The Direction générale de l’armement (DGA, French defence procurement agency) will deliver on June 23rd the 200th véhicule blindé de combat d’infanterie (VBCI, armoured infantry fighting vehicle) to the French Army. The VBCI is produced by Nexter Systems in association with Renault Trucks Defense. The DGA ordered all in all 630 VBCIs. The programme, including the development and the industrialization, amounts to 2,86 billion euros.
The first VBCI went out of factory in 2008, the last ones will be delivered by the DGA to the French Army in 2015. The VBCI is assembled on the Nexter’s industrial site of Roanne in the Center of France, at the rate of a hundred vehicles a year. The VBCI program represents more than 8 million working hours for Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and their subcontractors.
The VBCI meets the current operational requirements of protection and evolution capacities. A 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicle, designed to replace the AMX 10 P, it exists in two versions: Command Post Vehicle (CVP) and Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The IFV version, of which 520 were ordered by the DGA, is equipped with a 25 mm turret and accommodates eleven soldiers. With a maximum combat weight of roughly 30 tons, the VBCI reaches a 100 kph top speed. It will be airportable in the A400M military transport aircraft. A real "home" for the infantrymen, the VBCI offers a high level of protection, of which a system of NBC filtration. It is equipped with an armoured structure resisting average calibre rounds and shrapnel. It also offers high protection against land-mines and improvised explosive devices and it has infrared decoys.
The 35th Régiment d’infanterie (based in Belfort, East of France), first combat unit equipped with this new armoured vehicle, will deploy two groups of VBCI in Afghanistan this summer.