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VBCI
VCBI-openphotonet PICT6027.JPG
A VBCI during the Journées Nation Défense, 2005
Place of origin  France
Specifications
Weight (normal combat load); VCI: 25.6 t, VPC: 23.3 t
Length 7.6 m
Width 2.98 m
Height 2.2 m
Crew 2 + 9-man combat team

Armour steel and titanium
Primary
armament
M811 25 mm x 137 mm NATO cannon
Secondary
armament
co-axial 7,62 mm NATO machine gun
Engine Diesel
550 hp (410 kW)
Suspension Wheel
Operational
range
750 km
Speed 100 km/h

The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI, "Armoured vehicle for infantry combat") is a French armoured fighting vehicle designed to replace the AMX-10P. They are planned to join active service in 2008, with 550 combat vehicles (VBCI/VCI) and 150 command vehicles (VBCI/VPC). Other countries like Spain [1] have shown interest in the VBCI.

The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie is built on an aluminium hull which carries a modular THD steel and titanium armour, which can be replaced in the field. The 8x8 wheel combination is designed to make the VBCI more comfortable and less costly than a tracked vehicle, while giving it sufficient mobility to back the Leclerc tank. The VBCI is also designed to be transportable by the Airbus A400M, with an empty mass less than 18 tonnes (full load mass up to 28 tonnes).

Contents

History

In the early 90s, the French government started the VBM (Véhicule Blindé Modulaire — Modular Armoured Vehicle) as a replacement for its older IFVs. Soon, Germany and the United Kingdom joined the project. However, in 1999, the programme came to a dead-end, and France decided to follow on its own.

On November 6, 2000, the French government ordered 700 vehicles and the programme was carried on. In 2003-2004, the programme reached some major milestones: The mobility/agility tests, the armour tests and the electronic systems tests were all successful. From 2004 to 2005, the first 5 prototypes (4 VCIs and 1 VPC) were tested in real conditions. These tests proved some crucial design mistakes on the DRAGAR turret, which had to be redesigned. The 2 years delay in the programme are consequences of this design flaw.

As the programme reaches completion, other versions are being studied. A mortar version and a vehicle using the MILAN Missile have been considered by the developer. Note that none of these versions are being developed as of now, but feasibility studies are being conducted. In June 2007, VBCI was being considered for the British FRES programme.[2]

On October 2007, the DGA ordered 117 VBCIs, bringing the total ordered so far to 182 out of a total requirement for 700; the first vehicle for the French Army was assembled two months later.[3] The first unit to be equipped with the new infantry fighting vehicle was the 35th Infantry Regiment in Belfort.[4] The DGA ordered an additional 117 vehicles on December 2008, bringing the total ordered to 298 of which 41 have already been delivered.[5]

Comparison with contemporary vehicles

Below is a comparison between some modern IFVs including the VBCI:

Comparison of some modern IFVs
Flag of Egypt.svg Fahd-280-30[6][7] Flag of Ukraine.svg BTR-3U [8] Flag of France.svg VBCI[9] Flag of Canada.svg LAV-25[10] Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Type-92 IFV[11] Flag of Russia.svg BTR-90[10][12]
Weight 10.9 t (12.0 short tons) 16.4 t (18.1 short tons) 26 t (29 short tons) 12.8 t (14.1 short tons) 12.5 t (13.8 short tons) 20.9 t (23.0 short tons)
Primary armament 30 mm (1.2 in) 2A42 automatic cannon 30 mm (1.2 in) Dual-feed cannon 25 mm (0.98 in) NATO dual feed cannon 25 mm (0.98 in) M242 chain gun 30 mm (1.2 in) Auto cannon [1] 30 mm (1.2 in) 2A42 automatic cannon
Secondary armament 7.62 mm (0.300 in) FN MAG machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) M240 machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) PKT machine gun
Missile armament (Range) AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres) AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres) - - - AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres)
Road range 700 km (430 mi) 600 km (370 mi) 750 km (470 mi) 660 km (410 mi) 800 km (500 mi) 800 km (500 mi)
Maximum velocity (on road) 100 km/h (62 mph) 85 km/h (53 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph) 85 km/h (53 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph)
Capacity (maximum) 3 crew + 7 passengers 3 crew + 6 passengers 2 crew + 9 passengers 3 crew + 6 passengers 3 crew + 9 passengers 3 crew + 9 passengers

Versions

VBCI 501556 fh000010.jpg
  • VCI (infantry combat vehicle): Combat group of 9 men (+ crew), medium calibre Dragar type turret (25 mm), 7.62 mm machine gun.
  • VPC (command post vehicle): 2 SIP stations with 7 users (+ crew), self-defence turret armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun.

Common features for both version include SIT (Système d’Information Terminal) communication equipment, combat identification equipment, and NBC detection and protection equipment.

C4ISR

The VBCI will be completely integrated in the French C4ISR capability. The VCI version will use the SIT (Système d’Information Terminal — The lowest level of C4IST in the French forces), while the VPC will use the SIR (Système d’Information Régimentaire — A higher level in the same system).

The vehicle will be designed to primarily carry soldiers equipped with the Félin system.

DRAGAR Turret

The DRAGAR Turret (GIAT INDUSTRIES) is a single seat modular design turret integrating a 25 mm stabilized gun. Fire control integrates a laser telemeter and a thermal camera. The rate of fire is up to 400 rounds/min, and the turret allows anti-air self-defence. It also includes a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun for close defence and a Galix grenade launching system.

See also

References

External links

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