The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded the order for conditional tranche 4 (TC4) of the SCORPION programme to Nexter, Arquus and Thales, operating through the EBMR consortium.
Tranche TC4 corresponds to an additional 88 JAGUAR armoured reconnaissance and fighting vehicles and 302 GRIFFON multirole armoured vehicles. This new order will bring the number of JAGUAR and GRIFFON vehicles ordered to 150 and 909 respectively, in line with the target laid out in France’s 2019-25 Military Programming Law. This represents half of the French government’s total commitment for JAGUARs and GRIFFONs (excluding the MEPAC variant) to be acquired under the SCORPION programme to renew the medium-tonnage segment of the French Army’s armoured vehicle fleet. The TC4 award comes shortly after an order was placed for 54 GRIFFON MEPAC versions, which are equipped with a 120-mm mortar, with deliveries scheduled from 2024.
These two awards were announced by the French Prime Minister during his visit to Nexter’s Roanne site on 19 February. This latest order underscores France’s continuing confidence in the EBMR consortium partners, which have been ensuring on-time deliveries since the beginning of the programme. It provides Nexter, Arquus and Thales, as well as the entire land defence industrial and technological base in France, with better visibility of their industrial activity through to 2025.
Nexter, Thales and Arquus, as part of the temporary grouping of companies (GME) EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), presented the 128th GRIFFON planned for 2020 to the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA). Under the terms of the SCORPION program, and despite an unprecedented health crisis that profoundly affected production, the three manufacturers were able to take the challenge and meet their contractual objectives.
After this step, the last GRIFFONs will have to be submitted to the verification operations carried out by the DGA’s quality department. The vehicles will then be transported to the Canjuers site where the Army will proceed to take them into account; it is then that the DGA will formally receive them. To date, 90 GRIFFON have completed this route, adding to the 92 GRIFFON delivered in 2019. From January 2021, the last vehicles that left the production line in December will join them in the regiments, catching up very early in 2021 with the delay due to the health crisis.
From March 2020, Covid-19 has indeed strongly disrupted the industrial organization of the program. The site of Roanne, where the GRIFFON and JAGUAR are assembled, was forced to suspend its activity from March 20 to 30 in order to allow the installation of a structure adapted to the resumption of the activity under maximum safety conditions. Since then, two teams have been working on the lines in shifts of eight consecutive hours (2×8) to ensure that the lines are operational during these 16-hour days. Closely linked to their government contacts and after consulting their suppliers, the members of the GME quickly reviewed the initial schedule: the 2020 objectives were maintained for GRIFFON; the first deliveries of JAGUAR were postponed to April 2021; and this, while preserving the number of deliveries at the end of 2021.
The year 2020 was marked by the passage of several major milestones for the GME. In September, the DGA notified the third conditional tranche of the EBMR contract, enabling the second batch of vehicles (271 GRIFFON and 42 JAGUAR by 2023) to go into production. In November, the GRIFFON command post vehicle (EPC) was qualified. Thus, among the 128 GRIFFONs of 2020, 35 examples of this new variant were presented to the administration, an additional difficulty that the EPC teams overcame. Finally, the new-generation T1 remotely operated turret that will arm the GRIFFONs was also qualified by the DGA.
Nexter, Arquus and Thales would like to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of their teams. Their sense of duty and creativity have enabled them to meet the expectations of the French Army and its combatants as best they could, while greatly limiting the impact of the health crisis.
Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the order by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) for 271 Griffon armored vehicles and 42 Jaguar armored vehicles, awarded on September 15, 2020 to Nexter, Arquus and Thales as part of the SCORPION program.
The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for both an increase in the numbers of the SCORPION program and an acceleration of deliveries. The target in 2030 was thus raised to 1,872 Griffon and 300 Jaguar vehicles, half of which (respectively 936 and 150) will be delivered by 2025. In addition to schools and training centers, 5 regiments will have begun to receive the Griffon by the end of 2020, and 9 regiments at the end of 2021.
The arrival of the first Griffons allows the Army to truly enter the SCORPION era, with a platform that benefits from significant advances in terms of protection, mobility and the ability to gradually integrate the info-enhanced collaborative combat (intelligence sharing, acceleration of the decision-making loop). The objective therefore remains to be able to deploy an initial Griffon combined arms battle group on foreign operation by the end of 2021.
This order contributes to irrigate the entire French Industrial and Technological Defense Base (BITD) for ground equipment. The three prime contractors will in fact pass on the orders to their subcontractors and suppliers within a few days. It is estimated that the Griffon and Jaguar programs support nearly 2,000 direct, highly qualified jobs.
After an initial order in 2017 for 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars, the DGA today awarded to the companies Nexter Systems, Arquus and Thales, a second phase vehicle production contract, as part of the SCORPION program, which is intended to modernize the combat capabilities of the French Army. The 271 Griffons and 42 Jaguars ordered on September 15, 2020 will be delivered to the forces between 2022 and 2023.
The Griffon is a Multi-Role Armored Vehicle (VBMR) intended to replace Front-line Armored Vehicles (VAB). Weighing around 25 tonnes, it is equipped with a 6-wheel drive and a remotely operated cupola. It comes in several versions: troop transport, command post, artillery observation and medical evacuation.
Weighing around 25 tonnes, Jaguar is an Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle (EBRC) with 6-wheel drive. It is intended to replace the AMX10RC and Sagaie wheeled light tanks, as well as the VAB variant armed with HOT anti-tank missiles. It will be equipped with the 40-mm telescoped ammunition gun produced in Franco-British cooperation, the medium range missile (MMP) and a remotely operated cupola.
In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Arquus, the program also involves Safran for the optronics and armament of the Jaguar, CTA International for its 40-mm gun and MBDA for its MMPs.
The SCORPION program renews the capabilities of contact combat around two armored vehicles Griffon and Jaguar and a single Information and Communication System (SICS) which allows the networking of all players in land combat. It also integrates the acquisition of light multi-role armored vehicles Serval, the modernization of the Leclerc tank and the acquisition of modern combat training systems using simulation and virtual reality.
This third week of the Arquus e-xpo is an opportunity for Arquus to present the latest addition to its range of tactical vehicles: the FORTRESS Mk2. Designed to answer the intensification of the threats encountered on the battlefield, the FORTRESS Mk2 combines the very high mobility of the FORTRESS and brand new capabilities in terms of protection and firepower. More aggressive and even better protected, the FORTRESS Mk2 is a modern, high-performance vehicle, very well adapted to current and future operational commitments. It combines mobility, firepower and protection in a single multi-purpose vehicle, developed to meet the demands of Arquus’ customers and partners.
Designed to transport a combat group of 11 soldiers over all terrains, the FORTRESS Mk2 combines optimal protection against all ballistic threats and mines encountered on the battlefield, and unprecedented off-road mobility capabilities thanks to its independent suspensions and very powerful engine.
To better face the evolution of threats on the battlefield, the FORTRESS Mk2 is natively designed with very high levels of protection, both against ballistic threats and against mines and IEDs, thanks to an innovative under-body architecture. This new protection, particularly coherent and balanced, makes the FORTRESS Mk2 one of the most protected 4×4 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) on the market.
This increase in protection has been achieved without any increase in mass, thanks to the use of the latest Arquus technologies in terms of armour and body architecture. This major evolution has therefore been completed while maintaining the exceptional mobility of the FORTRESS. Since its presentation in 2014, the FORTRESS has always been very popular due to its excellent off-roads capabilities, and has very soon been adopted by a European Special Forces unit.
The FORTRESS Mk2 is a vehicle at ease in all circumstances, off-roads as well as for obstacle crossing, thanks to its independent suspensions and proven chassis, which is the result of decades of operational experience. The FORTRESS Mk2 retains the 6-cylinder 340-horsepower engine, which gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 23 horsepower per ton, a top speed of 75 mph/120 km/h and a range of 1,200 kilometers/746 miles.
Thanks to its mobility and firepower, the FORTRESS Mk2 can carry and accompany the infantry on the battlefield, while providing operational fire support.
Its exceptional mobility and interior configuration allow for the safe transport of a full fighting group and their equipment, on all terrains, and with a high level of comfort, ensuring that they are well restedboth physically and mentally before the action.
The FORTRESS Mk2 has been specially designedto carry Arquus’ Hornet range of Remote-Controlled Weapons Stations (RCWS). As part of the Scorpion program, Arquus has created a new French line of RCWS which accommodates a wide range of weaponry, from 5.56-mm to 12.7-mm, including 7.62-mm and HK40. Commonequipment for all the new combat vehicles of the Scorpion program, these systems will equip the French Army’s new combat vehicles. The FORTRESS Mk2 is natively equipped with Arquus’ Battlenet vetronics suite, designed to operate with the Hornet turrets and featuring Blue Force Tracking (BFT).
In addition to the Hornet RCWS, the FORTRESS Mk2 can accommodate a wide variety of weapons and systems, such as 7.62-mm, 12.7-mm or 14.5-mm protected manual circulars, grenade launchers or acoustic and laser detectors.
These developments make the FORTRESS Mk2 an agile, well-protected, well-armed vehicle capable of going on the offensive on all terrains and in all conditions. In line with all formerly ACMAT vehicles, the FORTRESS Mk2 is rustic, durable, reliable and modular, which simplifies and reduces maintenance needs. Customizable, it can be configured in right- or left-hand drive.
For all vehicles in its ranges, Arquus presents a complete and innovative service offer, guaranteeing optimal uptime in all theatres of operation. Thanks to its logistics platform in Garchizy and its international network, Arquus can guarantee the availability of spare parts anywhere in the world on very short notice.