(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - June 18, 2010: The French Army, which will receive its 200th VBCI wheeled combat vehicle next week, will deploy a dozen of them to Afghanistan during the summer. (DGA photo)
Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, will deliver the 200th Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) to the French Army on June 23. The VBCI is manufactured by an industrial consortium between Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, and a total of 630 units have been ordered by DGA. The total cost of the VBCI program, including development, pre-production engineering and production, is estimated at 2.86 billion euros.
The first VBCI rolled out of the factory in 2008, and the final production vehicles will be delivered by DGA to the French Army in 2015. The vehicles are built at the Nexter factory in Roanne (Loire district of central France). Overall, the VBCI represents over 8 million man-hours for Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and their subcontractors.
The VBCI is an armoured vehicle designed to meet the latest military requirements in terms of protection and growth potential. Successor to the AMX-10P tracked infantry combat vehicle, the eight drive-wheeled VBCI is designed for cross-country mobility and is being produced in command post (VPC) and infantry combat vehicle (VCI) versions.
The VCI variant, of which the French Army has ordered 520, is fitted with a 25mm turret and can carry up to 11 soldiers. Weighing about 30 tonnes fully laden, it can reach a top speed of 100 kph. It will be air-transportable by the future European A400M airlifter.
Designed as a true “life base” for infantrymen, the VBCI combines a high degree of protection including an NBC filtering system. Its armour can withstand direct hits by medium-calibre weapons and shrapnel, and also offers good protection against mines and improvised explosive devices. It is also fitted with infra-red decoy flares.
The 35th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Belfort (Eastern France) is the first combat unit to introduce the VBCI, and will deploy two VBCI combat sections to Afghanistan during the course of the summer.