To meet potential export requirements for customers who want more firepower, the Nexter Systems VBCI infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is being shown at Eurosatory for the first time fitted with the Italian Oto Melara 30mm Overhead Weapon Station (OWS).
It is armed with the combat proven ATK Armament Systems 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, with the former capable of being modified to fire ATK air bursting munitions (ABMs) for longer range and enhanced target effect.
The French Army is getting 630 VBCIs – 520 in the IFV configuration and 110 in the command post role. The vehicle has already been deployed on operations in Afghanistan, Lebanon and most recently, Mali.
Final VBCI deliveries are due next year, but an upgrade programme is already under way, which will allow a higher gross weight, different weapon options, a more powerful powerpack, and survivability enhancements including various types of bar/ slat armour and increased protection against mines.
As a result of overseas trials, the VBCI has been shortlisted for a number of export contracts in Europe and the Middle East, but none of these customers have made a final downselect and contract award.