ARAVIS VBHP (véhicule blindé hautement protégé)
Highly Protected Armored vehicle)
The current generation of armored vehicles can no longer cope with the increasing threat of IEDs, mines and more powerful kinetic projectiles. That's why Nexter created ARAVIS a highly protected vehicle that uses Nexter's SAFEPRO® armor technology to provide soldiers with the highest level of protection. ARAVIS® is a 13-tonne highly protected, multi-role 4 x 4 vehicle. It was specially designed to protect crews during missions in which threats are permanent. It offers a high level of protection modulable against attacks by 14.5 mm heavy machine gun, 10 kg mines, IEDs (TNT charges and booby trapped shells). It may be equipped with all types of armed remote operated cupolas up to 20 mm calibre.
The modularity of the vehicle means that it can be outfitted for different types of missions such as:
- Patrol, route securing (in liaison with Buffalos), convoy escort,
- Reconnaissance, specialised infantry assault, extraction of troops under fire,
- Internal safety: protection of persons, protection of sensitive sites, counter-terrorism operations
- Evacuation/extraction of refugees in a non-permissive environment,
- Check points, sealing off and participation in zone control,
ARAVIS was developed on internal funds by Nexter Systems starting in 2007 and presented in 2008 at the International Defence Exhibition Eurosatory in paris, France. The Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (French army procurement agency DGA) awarded a contract for the supply of 15 ARAVIS® vehicles and the associated support system to Nexter Systems on 16 April 2009 for use by the French Army as a reconnaissance and escort vehicle for engineer units. The vehicles and the support system were soon delivered, and Nexter Systems trained crews on use and maintenance of the vehicles. The vehicles, armed with Kongsberg cupolas, are intended for use on securing missions along booby-trapped routes. They were operational in Afghanistan in 2010.
Nexter Systems seized the opportunity of the Eurosatory 2010 show to present modifications to the patrol version equipped with a 12.7 mm remotely operated cupola developed in 2008, with the objective of broadening the VBHP (Highly Protected Armored vehicle) market. Laurent Collet-Billon, Delegate General for the French Armaments Procurement Agency (DGA), confirmed February 20, 2012 that the French Defence Company manufacturer Nexter had signed a contract in late 2011 with Saudi Arabia, for "between 100 and 200" ARAVIS 4 x 4 armored vehicle. This is the first export contract for the high protected armored vehicle Aravis, which has been designed, developed and manufactured by Nexter. The ARAVIS for Saudi Arabia would be equipped with a remote weapons system armed with a 20mm Nexter gun ARX-20. Nexter signed an initial contract with Saudi Arabia for 73 Aravis vehicles, while talks continued for potential further orders.
The range of light vehicles, VBHP Aravis may be engaged in a variety of conditions and has been screened in Afghanistan in late 2010. They carry a combat engineer of 7 people insecure area to enable it to perform its duties in the best technical and physiological conditions and to provide excellent combination of self-protection and tactical mobility sufficient to address a mined or booby-trapped area. Its high level of protection is complemented by the action of a jammer IEDs.
To protect the convoy, the VBHP Aravis is equipped with remotely operated turret 12.7 mm Kongsberg which already VAB TOP Afghan and allows the shooter to use his self-defense weapon while remaining protected within the vehicle. For reconnaissance, the VBHP Aravis has, in addition to the turret cameras, 7 peripheral cameras to capture the immediate environment around the vehicle. In addition, anti-rocket kits were acquired protection to protect the vehicle from the threat of increasingly frequent on the theaters of operations.
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