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France's new UNAC RIDER ATVs paradropped during exercise

RIDER ATVs participated in Exercise ‘Manticore', held in south central France from 16 September to 7 October. (SIRPA Terre)

France's new UNAC Rapid Intervention Droppable Equipment for Raiders (RIDER) all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) participated in Exercise ‘Manticore', held in south central France from 16 September to 7 October by French Army special forces, 11th Parachute Brigade and 4th Air Combat Brigade. A French Army spokesperson told Janes on 12 October that the ATVs were transported and paradropped by A400M transport aircraft during the exercise.

The Direction générale de l'armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, announced on its website on 22 September that it had ordered the last 180 of 300 RIDER ATVs foreseen by France's Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM) 2019–2025 military funding programme. The EUR44 million (nearly USD43 million) contract was awarded on 30 August and also includes the last 100 of 172 trailers foreseen by the LPM 2019–2025, plus 10 years of support.

The RIDER ATV is equipping the French Army and special forces, with the first two ATVs having been delivered on 19 April.

The DGA expects eight RIDERs to be delivered in 2022, with deliveries continuing until 2027.

The RIDER can be transported or paradropped from C-130 and A400M transport aircraft and carried by Caracal and NH90 helicopters as a sling load.

The ATV weighs two tonnes and can move in terrain inaccessible to other 4×4 vehicles. It can tow a 120 mm mortar or equipment weighing up to 400 kg. It does not have electronic systems to avoid irreparable breakdowns during operations, according to the DGA.

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