Thales will provide various electronic system for the Belgian Army’s new armoured vehicles being procured from France, the company announced.
According to the company, Thales will be in charge of common combat vetronics, including communications, onboard computing and decision support solutions, and perimeter vision, self-protection and navigation systems.
Recently, the French defence procurement agency (DGA), on behalf of Belgium, has awarded a contract to Nexter for the supply of 60 Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicles (EBRC) and 382 Griffon multi-role armoured vehicles (VBMR). The contract was awarded following the CaMo (Capacité Motorisée, Motorized Capacity) government-to-government agreement signed by France and Belgium at the end of 2018.
The new vehicles will be delivered to Belgian Land component between 2025 and 2030 and will replace its Piranha IIIC armored personnel carriers (APCs), Pandur I reconnaissance vehicles and Dingo 2 infantry mobility vehicles.
Nexter relies on two strategic French subcontractors, ARQUUS and Thales, as well as Belgian manufacturers, including FN Herstal and CMI, via cooperation agreements for the project. 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 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.
Thales’ contribution for the Belgian CaMo project:
As with France’s Scorpion programme, Thales will provide the comprehensive range of data capabilities needed to engage the vehicles in collaborative combat. This includes the common vetronics, which leverages onboard computing power, ties together all the navigation, protection, observation and communication systems, and provides comprehensive in-vehicle data management and data fusion capabilities.
The CONTACT software defined radio (called SYNAPS in export markets) provides the real-time communications needed for the forces to operate as a network.
Thales will also provide the ANTARES 360° vision system, with its integrated laser warning function and future incoming missile detection capability, to display local situation awareness on a screen inside the vehicle.
The ECLIPSE new-generation active counter-IED system is built around a new-generation jammer that prevents improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from being detonated by remote control. Thales’s TopAxyz inertial navigation system, which will equip the Jaguar vehicles, is used to measure platform attitude and position even in the toughest operational conditions.
The systems are connected to the central information system and limit the exposure of combatants to potential threats, giving units a decisive advantage and extending their intelligence gathering and response capabilities. The fact that these information and communication systems are part of this initial capability opens up numerous possibilities for other CaMo capabilities, in that dismounted infantry would be able to exchange information securely and in real time with all other assets in the battlespace to access information from other combatants and vehicles.
“Thanks to Thales’s contribution to this programme, Belgium’s new vehicles will have all the latest technologies required for land combat. Thales’s expertise in vehicle digitalisation and connectivity is helping to propel Belgium’s operational capabilities forward into the future”, Marc Darmon, Executive Vice-President, Secure Communication and Information Systems.
VBMR Griffon & EBRC Jaguar Armoured Vehicles
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 originally 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.
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.