The Direction générale de l'armement (DGA), the French armaments procurement agency, on 30 December awarded a contract to a consortium composed of Nexter, Arquus, and Thales for 54 MEPAC 120 mm self-propelled mortar carrier versions of the Griffon 8×8 multirole heavy armoured vehicle, Thales announced in a press release on 24 January.
MEPAC will be equipped with the Thales Rifled, Recoiled, Mounted Mortar (2R2M) system. The company said the mortar, which features a semi-automatic loading system and rifled barrel, would increase the mobility, precision, and protection of the French Army.
The DGA and the three companies have been working on the design of MEPAC since November 2018. Thales said the rear compartment of the Griffon will be modified to accommodate the 2R2M, its crew, and mortar rounds. In addition, roof hatches will be installed so the top of the vehicle can be opened and closed as need be. A joint French Ministry of Defence-army-DGA fact sheet on MEPAC said the mortar could be operated under armour and placed in and out of battery nearly immediately.
After qualification of MEPAC, the first vehicles are scheduled to be delivered to the DGA by the end of 2023, with deliveries continuing until 2027.
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