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French 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment receives first Serval armored vehicles.

| 2023

As reported by Laurent Lagneau in Opex360, echoing a tweet from the DGA, less than a year after the delivery of the first four units to the Combined Arms Combat Readiness Support Center - 51st Infantry Regiment (Centre d’appui de préparation au combat interarmes), CAPCIA-51e RI) in Mourmelon, the VBMR-L Serval light multi-role armored vehicle, from the SCORPION program, has just been inducted in the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (RPIMa, Régiment Parachutiste d’Infanterie de Marine), part of the 11th Paratrooper Brigade.
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The 3rd RPIMa thus becomes the first operational unit of the French Army to be equipped with the Serval VBMR-L (Picture source: French Army / 3rd RPIMa)

The 3rd RPIMa thus becomes the first operational unit of the French Army to be equipped with the Serval VBMR-L. The unit will receive 20 more Servals within a few days. The Servals delivered to the Army are first directed to the CAPCIA-51e RI, responsible for checking their proper functioning and ensuring the "primary training" of their future users.

The Serval is an armored vehicle produced by the French company Nexter Systems (formerly known as Giat Industries). This 4x4 vehicle has been designed for a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, troop transport, convoy escort, and combat support. It is built on a robust and versatile platform designed with and manufactured by Texelis, which allows it to be easily adapted for different roles and configurations. The vehicle features a modular design that enables the integration of various mission systems and equipment, depending on the operational requirements.

The Serval is a 15-ton multi-role armored vehicle that integrates various equipment common to other vehicles of the Scorpion programme, especially the electronic core, a turret remotely operated from the passenger compartment, threat sensors and the Scorpion Combat Information System (SICS), which enables it to be integrated into the Scorpion systems network. Based on a modular architecture, Nexter and Texelis have developed three main versions of this weapon system (patrol, intelligence and reconnaissance, and communications relay), themselves available in numerous variants.

Mobility is a critical aspect of any modern armored vehicle, and the Serval excels in this regard. Powered by a diesel engine, the vehicle boasts an impressive power-to-weight ratio, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 110 km/h (68 mph) and cover a range of approximately 600 km (373 miles).

Protection is another key feature of the Serval. The vehicle is equipped with ballistic protection against small arms fire and shell splinters, as well as mine and IED protection. For added security, the Serval's armor can be upgraded with add-on armor kits as needed.

The Serval also offers a substantial payload capacity of up to 2.5 tons. This allows the vehicle to carry a diverse array of weapons, systems, and equipment to support various mission profiles. The vehicle's modularity ensures that it can be adapted to meet the unique demands of each operation.

In terms of crew capacity, the Serval can accommodate up to 10 personnel, including the driver and commander, depending on the configuration. This makes it an ideal platform for troop transport and other personnel-intensive missions.

Nexter has equipped the Serval with a range of weapon systems, such as a remote weapon station (RWS) with a 12.7mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), and even a small turret with a 20mm or 30mm cannon. These armaments allow the Serval to engage a variety of targets effectively.

Finally, the Serval features advanced communication and surveillance systems. These technologies enable the vehicle to share vital information with other units and conduct efficient reconnaissance tasks, providing commanders with essential battlefield intelligence.

Designed to operate in combat zones, the Serval combines flexibility, strategic mobility and payload-carrying capacity. It is the indispensable complement to the heavy multi-role armored vehicle Griffon (EBMR) and the armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle Jaguar (EBRC) that will equip the land task force's armored middle segment. In addition, as part of a procedure launched by the gendarmerie to renew its fleet of armored vehicles, the GME offers a system based on the Serval that integrates a motorized protection solution capable of operating in mainland France and overseas.

Defense News March 2023

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