Tag Archives: Nexter Systems

Griffon and Jaguar

According to Defense-aerospace.com, in line with the development of the Jaguar and Griffon vehicles ordered in December 2014, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) on April 21 awarded Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales a contract for the first 319 Griffon and the first 20 Jaguar armored vehicles, as part of the Scorpion program for the renewal of the combat capabilities of the Army. This order also includes logistics and training support systems.

A prototype of the Jaguar 6×6 wheeled armored vehicle, armed with a 40-mm gun and anti-tank missiles, which will replace the French army’s wheeled light tanks (FR army photo)
A prototype of the Jaguar 6×6 wheeled armored vehicle, armed with a 40-mm gun and anti-tank missiles, which will replace the French army’s wheeled light tanks (FR army photo)

In accordance with Jean-Yves Le Drian’s decision to modernize the armored component of the ground forces, the Military Programme Law provides for the delivery of the first Griffon in 2018 and of the first Jaguar in 2020. During the development phase, the workload of the Griffon-Jaguar projects supports nearly a thousand highly-skilled direct jobs. This will increase to more than 1,700 direct jobs during full production, starting in 2020.

Scorpion will renew the army’s first-line combat capabilities around two new armored vehicles, Griffon and Jaguar, and a unique information and communication system, SICS, which will allow the networking of all players in land combat. Scorpion also integrates the acquisition of light armored multi-role vehicles, the upgrade of the Leclerc tank and modern combat training systems using simulation and virtual reality.

Griffon is a multi-role armored vehicle (véhicule blindé multi-rôles, or VBMR) designed to replace the Véhicules de l’Avant Blindé (VAB). It is a 6×6 armored vehicle weighing approximately 25 tonnes and equipped with a remotely-controlled weapons station. It will be available in several versions (troop transport, command post, artillery spotter and medical evacuation).

Jaguar is a 6×6 armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle (engin blindé de reconnaissance et de combat, or EBRC) weighing about 25 tonnes intended to replace the AMX10RC and Sagaie wheeled light tanks as well as the VAB variant armed with HOT missiles (designated Mephisto). It will be equipped with the 40-mm automatic cannon with cased telescopic ammunition jointly developed by France and the UK, the MMP medium-range missile and a remotely-controlled weapon station.

In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Renault Trucks Defense, the program also involves Safran for optronics and, for the Jaguar’s weapons fit, CTA International for the 40-mm gun and MBDA for the MMP medium range missile.

The second of the French army’s new armored vehicles, the Griffon, is a 6×6 armored personnel carrier intended to replace the VABs now in service (FR army image)
The second of the French army’s new armored vehicles, the Griffon, is a 6×6 armored personnel carrier intended to replace the VABs now in service (FR army image)

New 40-mm cannon

The first production standard Cased Telescoped Cannon System has been handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Bourges, France by CTA International (CTAI) – a 50/50 joint venture company between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems. It is the first delivery of 515 new 40-mm cannons that have been ordered for the British Army for use in the Ajax and Warrior vehicles and incorporates unique technologies that will provide superior firepower.

New 40-mm cannon system handed over to British Army
New 40-mm cannon system handed over to British Army

Developed by specialist engineers from BAE Systems and Nexter Systems, the cannon system uses an innovative design for both the cannon and its ammunition, and is the first completely new cannon system ordered by the MoD since the 1960s. The new cannon fires 40-mm Cased Telescoped ammunition, manufactured for the British Army by BAE Systems’ munitions factories in Washington, Tyne and Wear and Glascoed in Wales.

The new ammunition is neatly contained in a straight tube instead of the traditional bullet shape and can deliver a more explosive charge – up to four times the power of the 30-mm rounds it replaces. The current types of ammunition developed for the cannon include armour piercing and training rounds – while a new airburst round for engaging light vehicles and infantry spread over a large area, and a point detonating round which can penetrate thick concrete – are currently undergoing qualification. CTAI is also working on an anti-aerial airburst round for airborne targets.

The cannon uses a new rotating breech system, with ammunition loaded at a 90-degree angle to the barrel before being rotated into firing position. Loading the ammunition sideways saves a large amount of space in the vehicle, allowing this to be used to store more ammunition or other equipment. The cannon has been developed and is manufactured by CTAI whose factory is now in full production of the new cannon for the MoD.

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said: «This next-generation cannon has been developed through close Anglo-French collaboration and adds significantly to the capability of the UK and our NATO allies. The delivery of the first cannon on our Ajax vehicles is another example of how our £178 billion investment in UK Defence is ensuring our Armed Forces have the equipment they need».

Managing Director of CTAI, Craig Fennell, said: «This is a significant milestone for CTAI and a proud moment to see our cannon being handed over to the British Army. We are the only group in the world who can design and manufacture this type of cannon and ammunition, giving us a unique product for export».

The handover of the first cannon follows many years of exhaustive testing and qualification, which has proved the effectiveness and reliability of the system.

Armoured Vehicles

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.

Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon
Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon

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.

VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems
VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems

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.

SICS (Système d'Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system
SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system

 

Specifications

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
Payload 13 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
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
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

 

SCORPION programme

The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) notified Nexter Systems of the Leclerc tank renovation contract. This order constitutes the third operation launched by the French Ministry of Defence under the Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON (SCORPION) programme intended to modernise the French Army’s contact forces. Valued at approximately €330 million, the contract provides for the delivery of 200 «Renovated Leclerc» tanks and 18 «Renovated DCL» (Dépanneur du Char Leclerc – Leclerc tank repair) recovery vehicles from 2020.

The French army’s Leclerc main battle tank is one of the most advanced in the world, but despite a previous upgrade now requires a more radical modernization to keep it operationally effective until 2040 (French MoD photo)
The French army’s Leclerc main battle tank is one of the most advanced in the world, but despite a previous upgrade now requires a more radical modernization to keep it operationally effective until 2040 (French MoD photo)

The planned renovation work will enable the Leclerc to make the best use of its fire power and mobility within future SCORPION Joint Tactical Groups (GTIA). Thanks to the development of specific interfaces for the new COmmunications Numériques TACtiques et de ThéâtrE (CONTACT) tactical radio system and the Système d’Information et de Commandement SCORPION (SICS), it will be able to effectively network with all components of future SCORPION GTIAs. Moreover, the upgrade of its protection through the development of specific armour kits will enable the Leclerc tank to deal more effectively with new threats, such as improvised explosive devices.

A 3rd generation tank with a high degree of automation and diagnostic assistance, the Leclerc tank currently gives the French land forces «first entry» capability as part of an international coalition. The renovation operation launched aims to maintain this capacity beyond 2040.

The Leclerc is equipped with a CN120-26 120-mm smoothbore cannon
The Leclerc is equipped with a CN120-26 120-mm smoothbore cannon

 

Leclerc main battle tank

Mission

The Leclerc Main Battle Tank (MBT) enables armoured units to fight, defeat, and survive against an out-numbering enemy. Its ability to fire on-the-move, high firing rate and firepower, and exceptional mobility enables it to impose its rhythm on the enemy. It engages the enemy at a speed on 31 mph/50 km/h on all-terrains. It fights day and night, under all weather conditions and in contaminated zones.

Its all-purpose modular armouring, «hunter killer» function, stealth, agility and engagement distance award it an unequalled survival capacity.

The Leclerc has an eight-cylinder V8X-1500 1,500 hp Hyperbar diesel engine
The Leclerc has an eight-cylinder V8X-1500 1,500 hp Hyperbar diesel engine

 

Technical Characteristics

Requiring a crew of only 3 men thanks to its automatic loading system, its weight in combat order is less than 58 tons in its latest version and its nominal power rated at l,500 hp/1,118 kW. Fitted with hydropneumatic suspensions, its maximum speed is 45 mph/72 km/h on the road and 34 mph/55 km/h on all-terrains. Its main weapon is the standard NATO 120-mm/52 caliber and it is equipped with a coaxial 12.7-mm machine gun, as well as a 7.62-mm roof machine gun.

It is equipped with a commander stabilized 360° panoramic sight, laser rangefinder, day channel and thermal camera (in its latest versions) and a stabilized mantlet gunner sight with thermal camera, laser rangefinder, day channel and video channel.

Nexter Systems originally built 254 Leclerc MBTs for the French Army
Nexter Systems originally built 254 Leclerc MBTs for the French Army

Status

In service.