8x8 VBCI (Véhicule blindé du combat d' infanterie) - Program
VCI ( véhicule de combat d'infanterie - Infantry Fighting Vehicle)
VPC ( véhicule de Poste de Commandement - command post vehicle)
GIAT demonstrated the latest VBCI prototype at Eurosatory 2006. The French army took delivery of the first VBCI infantry combat vehicle in May 2008. The national qualification was pronounced in mid-2008 after this intense Integrated Qualification Plan phase. Integration on the first series vehicles began at the end of the first half of 2008 and the first 20 units were delivered to the army in July 2008. The GME was thus able to carry out training phases for future military instructors. The production phase then accelerated to reach a rate of about 10 vehicles per month in complete security. The assembly line located in Roanne was completely reorganised to optimise integration times. VBCIs are thus assembled on a 5-station line dedicated to specific operations, the first station being used to assemble drive train equipment when the body is in the upside down position to facilitate operator working conditions, before turning the equipped body over. One body arrives at this first station every 2 days.
The year 2009 was marked by a major contract in the program in which all production phases were made official and broken down into contracts, industrially securing the production workload of these vehicles. These contracts revised the total number and distribution of vehicles based on 520 VCIs and 110 VPCs ordered. The first two production phases have been delivered and the 200th VBCI delivered to forces during June 2010. The French procurement agency, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), took delivery of the 400th VBCI armored infantry fighting vehicle for the French Army in July 2012. Of 630 vehicles ordered by the French Army, the French Army had four versions: Infantry Fighting Vehicle; Mortar vehicle; Anti-tank missile (ERYX) vehicle; and Command Post Vehicle. The final vehicle will be delivered by DGA to the French Army in 2015. The VBCI is assembled at Nexter’s industrial facility in Roanne at a rate of 100 vehicles per year, according to DGA.
With a height of three meters and a normal combat weight of 25 tonnes, these 8x8 wheeled vehicles present an imposing force on the Afghan battlefield. The aluminium hull of the VBCI, with its modular THD steel and titanium armour, has repeatedly proven itself to be the match of all improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Although the vehicles have sustained severe damage--in one case, the loss of three road wheels--all VBCIs were able to extricate themselves from ambush sites under their own power. While some French soldiers have been lightly wounded during these engagements, not a single fatality has been incurred among crewmembers of a VBCI. As for mobility, despite the fact that it is a wheeled armoured vehicle, the VBCI was custom-designed to accompany France's Leclere Main Battle Tanks into combat. As such, it possesses the ability to traverse the same challenging terrain as that of a tracked vehicle.
It was these qualities that Canada was seeking to acquire with the Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) procurement project. When the CCV was first announced in 2009, the criterion for the 108-vehicle fleet required that it be a battle-proven, well-protected infantry fighting vehicle, capable of operating in conjunction with our Leopard 2 main battle tanks on future battlefields. Normally, it would be specified in the competition criteria whether the new vehicles would be either tracked or wheeled. In this case, Canada kept both options open.
Nexter Systems, the manufacturer of the VBCI, felt so confident in their design that they submitted two variants for consideration in the Canadian CCV competition. The first variant was the VBCI-25--essentially the same infantry fighting vehicle model currently in service with the French army in Afghanistan. This proposed solution offered a 25mm M811, dual-feed automatic gun, along with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun in an all-enclosed one-man turret. The second vehicle submitted by Nexter was the VBCI-30, which combines the standard chassis and drive train with a new two-man HITFIST power-operated turret made by Oto Melara, the Italian defence company with factories in Brescia and La Spezia. It was founded in 1905 as Vickers Terni. During the Great War, Vickers Terni produced many weapons with calibre 40 mm and upwards. As indicated by the designation number, this model packs a Mk44 30mm main gun.
Testing on the CCV contenders began in August 2011, with a variety of tests conducted at both CFB Valcartier, Quebec, and at the esteemed American facility in Aberdeen, Maryland. Up against the two Nexter VBCI models were the BAE Systems Hagglunds CV90 (tracked infantry fighting vehicle) and the General Dynamics Piranha (wheeled infantry fighting vehicle). In late March of 2012 this year, the three CCV bidders were called to Ottawa and notified that all four of the submitted vehicle designs had failed to meet the requirements. While DND procurement officials had hoped to work through the discrepancies with the cooperation of industry, the fairness monitor presiding over major defence projects ruled that it was too late to effect a bid repair. As a result, a request for proposal (RFP) for the CCV has been re-issued and the competing companies will have to start the whole process again from scratch.
A 32-ton version of the infantry fighting vehicle was certified on 24 September 2014, compared with the initial 29-ton model. The increased weight is intended to deliver greater protection against mines, improvised explosive devices and rockets, and allows future upgrade.
8x8 VBCI (Véhicule blindé du combat d' infanterie) - Specifications
- UNRIVALLED OVERALL SURVIVABILITY
- Ballistic protection provided the aluminium alloy hull with modular add-on armour (RPG, IED, top attack, etc.) or Hard-Kill type protection
- Mine protection
- Protection against IEDs (blast, fragments, EFP)
- Stealth (low radar and thermal signature)
- Soft-kill protection (infra-red jammer system, smoke-grenade launchers, etc.)
- CBRN protection
- REMARKABLE COMBAT EFFICIENCY
- Mobility performance of tracked vehicles off-road and of-wheeled vehicles on-road
- Air transportable by RCAF CC-177
- Exceptional manoeuvrability including in urban areas
- Crew comfort for a complete infantry squad (spacious interior, meets international occupant size criteria, low noise and vibration levels, air conditioning)
- Easy embarking and disembarking
- High fire power