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French company Arquus showcases VAB Mk3 6x6 IFV at World Defense Show 2024.

| Defense News Army 2024

At the World Defense Show (WDS 2024) in Saudi Arabia, the French defense firm Arquus, previously known as Renault Trucks Defense, is showcasing its VAB Mk3 6x6 armored vehicle in an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) configuration. This event marks an important moment for Arquus, a key supplier to the French Army and various Middle Eastern governmental forces, especially following its recent acquisition by the Belgian defense company John Cockerill Defense.
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The VAB Mk3, which is part of Saudi Arabia's military inventory with 100 units in IFV configuration as of 2022, is notable for its ability to be configured and armed in various ways. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The VAB Mk3, which is part of Saudi Arabia's military inventory with 100 units in IFV configuration as of 2022, is notable for its ability to be configured in various ways, including as a command post, armored personnel carrier, ambulance, light workshop, and mortar carrier. Its appeal is further enhanced by its relatively low procurement costs and the availability of the global Volvo/Renault Trucks maintenance network.

The VAB Mk3 6x6 builds upon the legacy of the original VAB 4x4 armored vehicle, incorporating over three decades of experience into its design and performance enhancements. Arquus points to the vehicle's mobility, suggesting it rivals that of 8x8 vehicles, yet with lower overall ownership costs. The design of the VAB Mk3 allows for various mission roles and the incorporation of multiple weapon systems due to its modular nature, sufficient payload capacity, and advanced electronic architecture.

Displayed at the WDS 2024 exhibition with a 25mm remote weapon station, the VAB Mk3 can be armed with a wide range of weaponry, including the integration of turret or remote weapon systems up to a 30 mm caliber cannon. A prime example of this was the unveiling at the Eurosatory 2012 exhibition, as the VAB Mk3 was shown equipped with the TRT-25 remotely operated weapon station from BAE Systems, which includes a 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon, a 7.62 mm machine gun, and smoke grenade launchers. This system provides comprehensive observation capabilities, quick response times, and accurate firing capabilities. Designed with safety interlocks and mechanisms, the TRT-25 allows operators to safely use the weapon from within the vehicle.

The VAB Mk3's design also prioritizes crew and passenger protection, with armor that meets Level 4 STANAG 4569 standards and MRAP-level mine/IED protection. The Mk3 accommodates three crew members and seven infantry soldiers, featuring bullet-proof windows, side access doors, and a hydraulic rear ramp.

Technological advancements in the VAB Mk3 include the Hornet Stealth Protection system, introduced at Eurosatory 2022, which comprises a remote-controlled weapon station, smoke grenade launchers, acoustic gunshot detectors, and a software management system for sensors and effectors. The vehicle also features 360-degree low-light and thermal imaging cameras for enhanced situational awareness and a drone integration system for extended surveillance.

The vehicle's 7-liter engine, coupled with an automatic 6-speed transmission, provides 370 hp and enables the VAB Mk3 to reach a maximum road speed of 100 km/h. It can handle gradients of up to 60%, side slopes of 40%, cross trenches up to 1.1 meters, and overcome vertical obstacles of 0.5 meters. Fully amphibious with a rear-mounted water jet, the Mk3 is also capable of fording water depths up to 1.4 meters without preparation. Additionally, it can be transported by C-130 Hercules or Airbus A400M aircraft.

The VAB Mk3 incorporates the BATTLENET INSIDE electronic architecture, developed by Renault Trucks Defense, which utilizes open, standardized, and proven commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies. This system includes features such as Switched Ethernet, SNMP administration, Voice over IP, MPEG4 video standard, and Open Source developments, facilitating compatibility with current and future military communications systems.


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