The French Army is scheduled to receive the first three of 95 up-armoured VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) 8×8 armoured vehicles next month, said Victor Barreira, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter. The vehicles will be 29-tonne VCI (Véhicule de Combat d’Infanterie) Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variants modified to a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 32 tonnes with improved protection against improvised explosive devices.
A contract for the development of the VCI configuration was awarded in December 2010 by the French Direction Générale de l´Armement (DGA) arms procurement agency to the vehicle’s manufacturers, Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, with contracts for the modification placed in June 2013 for a first batch of 48 vehicles and in September 2014 for another batch of 47 vehicles. Qualification of the prototype by the DGA was declared on 24 September 2014. Deliveries will be completed in June 2017, although further VCIs are expected to be modified.
The order for 630 VBCIs originally purchased to replace the French Army’s AMX-10P tracked vehicles was recently completed with delivery of the last vehicle on 13 March. The programme was concluded with delivery of the last of 520 VCI variants; 110 VPC (Véhicule Poste de Commandement) command post variants were inducted up to mid-2013. The first VBCI was delivered in 2008.
The VCI variant (which itself comes in two configurations: the Rang infantry-carrying version and the Eryx anti-armour missile version) features Nexter Systems’ Tarask turret armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon, while the VPC variant is fitted out with the Airbus DS SIR (Système d’Information Régimentaire) information system and FN Herstal ARROWS 300 (Advanced Reconnaissance & Remotely Operated Weapon System) remote weapon station.
The VBCIs are also being fitted with an integration kit to work with the Sagem FELIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) soldier system, with work scheduled to be complete by late 2015.
As part of the French Army’s SCORPION (Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON) modernisation programme, a mid-life update of the VBCI is expected in due course with the aim of improving the vehicle’s existing functions, integrating new functions and new technologies, and managing any potential future obsolescence issues.
Current plans include integrating an anti-tank missile capability into the Tarask turret, along with adding the SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system, enhanced optronics, vetronics, and new ammunition.
From high-intensity combat missions to peacekeeping operations, the VBCI keeps an entire infantry section safe. VCBI is «Combat Proven» and is currently deployed in operation. VBCI represents the best balanced solution between protection, firepower, mobility and payload. VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) protection, «Soft Kill» systems. It is fitted with CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) equipment. In the IFV variant, VBCI is equipped with medium caliber turrets: 20-mm RWS (Remote Weapon Station), 25-mm, 30-mm, 40-mm. With its mobility performance, its exceptional manoeuvrability and its high firepower, the VBCI is remarkably efficient in combat. VBCI is in service with the French Army.
|Length||<8 m/<26.2 feet|
|Width||<3 m/<9.8 feet|
|Height||<2.5 m/<8.2 feet|
|Gross Vehicle Weight||32 tons|
|Empty Weight||19 tons|
|Engine||Intercooler diesel engine 6 cylinders in line|
|Maximum power||405 kW/550 hp|
|Max torque||2,450 Nm|
|Gearbox||ZF 7HP902, fully automatic, 7 forward and 2 reverse gear|
|Drop box||Mechanical with 3 shafts|
|Transfer box||Mechanical with 2 shafts|
|Axles (×4)||Interwheel differential lock, Longitudinal clutching (6×8 – 8×8)|
|Wheels (×8)||Independent wheels, Wheel reducer, Tyres 395/90 R22 or 1400 R20, Run flat device|
|Suspensions||Mixed oleo pneumatic, Double wishbones independent suspensions, Combined hydro-pneumatic spring and shock absorber|
|Brakes||Full air, with 2 independent lines (EBS), Anti-lock Braking system (ABS), 8 pneumatic disc brakes, Parking brake and emergency brake, Central tires inflation system (CTIS)|
|Steering||Hydraulic power assistance featuring 2 circuits and 2 pumps, Additional steering system (ASS)|
|Multiplexed electronic network||Based on civilian components, Compliant with EMC Standards, CAN BUS system|
|Centralized dashboard||Alerts management, Diagnostic system|
|Carrying capacity||Up to 14 pax|
|Maximum speed||>62 mph/100 km/h|
|Maximum range||900 km/559 miles|
|Step||0.7 m/2.3 feet|
|Trench||2 m/6.5 feet|
|Fording||1.7 m/5.5 feet|
Renault Trucks Defense 8×8 driveline is designed for combat vehicles up to 32 tonnes (GVW, Gross Vehicle Weight). This high mobility solution is «Combat Proven» with the French VBCI Infantry Combat Vehicle