French Army took delivery of the first VBMR Griffon multi-role armored vehicle during a ceremony at Nexter’s facility in Satory, Yvelines on July 4.
During the ceremony, Florence Parly, France’s Minister of the Armed Forces, announced that an additional 150 VBMR Griffon vehicles will be ordered, bringing the total to 1,872 units to be delivered to the Army by 2030.
According to the contract, a total of 92 vehicles are to be delivered to the Army in 2019. Ms. Parly added that the delivery rates will be increased so that fully 50% of the vehicles of the program are delivered to the Army by 2025.
Griffon is a multi-role armored vehicle (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle, VBMR) being developed for the French Army under the Scorpion 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.
VBMR Griffon is based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and can carry up to eight infantry soldiers. It 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 localisation 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 4×4 version of VBMR Griffon, called Lightweight VBMR, to the French Army.
Belgium has recently 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.