8x8 VBCI (Véhicule blindé du combat d' infanterie)
VCI ( véhicule de combat d'infanterie - Infantry Fighting Vehicle)
VPC ( véhicule de Poste de Commandement - command post vehicle)
The 8x8 VBCI (Véhicule blindé du combat d' infanterie - Armoured Vehicle for Infantry Combat) exists in a command post version (VPC) and infantry combat version (VCI). The VBCI designed as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle to accompany main battle tanks under the most extreme conditions. The VBCI represents a balanced solution between protection, performance and payload. The 8x8 VBCI infantry combat vehicle developed by GIAT will replace the AMX-10P in French service. The VBCI vehicle is produced by a consortium made up of Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense.
VBCI is a highly protected and armed combat vehicle with excellent mobility to transport, protect and support infantry combat troops and their command means. Its technical characteristics make it easier to satisfy the needs of armed forces projected to the different operation theatres and facing increasingly severe threats in high intensity combat situations, and also in an urban environment and in peace-keeping missions.
A version of VCI (Infantry Combat Vehicle) is designed for the transport, protection and fire support of combat troops in armoured cars and tanks brigade infantry regiments. It is thus provided principally with a 25 mm turret and a rear compartment designed to hold 8 infantrymen in stealth fighting gear, in addition to the 3 crew members including the commander who will have to disembark with his combat group. Another version called the command post vehicle (VPC) will hold the Regimentary Information System (SIR) to transport and protect infantry unit command means, and Leclerc tank unit command means. The VPC has a 12.7 mm remotely operated cupola.
Special care has been taken with command, communication and testability aspects of the vehicle system function. All VBCI functions are thus done through computers connected to a CAN data bus and the different system status information is retransmitted to crew members on their display desks (PCH for the commander, PCT for the gunner and EICU for the driver). Isolated improvements have been made to the vehicle for its projection into Afghanistan, particularly for protection against mines and RPG 7, and for use of the turret by the adoption of a special laying version adapted to use of the turret in the forward direction and MINIMI light machine guns by servants in the rear direction.
VBCI (infantry armored combat vehicle) platform will be presented in its highly Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) version. This APC (called P6) can be used to carry a complete "digitized" combat group, with all its equipment, under unequaled comfort and protection conditions. The P6 is protected, in particular, against rockets of the RGP type by a combination of Nexter SlatAlu and RUAG Sidepro armor systems. The vehicle's weapon system consists of a remotely operated 12.7 mm cupola. Direct external all-round vision is achieved by means of a CEPIA system (enhanced episcope ring).
A great deal of work and many firing tests have been done on the ballistic protection of VBCI, both on targets and on firing bodies containing dummies. Protection in direct firing is based on a thick aluminium structure on which armoured plates have been added, as a function of the threat. Special care has also been taken with protection against mines, by the placement of an anti-mines caisson under the body, a liner covering the inner compartment and on the internal architecture, particularly by avoiding fastening any equipment on the floor. Obviously, NBC protection is provided and the machine is capable of using the firing function in this NBC environment. Stealth was also considered in the design, particularly in terms of architecture and the shape of the walls, in order to effectively reduce thermal and radar signatures.
VBCI power train comprises 8 driving wheels, 4 steering wheels and 2 declutchable wheels for urban travel. It is provided with a 550 hp propulsion unit with an automatic gear box, a hybrid oil-pneumatic/mechanical suspension with large movement and a central tyre pressure regulation system also fitted with a deflation limitation system. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 100 kph on the road and its unrefueled range is 750 km. Obviously, it can be air transported by an A400 M.
VCI firing function uses a 25 mm gun capable of firing two types of munitions (explosive and piercing) at rates of 400 rounds/min and 125 rounds/min in individual rounds, limited or unlimited bursts. The gunner and the commander in the chassis can both trigger the firing function, and the commander has command priority over his gunner. The commander and the gunner use the same control systems and see the same reproduced images.
There are three observation means located on VCI, there is a gunner sight (VTI) provided with a day, night vision, a direct optical vision and a laser range finder, a panoramic observation means fitted on the turret roof and providing a thermal proximity vision to the commander and the gunner, a panoramic day sight that will provide day vision to the commander only. The commander's sight is in direct optical line and images from the gunner sight and the panoramic observation means are reproduced on the commander's and gunner's monitors.
The system also enables a complete set of modes in which the turret is automatically rallied to these observation means and vice versa, and to the episcopes. Finally, the VCI has a 7.62 secondary weapon co-linear with the 25 mm weapon powered and controlled by the commander or the gunner. Consequently, the vehicle has a large carrying capacity because all compartments in the body can be used to hold equipment forming part of the payload. Baskets have also been placed outside to position additional non-sensitive loads. This carrying capacity does not reduce ergonomy because all servant stations have been sized for populations in the 95th percentile in the 2010s. The corresponding inside volume is thus of the order of 13 m3.
On the occasion of the first edition of the DEFEA exhibition, that was held in Athens from July 13 to 15, 2021, Nexter presented the VBCI Philoctetes for the first time. This is a complete infantry combat system, armed with a remotely operated 40mm CT (cased telescoped) turret from CTAi and a medium range missile launcher (MMP) from MBDA. It meets the Greek army's requirements for mobility, protection, modularity and firepower. Named Philoctetes, in reference to the mythological hero of the Trojan War, the vehicle was displayed on the stand (Hall 3 - D17A) in the livery of Greek military machines.
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