French army procurement agency qualifies new 32 tons variant Nexter VBCI infantry fighting vehicle 0


Defence & Security News - France

Thursday, October 2, 2014 05:40 PM
French army procurement agency qualifies new 32 tons variant Nexter VBCI infantry fighting vehicle
The French army Procurement Agency (DGA) declared the qualification of the new version of the VBCI armoured infantry combat vehicle on September 24, 2014. This new version has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 32 tons, as opposed to 29 tons for the original version. The VBCI is manufactured by the French Company NEXTER Systems.
The increase in the GVW not only enables the vehicle to confront the toughest threats within Army theatres of operations with improved vehicle protection (increased protection against mines, IEDs, rockets, etc.) but also preserves the vehicle capability to be upgraded and enables it to adapt to future needs.

The qualification is the result of essential tests to guarantee the safety and performance of the vehicle. Thus, for 18 months, the 32 tons prototypes cleared the DGA's many obstacles and covered the special tracks in sandy Biscarosse, muddy Coëtquidan and Fontevraud, rocky Canjuers and snowy Valloire.

Two versions of the vehicle are currently available: infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and command post vehicle (CPV) armed with a 25mm gun turret and a 12.7mm remotely operated weapon respectively. The AIFV's crew includes two men and nine infantrymen in a large internal volume of 13m3 fully compatible with Infocentered systems such as the French "FELINE".

The French acquisition contract is for 630 vehicles by 2015 (520 AIFVs and 110 CPVs). Nexter Systems has already produced more than 400 AIFVs to the French Army since 2008. Besides the hundreds of vehicles produced annually for France, the assembly line is ready to substantially increase the production rates to meet export contracts.

The VBCI has been projected in Afghanistan and Lebanon in 2010, in Mali in early 2013 and in Central African Republic in 2014, where each time it has perfectly fulfilled the missions assigned to it, to the satisfaction of the troops involved.