate for Armament, Joël Barre, indicated that Belgium had just given its agreement to "start the development of the future VBAE, an abbreviation that stands for ‘Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement’ (approx.: Armoured Vehicle for Support to the Engagement).
However, Laurent Lagneau writes, draft solutions already exist, such as the Hawkei from Thales and the Scarabée from Arquus. Note that Soframe is also in the running for the VBAE program, with the “Mosaic” concept, unveiled in 2021. Arquus is grounding its hopes on its Scarabée designed for reconnaissance, assistance to the engagement, and support missions in contact or in the depth", which it unveiled during Eurosatory 2018.
Since its presentation in 2018 - and its commercialization three years later - the Scarabee has been the subject of corrections and improvements. Hence, it is a new model that was presented at Eurosatory 2022. Arquus has dropped the sliding doors which was a false good idea since a "classic" door can offer additional protection in dismounted combat. Also, the Scarabée is now equipped with new state-of-the-art Michelin tires which increase its stealth and reduce its footprint. Concerning the tires, Arquus has entered into a research and development partnership with Michelin about “Tweel” airless tires and inflation pressure variation systems.
In addition, the Scarabée is now equipped with new cameras which, developed by Bertin Technologies, “give it unique night vision and driving capabilities”. And, underlines Arquus, “coupled with the all-electric mode which offers extremely quiet mobility and a low thermal signature at low speeds”, these capacities “redefine it as a vehicle very well suited to night combat”.
During EuroSatory 2022, Arquus unveiled an anti-tank version of its Scarabee, armed with a fifth-generation MBDA Akeron MP (medium-range) missile, formerly designated Missile Moyenne Portée, or MMP, by MBDA, which allows treating hot or cold targets five kilometers away. The Akeron MP is mounted on the right side of the Hornet RWS. The Scarab can carry up to five of them, depending on its configuration. With the Hornet Akeron turret/RWCS, its great mobility, its silent propulsion and its compact profile, the Scarabee "can be used as a stealth tank killer", Arquus claims.
Arquus - Michelin partnership
On June 13, 2022, Arquus and Michelin officially signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on research and development topics of common interest to both companies. companies. As the European leader in protected ground mobility, Arquus is very pleased to formalize this agreement with Michelin, a world leader in the tire industry. The two companies have already collaborated on mobility solutions, but this signature represents a major step forward for future developments.
Adaptive mobility is one of the main topics under consideration. In particular, Michelin has developed anti-puncture solutions such as the Tweel airless tire and inflation pressure variation systems (VPG). Originally designed for construction sites and the agricultural sector, these technologies are extremely sector, these technologies are extremely relevant to the defense sector.
Due to the very long life cycle of military vehicles, some of which are already more than 40 years old, predictive maintenance is a key issue. forty years old, predictive maintenance is also a subject of interest for the Michelin and Arquitec teams. This subject is also being studied from an environmental point of view, to reduce the footprint of each vehicle and each tire as much as possible.
Mobility is at the heart of Arquus' priorities, whether for troop transport, reconnaissance or combat. The grip of the vehicles is of the utmost importance, especially important, especially on the demanding slopes or inclined planes on which military military vehicles are regularly tested. The tires are therefore put to the test during these and play a major role in the mobility of vehicles.
This new partnership between Arquus and Michelin combines Arquus' demands for excellence and French expertise. This partnership is also in line with the continuity of Arquus' Arquus' origins, which come in part from the civilian automotive industry. A member of the AB Volvo Group, Arquus already adapts dual components to the demanding needs of the military.