Nexter Systems (Stand CP-240) has completed production of 630 Vehicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) (8x8) for the French Army, with 520 in the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) configuration and 110 command posts (CP).
The company is now upgrading early production vehicles for the French Army to allow them to operate at a gross vehicle weight of 32 tonnes. The upgrade includes a new drive line and reinforced suspension, and each of the dismounts is now provided with a plug-in link for its FELIN future infantry soldier system. Current vehicles have a 550hp Volvo engine, but the vehicle has already been tested with a 600hp Volvo diesel.
While the French Army VBCIs are fitted with a one-person turret armed with a 25mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun (MG), other armament solutions are possible. French Army CP vehicles are fitted with a remote weapon station armed with a .50 M2 HB MG. If a heavier weapon system is wanted, a VBCI has been successfully tested with the Nexter Systems T40M two-person turret armed with a CTAI 40mm CTAS and 7.62mm MG.
Nexter Systems stressed to Jane’s IDEX Show Daily that its VBCI was combat proven having seen action in Afghanistan, Mali, Central African Republic and Lebanon (with the UN). In Mali, the VBCI showed its strategic mobility by being deployed over a distance of 2,500km under its own power and without the assistance of heavy equipment transporters.