France orders WASP weapon system
The French defence procurement agency (Direction Générale de l'Armement or DGA) has ordered 100 of Panhard and Sagem’s WASP turrets.
As part of an urgent operational acquisition, the remotely controlled weapon system is being purchased to be used on the French Army’s Petit Véhicule Protégé (small protected vehicle, or PVP) and Vehicle Blinde Leger (light armoured vehicle, or VBL), Panhard said in a statement on 21 February.
The PVP was designed for ‘protected tactical liaison missions’ and the VBL is described by Panhard as the ‘spearhead of the French armour units’.
Operated from inside the vehicle, the ‘light, robust and compact’ WASP (Weapon under Armor for Self-Protection) is fitted with a MAG 58 7.62mm machine gun and, according to the statement, is coupled to a day/infrared sight and observation scope derived from the FELIN soldier modernisation system developed by Sagem.
WASP responds to the requirement in asymmetric theatres for improved protection for soldiers, providing the capability to engage enemies while armoured.
Featuring a small visual signature, the system has an elevation described by Panhard as ‘unlimited’, and is therefore suited to both urban and mountainous terrain.
An additional ‘fusion function’ for daytime and thermal channels provides the daytime ability to ‘see through’ camouflage.
The WASP was developed in 2008, and a naval version, the Sea WASP, developed primarily to protect against the asymmetrical threat of ships docked or operating offshore, was unveiled in October 2010.
By Shephard staff
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