FN Herstal, a Belgian subsidiary of the Herstal Group, will manufacture and deliver its latest generation deFNder remote weapon stations (RWS) to be fitted on Belgian Army’s new VBMR Griffon multi-role armored vehicles.
A strategic contract for the delivery was signed between FN Herstal and the French defense major Nexter in the framework of the Belgian CaMo (Capacité Motorisée or Motorized Capability) program for the modernization of the Belgian Army’s ground mobility capability.
The contract between FN Herstal and Nexter, prime contractor in the French consortium in charge of the program, results from the intergovernmental agreement between France and Belgium that confirmed their decision to form a long-term strategic partnership in the field of ground mobility. This contract also includes the supply to the French Army of the same type of weapon stations for its Leclerc main battle tank (MBT) modernization program.
Philippe Claessens, CEO of the Herstal Group (FN Herstal – Browning): “This contract is a new strategically important step in the plan for the expansion of the Herstal Group, and enables us to enter a highly symbolic Franco-Belgian partnership for the construction of a European Defense capability.”
FN Herstal said in a statement that this contract may lead to new opportunities derived from Nexter’s international programs and for maintenance contracts in the future.
Belgian CaMo Program:
Under the CaMo program, Belgium is procuring 442 armored vehicles – 382 VBMR Griffon multi-role armored vehicles and 60 EBRC Jaguar armored reconnaissance and combat vehicles. The armored vehicles being procured by Belgium will be identical to those ordered by France, under the SCORPION program, which maximizes cooperation and allows interoperability between the two Armed Forces.
The final assembly of the Belgian VBMR Griffons will be done by CMI Defense in Belgium and that the turret of the EBRC Jaguars will be produced by FN Herstal. MECAR, the Belgian Nexter Group subsidiary, will be in charge of producing part of the ammunition.
The new vehicles will be delivered to Belgian Land Component (Belgian Army) between 2025 and 2030 and will replace its Piranha IIIC armored personnel carriers, Pandur I reconnaissance vehicles and Dingo 2 infantry mobility vehicles.
The VBMR Griffon multi-role armored vehicle (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle, VBMR) was originally developed for the French Army under the Scorpion program.
The vehicle is based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and use standard commercial truck engines. It is 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 is replacing 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.