Nexter, Arquus and Thales, members of the temporary grouping of companies EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), were notified on 15 September by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) of the second production phase of the contract to build the Griffon and Jaguar armoured vehicles for the French Army’s SCORPION program.
The 42 Jaguar and 271 Griffon vehicles ordered under the notification will be delivered between 2022 and 2023 as scheduled in the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law. The first order in 2017 consisted of 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars.
Among the new features, this tranche includes the delivery of the first Griffon Artillery Observation Vehicles (VOA) and Griffon Sanitary (SAN), which will join the Troop Transport Vehicle (TTV) and Command Post Vehicle (CPV) versions.
These new deliveries will contribute to the Army’s ramp-up of the Scorpion program. The arrival of this new equipment, with the highest levels of protection and mobility, will provide users with new operational capabilities. Collaborative combat, for example, consists in connecting all the Scorpion program’s info-enhanced vehicles in real time. The firing start detectors, telemetry tools and the many sensors integrated on the Griffon and Jaguar communicate together to contribute to the decision making of the vehicle commander. The Jaguar’s highly integrated and digitized turret and its innovative weapons, such as the CTA40 40 mm telescopic gun, the MMP medium-range missile and the Hornet remotely-operated turrets, considerably broaden their field of action. In short, these latest-generation vehicles benefit from the latest technologies and innovations in the land-based field.
The notification of this order comes in the third quarter of a year 2020 marked by the health crisis. Despite the events and constraints, the three companies have met their commitments, with 51 Griffon already delivered this year, joining the 92 Griffon delivered in 2019. Nexter, Arquus and Thales have made the necessary investments in the development and industrial qualification of the vehicles, and in parallel are continuing to recruit, notably engineers specialized in digital technologies.
As Stéphane Mayer points out, on behalf of the three companies, Arquus, Thales and Nexter (of which he is CEO), “the program partners are very satisfied that this order, which is included in the last military programming law, is being strictly respected. We are fully engaged to meet our commitments to the French Ministry of Defence by developing, delivering and supporting the high-performance equipment that is expected”.
By placing this order, the DGA also guarantees the continuity of production for many of the program’s suppliers. The production of the Griffon and Jaguar will generate nearly 2,000 highly qualified jobs each year, spread over 5 employment pools, for 3 years. Thus, the defense industry confirms its driving role in the economic recovery and contributes to the sustainability of industrial activity in France.
In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Arquus, the program also involves Safran for the optronics and armament of the Jaguar, CTA International for its 40mm gun and MBDA for its MMPs.
VBMR Griffon and EBRC Jaguar
The VBMR Griffon multi-role armored vehicle (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle, VBMR) and the EBRC Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle (Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat, EBRC) were developed for the French Army under the Scorpion program.
The vehicles are based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and use standard commercial truck engines. They share 70% of its components and are being developed by a consortium of Nexter, a company of Franco-German KNDS Group (KMW+Nexter Defense Systems); Thales; and Renault Trucks Defense.
VBMR Griffon can carry up to eight infantry soldiers and will replace French Army’s ageing fleet of VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) 4×4 armoured personnel carriers, which have been operational since 1976.
The Griffon is equipped with a remote weapons station that can be armed with either a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The addition of two MMP anti-tank guided missiles is optional. Eight launchers for smoke grenades are fitted to the remote weapon station, which also includes a acoustic sniper locating system.
The vehicle comes in several versions: troop transport, command post, observation for artillery and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
EBRC Jaguar, as an armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle, will replace the French Army’s VCAC (Véhicule de Combat Anti-Char, HOT missiles equipped VABs), AMX 10 RC and ERC 90 Sagaie reconnaissance and fire support vehicles.
The Jaguar’s primary weapon, mounted in a two-man turret, is the CTA International CT40 cannon firing 40mm case telescoped ammunition with a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and a maximum range of 1,500 meters. Two MMP anti-tank guided missiles are fitted to the turret launcher with two reloads stored inside. It also carries a 7.62mm remote controlled machine gun mounted on top of the turret and eight smoke grenades.
Belgium has ordered 60 EBRC Jaguar and 382 VBMR Griffon armored vehicles. The new vehicles will replace the Belgian Army’s Piranha IIIC armored personnel carriers, Pandur I reconnaissance vehicles and Dingo 2 infantry mobility vehicles, and will enter service between 2025 and 2030.