New French-Belgian 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle to enter service in 2030
Pre-design work has been scheduled to begin on the French-Belgian VBAE 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle, setting the platform on target for potential entry into service by 2030.
The companies designing the vehicle, Arquus and Nexter, a KNDS company, signed a pre-design contract with Europe’s Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation (OCCAR) on 6 December.
OCCAR has been responsible for setting up and managing the programme. The deal marks the first step towards converging of the operational requirements and architecture of the future armoured vehicle.
For France it will replace the VBL (Light Armoured Vehicle) which has been in service since the late 1980s and for Belgium it will represent an additional step in the development of its motorized capacity by reinforcing its reconnaissance and C2 capabilities.
Shephard Defence Insight noted the French MoD has not disclosed the number of platforms to be required nor the amount of funding to be allocated to the VBAE programme. However, estimates suggest as many as 2,000 VBAEs could be acquired for EUR2 billion (US$2.3 billion).
The vehicle is likely to have a similar capability and standard to the Oshkosh/AM General Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the Arquus Scarabée (Scarab), 4x4 armoured vehicle developed for reconnaissance and scouting missions, may form the basis of or a starting point for development of the VBAE.
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