The French defence procurement agency (DGA) awarded the MEPAC contract to the Nexter-Arquus-Thales consortium to deliver VBMR Griffon mounted mortar systems, on Dec. 30, 2019.
This MEPAC (Mortier embarqué pour l’appui au contact, “mounted mortar for front-line fire support”) contract covers the delivery of 54 additional Griffon multi-role armored vehicles (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle, VBMR) equipped with Thales’s 120-mm 2R2M (Rifled Recoiled Mounted Mortar) system, reaching the total number of Griffon vehicles on the SCORPION program to 1,872 in accordance with the Military Planning Law 2019-2025. This is the sixth contract amendment on the SCORPION program to the consortium.
Since consultations began in November 2018, the three industry partners have worked together and with the DGA to design a new version of the vehicle concept with artillery capabilities.
This is the first time the French Army will field the 2R2M, which is already in service in four other countries. The mounted mortar system will provide added mobility and precision in front-line combat operations as well as better protection for soldiers. In particular, the Thales system has built its reputation on its semi-automatic loading system and the precision of its rifled barrel, and has been combat-proven in numerous theatres of operations. In addition to structural modifications to the system architecture, this new version will include significant changes to the onboard optronics and the vehicle’s mobility systems.
The rear compartment of the vehicle will be modified to accommodate the weapon system, mortar operators and the mortar rounds needed on the mission. Roof hatches will also be installed to open or close the top of the vehicle as the needs of the battlegroup evolve.
Finally, as for the other versions of the Griffon VBMR, the consortium’s value proposition includes a substantial support and configuration management component.
After qualification of the MEPAC variant, the DGA will take delivery of the first vehicles by the end of 2023, with the remaining deliveries scheduled between 2024 and 2027.