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France receives first Servals

France's Ministry of Armed Forces received its first four Serval VBMR-L light multirole armoured vehicles on 5 May. (DGA)

France's Ministry of Armed Forces received its first four Serval Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle Léger (VBMR-L) 4×4 light multirole armoured vehicles on 5 May. The Direction générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, ordered 364 Servals from Nexter and Texelis at the end of 2020.

The DGA reported on its website on 5 May that the first four vehicles were delivered to the 51e Régiment d'Infanterie's (51st Infantry Regiment's) joint combat preparation support centre in Mourmelon, northern France.

The Serval, along with the Jaguar 6×6 armoured reconnaissance vehicle, the Griffon 6×6 Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle (VBMR) heavy multirole armoured vehicle, and the Griffon Mortier Embarqué Pour l'Appui au Contact (MEPAC) self-propelled 120 mm mortar carrier, are being developed under France's SCORPION army transformation programme. Nexter said in a press release on 5 May that the Serval would equip France's response forces and be deployed during the initial phases of an operation. The DGA expressed a priority for equipping light brigade infantry units with the vehicles, for example the 11e Brigade Parachutiste (11th Parachute Brigade) and the 27e Brigade d'Infanterie de Montagne (27th Mountain Infantry Brigade). The Serval will also support deployed forces. Two Servals in combat mode can be transported by an A400M aircraft, according to Nexter.

The company said the 15–17 tonne Serval exists in three main variants – patrol, intelligence and reconnaissance, and communications relay – available in many sub-versions. Janes understands that the first four Servals delivered were the infantry sub-version, which has a crew of two and can carry eight troops equipped with the Félin soldier system. Janes

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