The French defense procurement agency, DGA qualified the command post vehicle (EPC) variant of the Griffon armoured vehicle on Nov. 13.
The first examples of the Griffon EPC variant are currently being submitted for acceptance by the DGA’s quality department at the Roanne site. The three first GRIFFON EPC, that have been delivered to the Army technical section (STAT), will continue the operational evaluation of this equipment with its rapid deployment within the regiments in sight.
The EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles) temporary consortium comprised of companies Nexter, Arquus and Thales is fully mobilized on the production of the first 20 series GRIFFON EPC vehicless to be presented to verification operations by the end of 2020. Ultimately, the French Armed Forces’ SCORPION program calls for the acquisition of 333 units of this variant, half of which will be delivered by 2025.
The GRIFFON EPC can accommodate a pilot and a gunner in the front, and five soldiers in the rear of the vehicle. From an external point of view, the silhouette of the EPC does not differ from the VTT Félin (troop transport vehicle) variant. Only the armament changes, with the integration on the roof of a new-generation T2 remotely operated turret armed with a 7.62mm caliber. Inside, on the other hand, the GRIFFON EPC is fully equipped to accommodate a command post: communication means, large screens, a board and a printer. This variant is designed to accommodate latest-generation electronic equipment for collaborative combat: the vetronics common to the SCORPION platforms, the CONTACT joint radio, the SCORPION Combat Information System (SICS), the ANTARES optronic system offering the crew a 360° vision of the environment, as well as a gunfire location detector (or SLA, for Acoustic Localization System). In addition, the air-conditioning system adapts to all environments to guarantee crew’s comfort and the proper functioning of onboard electronics.
Thanks to its level of protection and mobility, the EPC variant of the GRIFFON enables a command post to be deployed quickly at the heart of operations. The force commander can thus conduct an engagement or monitor the progress of a regimental or brigade-level action. The arrival of the GRIFFON EPC is complementary to the GRIFFON VTT Félin, with the goal of projecting a joint battle group (GTIA) into a foreign theatre of operations by 2021.
VBMR Griffon is a multi-role armored vehicle (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle, VBMR) being developed for the French Army under the EBMR Scorpion (Engin Blindé Multi-Rôle, Armoured Multi-roles Vehicles) program along with the EBRC Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle (Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat, EBRC).
The two vehicles share 70% of its components and are being developed by a consortium of Nexter, Thales, and Renault Trucks Defense (now Arquus) in partnership with French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, “Directorate General of Armaments”).
VBMR Griffon is based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and can carry up to eight infantry soldiers. It will replace the French Army’s aging fleet of VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) 4×4 armored 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 an acoustic sniper localization system.
The vehicle has an overpressure system to maintain constant over-pressure in the troop compartment against chemical, biological and radiological threats. For service in hot climates, the Griffon is equipped with air conditioning.
Currently, six versions of the Griffon are planned, with four of these (Armored Personnel Carrier, Command Post, Ambulance, and Artillery Observer) ordered in the first tranche. Last year, Nexter and another company, Texelis was awarded a contract to deliver a 4×4 version of VBMR Griffon, called Lightweight VBMR, to the French Army.