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5 février 2013 2 05 /02 /février /2013 16:55

VBCI - French Army in Afghanistan with flexible wire cage R

 

05/02/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

The French Army's now got its first FELIN-enhanced VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie) infantry fighting vehicle.

 

Building on the basic design of the French Army's AMX-10P replacement vehicle, it's been modified to support the needs of up to 11 French troops wearing FELIN soldier systems, giving them recharge points and the ability to operate their electronic Manpack systems whilst onboard it.

 

This first FELIN-capable VBCI was supplied to the French Army by DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement) - the agency tasked with purchasing and overseeing the delivery of new military technologies to the French Army, Air Force and Navy.

 

The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie has been in French Army service since 2008 and the order book currently stands at 630 examples. Protected by 1.45 centimetre-thick armour, the VBCI has a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour and a range of 750 kilometres.

 

VBCI IFV

 

The VBCI IFV's primary armament is a Nexter Systems M811 25mm cannon, backed up by a co-axial 7.62mm machine gun and while the VBCI current equips only France, Spain is reportedly also keen to acquire some examples.

 

"Offering a high level of protection against various threats, it is a true 'base camp' for the infantryman on the battlefield", DGA representatives explained. "For its part, the FELIN soldier system provides a quantum leap in terms of protection, observation, communication, use of weapons, mobility and support for combat soldiers in direct contact with the enemy."

 

VBCI FELIN Upgrades

 

The DGA added: "Eventually, all VBCIs will be adapted for FELIN, either directly on the Nexter production line for the remaining vehicles, or by retrofit in regimental workshops for the 445 VBCI produced since 2008."

 

FELIN - standing for Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés (translated: ‘Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications') is the French Army's new-generation dismounted soldier system. It made its frontline debut in September 2010 and, to date, more than 20,000 have been ordered.

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