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Thales Would Have Answered French Army VBMR Light RFI with its Bushmaster APC.

| 2016
Defence & Security News - France
Thales Would Have Answered French Army VBMR Light RFI with its Bushmaster APC
On the eve of Eurosatory 2016, an industry source who wished to remain unnammed recently told Army Recognition that French aerospace and defence giant Thales would have answered a French Army request for information (RFI) on the "VBMR Light" program with the Bushmaster APC. The same source indicated that Nexter Systems likely answered the RFI with a 4x4 variant of its Titus APC. A third likely candidate would be Renault Trucks Defense.
Thales Bushmaster VBMR light French Army Thales Bushmaster Armored Vehicle Personnel Carrier
The RFI deadline was on June 6, 2016. The tender is said to be restricted to French defence companies exclusively. "VBMR Ligh" (for vehicule blindé multi-role léger or light multirole armored vehicle) is part of the Scorpion modernisation program of the French Army. Scorpion calls for the update of 200 Leclerc MBTs, the procurement of 250 Jaguar (replacing AMX10RC and ERC90 light reconnaissance vehicles) and the replacement of the VAB fleet with the VBMR program. VBMR is split into two sub-programs:
- VBMR Heavy for which 1700 Griffon armored vechiles have been ordered. Griffon is in the 25 tons class.
- VBMR Light, the current RFI, for which the French Army need is 350 units to be delivered starting in 2021. VBMR Light will be a 10 to 14 tons class vehicle according to our source.

The Thales Bushmaster is a highly mobile, ballistics, mine and improvised explosive device (IED) blast resistant Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV). Over 200 Bushmasters have been sold to six countries (Japan, Jamaica, Indonesia, Netherlands, UK and Australia, the launch customer). The Bushmaster is a 12 tons class vehicle and would fit perfectly in the VBMR Light weight requirement. Follow this link to learn more about the Thales Bushmaster.
KADDB Al-Wahsh 4x4 APC at SOFEX 2016. It is based on a TATRA chassis which Nexter Systems could use for a 4x4 variant of the TITUS.
According to our source, Nexter Systems likely answered the VBMR Light RFI with a 4x4 variant of its TITUS 6x6 APC. Introduced at DSEI 2013, TITUS is able to fulfill the full range of missions from Infantry transport to combat missions, combat support and combat service support functions, in any kind of type of commitments likely to occur in a hybrid conflict. TITUS is based on a chassis by Czech company TATRA.

At the recent SOFEX 2016 exhibition held in Jordan, local company KADDB unveiled the new Al-Wash 4x4 APC 'Armoured Personnel Carrier), based on a 4x4 TATRA truck chassis. The Al-Wahsh APC can carried a total of 10 military personnel including driver and commander. The hull of the vehicle offers a ballistic and mine protection Level 1-2 STANAG 4569. The layout of the vehicle is standard with the engine at the front, the crew compartment in the middle and troops area at the rear. The same type of 4x4 chassis by TATRA may have been used to answer the VBMR Light RFI. In its 6x6 configuration, the TITUS is a 27 tons class vehicle, but with a 4x4 transmission and shorter chassis, it could well fit in the 10 to 14 tons requirement. Follow this link to learn more about the TITUS by Nexter.

Thales and Nexter didn't wish to comment on their respective bids.
Stay tuned however to our Eurosatory 2016 coverage starting next monday as more details will likely be (officially) released.

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