French Scorpion gets moving
The French arms procurement agency, the DGA, has awarded a contract for its first installment of vehicles under the Scorpion programme.
A temporary business group formed by Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales was contracted for the production and delivery of the initial 319 Griffon and 20 Jaguar 6x6 armoured vehicles for French Army on 21 April.
The contract includes logistics support and training services. The first Griffon will be delivered in 2018 and first Jaguar in 2020 in line with the latest Military Programming Law. The contract was notified just before the first round of the country's presidential election.
France plans to order a total of 1,722 Griffon multi-role vehicles in five different variants to progressively replace VAB 4x4s, and 248 Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicles to replace ERC-90D Sagaie and AMX-10RCR and VAB MEPHISTO vehicles.
The French Army originally received 3950 VABs, of which 2660 are still in service, Jean-Yves Le Drian said on 8 December 2016.
Scorpion was initiated to upgrade the army's so-called GTIA combined arms tactical battlegroups. Under the first stage of the programme 780 Griffon vehicles will be delivered out to 2025 and the remaining vehicles will be commissioned under the second step, from 2023-2035. 110 Jaguar vehicles are planned to be delivered during first step of Scorpion.
The first GTIA equipped with Griffon will be ready in 2021 and will continue to use existing AMX-10 RCR vehicles with first Jaguar-equipped deployable GTIA scheduled to integrate with a Scorpion-equipped brigade in 2023. The last Jaguar vehicle is due to be delivered in 2032.
The DGA told Shephard on 24 April that the fleet will include 1,022 troop carriers in four sub-versions (with Safran KIF integration kit for troops equipped with Felin dismounted soldier system; 81 mm mortar carrier; precision rifles teams; and man-portable anti-tank system), 333 control and command vehicles, 196 ambulances and 117 artillery observation vehicles.
The Griffon effort also covers engineer and repair vehicles in three sub-versions, believed to make up the remaining 54. A 120 mm mortar carrier variant of Griffon eventually armed with TDA Armements 2R2M mortar system also is planned as part of MEPAC project.
The first Griffon vehicles in troop transport configuration version or Griffon VTT will be delivered from late 2018, with the type's initial operational capability planned for 2021.
Standard electronic and sensor payloads include: Thales' CVCS vetronics network based on the company's Vsys-Net electronic architecture and mission system, BARAGE jammer and Antares situational awareness and laser warning system; Atos SICS communication and information system; Thales CONTACT tactical radio; Metravib PILAR V acoustic gunshot detection system; and Elno ELIPS intercom system.
Griffon is also fitted with the Safran BOT electro-optical tri-sensors payload interfaced with a video processing unit and a Safran Epsilon 10 INS (except for VOA vehicles).
Weapons systems include the Panhard Defense T1 remote weapon station with 12.7 mm machine gun, FN Herstal MAG58 7.62 mm machine gun or Heckler & Koch GMG 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, as well smoke grenade dischargers and two rear-mounted light machine guns.
Other equipment includes a climate control system; rear view camera; CBRN protection system and with automotive systems comprising a 400hp Renault MDE8 diesel engine; ZF Friedrichshafen EcoLife series automatic transmission; autonomous hydro-mechanical suspension by Quiri; and axles by Texelis.
The artillery observation variant Griffon VOA will be fitted with the Thales GO12 battlefield surveillance radar; a telescopic mast-mounted Safran Paseo electro-optical sight; and provision for Thales ATLAS artillery C2 system.
The Jaguar will mount a T40M two-man turret from Nexter Systems that is fitted with the CTA International CTAS 40 mm gun; and one retractable launching pod that can launch two MBDA MMP anti-tank guided missiles with a storage/handling system for another two missiles.
It also has a Panhard T2 remote weapon station with a FN Herstal MAG58 7.62 mm machine gun; Paseo video sight integrated to weapon station and direct optical sight for the commander. The gunner also has a Paseo sight and direct optical sight. There is also an automatic weather station; grenade launchers; an onboard simulation system; digital multifunction screens for commander and gunner; and commander's digital periscopes.
Automotive systems include a 500hp diesel powerpack from Renault coupled to automatic transmission from ZF Friedrichshafen, axles by Texelis and active suspension by Quiri.
Like Griffon, Jaguar also includes CVCS, SICS, CONTACT, BARAGE, ELIPS, Antares and PILAR V systems. Together with their standard mine and ballistic protection suite, both vehicles can be fitted with anti-RPG slat armour and add-on armour fully compliant with NATO STANAG 4569 standard.