VBCI, the new troop carrier
for the French Army is progressing.
In 2004 the first
VCI infantry carrier
was delivered and in 2005, the VPC command vehicle were introduced to
the French Army. Future VCI ERYX /
Milan anti-tank and mortar vehicle variants are also considered. The
vehicles have been tested in both urban and cross country environments.
By 2008, GIAT will deliver the first batch of 85 vehicles. The
complete program calls for the production of 700 vehicles (550 VCIs
and 150 VPCs).
Further development is focused on future 6x6 vehicles, replacing the
current fleet of 4x4 and 6x6 Renault VAB vehicles, in service for the
past 30+ years. Such developments are expected to be undertaken under
a collaboration agreement between France and
Germany. Future 6x6 vehicles are expected to field new technologies
such as hybrid electric propulsion, advanced protection, modern
vetronics etc. Some of these technologies are already
under development in
various R&D programs by the current partners.
On a similar note, BAE Hägglunds also displayed its two modular
armored tactical SEP
platforms, which have already completed 8,000 kilometers of test
drives. Four test vehicles are currently involved in the program. The
first, tracked vehicle tested the electric drive, silent run (battery
only) capability, rubber band tracks, and other automotive
elements. The second vehicle was the 6x6 wheeled platform, followed by
the third 17.5 ton vehicle which tested a more mature electric drive
and gearbox. The fourth vehicle to join the team is a 17.4 ton tracked
vehicle. An 8x8 variant is currently in production and is expected to
enter testing by the end of 2006.
In France a parallel R&D is underway to evaluate the benefits of
hybrid electrical drive systems for medium armored combat vehicles
considered for future systems such as the French
EBRC and British
FRES. GIAT is building the
Demonstrator Propulsion Electric (DPE), a 6.3 meter long, 3 m wide 6x6
18 ton troop carrier which is designed to travel up to 750km at 60
km/h powered by a diesel/electric hybrid system (the vehicle has a top
speed of 105 km/h), or 15 km at a speed of 30 km/h, utilizing its
battery powered, all-electric "stealth mode". The vehicle will enable
variable ground clearance, from 30 to 52 cm. thus having the potential
to reduce height or improve cross obstacle mobility when required.
Completion of the initial test vehicle is expected by summer 2006.
The French Army is gradually improving all its armored vehicles,
which are expected to remain in service for the next 10 – 15 years. As part
of this initiative, improvements for the
AMX-10RC continue with
scheduled modifications planned for up to 256 French Army vehicles.
Under this program the vehicles received new command and control
systems and PR4G radios. Among the
modifications underway are the
installation of GALIX smoke dischargers, LIRE and DAL
systems, as well as appliqué armor, an improved NBC system, various
mobility improvements, installation of
SIT-V1 battle management
systems and improved fire control systems. First series production
upgraded vehicles were delivered to the French Army in 2004. Future
modifications could also include replacing the 105mm gun with the new
120 FER, currently in development.