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French Gendarmerie deploys new Centaure armored vehicles in response to recent urban violence.

| 2023

Paris, France, July 3, 2023. In the wake of recent violent demonstrations occurring in various parts of France, the French Gendarmerie has mobilized its new Centaure wheeled armored vehicles to combat urban violence. These vehicles are specifically designed to safeguard security and police officers from different types of projectiles and small caliber weapon fire.
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French Gendarmerie Centaure wheeled armored vehicle was deployed for the first time during the recent urban violence in France. (Picture source Gendarmerie Française)

Formed in 1933, the Armored Group of Mobile Gendarmerie (GBGM) is a unit of the French Gendarmerie equipped with armored vehicles. Based near Paris, it serves as a governmental reserve for crisis situations where traditional law enforcement measures prove insufficient and military intervention excessive.

This unit is chiefly responsible for securing the safety and freedom of action of major governmental bodies. However, on a day-to-day basis, it actively contributes to all regular mobile gendarmerie missions. Its units are regularly engaged throughout mainland France, Corsica, the French Overseas Departments and Territories, and in external operations (OPEX).

In November 2021, SOFRAME, a member of the Lohr Group, won a contract to supply the French Gendarmerie with 90 new armored law enforcement vehicles. Named 'Centaure' by the French Gendarmerie, these new 4x4 armored vehicles will gradually replace the iconic wheeled armored vehicles of the Gendarmerie (VBRG), which have been in service since 1974.

On October 26, 2022, the first of these new versatile armored vehicles (VBP), also referred to as 'Centaure,' was delivered to the GBGM in Satory.

Thanks to this new Centaure armored vehicle, the French Gendarmerie now has a means to counter new urban threats, offering high mobility and protection. The vehicle weighs 14.5 tons and measures 3.3 meters in height, 7.4 meters in length, and 2.5 meters in width. The Cenature model can reach a top speed of 100 km/h and can transport a crew of 10 to 12 people. It can carry 10 gendarmes, including a driver, a vehicle commander, a board equipment operator, and seven passengers.

The Centaure is equipped with various modern devices, including optronics, remote firing and grenade launching capabilities, and more. Unlike its predecessor, it also features pushing and clearance abilities, thanks to blades mounted on pneumatic cylinders, located at the front of the vehicle.

As there has been a regrettable intensification in aggression against law enforcement, their response vehicle must be safe, robust, deterrent but not aggressive, powerful, fast, spacious and comfortable for sustained interventions, and modular with easy access.

The Centaure vehicle is especially adapted for law enforcement and order restoration missions under deteriorated conditions, including considering the terrorist threat and its methods. It also ensures the protection of its occupants and is designed to operate on damaged or obstructed roads.

French Gendarmerie deploys new Centaur armored Vehicles in response to recent urban violence 925 002
Centaure wheeled armored vehicle at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris, France. (Picture source Army Recognition)

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