High-mobility vehicles delivered to DGA
France’s defence procurement agency (DGA) has taken delivery of the first the first high-mobility vehicles (French acronym VHM) earlier this month, as part of a 2009 contract with Swedish company Hägglunds AB, a BAE Systems company. The DGA made the announcement in a 25 November 2011 statement.
In total 53 VHMs were ordered by the DGA. Together with the French company Panhard, Hägglunds AB has developed the vehicles to meet the specific weapons, radios, and information system requirements of the French Army.
The VHM is a tracked armoured vehicle weighing 14 tonnes, 7.6 meters long and comprising two articulated modules linked by a special assembly which allows it to cross terrains that are impracticable for wheeled vehicles. As a result it can avoid roads or other conventional itineraries which can be easily identified and mined with improvised explosive devices.
The vehicles will be delivered in three variants including command post, logistic transport and troop carrier. In total each vehicle can carry up to 11 Felin-equipped soldiers with their individual and squad weapons; and depending on the version, the VHM can be fitted with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun for self-defence. It provides protection against small-calibre rounds, infantry rocket launchers, mines and improvised explosive devices.
According to the DGA the vehicles were accepted in September 2011 after eight months of intensive trials, and the vehicle has been tested on all kinds of terrain, including snow, sand and marshes. Deliveries are due for completion by the end of 2012.
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