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IDEX 2023: Arquus unveils VBL Mk3

IGG displayed a VBL Mk2 fitted with the Hornet ROWS at IDEX 2023. This was intended to represent what the VBL Mk3 would look like should it enter production. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)

Arquus introduced the Mk3 version of its Véhicule Blindé Léger (VBL) 4×4 reconnaissance vehicle family at IDEX 2023 being held in Abu Dhabi from 20 to 24 February.

The VBL Mk3 was developed in response to a customer requirement for an improved new-build VBL. Although Arquus did not disclose the potential customer for the platform, a representative example of the vehicle based on a VBL Mk2 was displayed at IDEX 2023 by the Abu Dhabi-based International Golden Group (IGG), which helps to market foreign systems to the UAE Armed Forces.

Speaking to Janes on 21 February, Marin Tollet, press manager at Arquus, described the VBL Mk3 as a combination of the export-oriented VBL Mk2 and the VBL Ultima upgrade kit that was designed to extend the service life of the French Army's VBL fleet. The Mk3 takes the upgraded powerpack consisting of a more powerful 130 hp Peugeot DW10F diesel engine and automatic transmission, reinforced front and rear double wishbone suspension, and new anti-skid braking system from the VBL Ultima, while the dashboard and central tyre inflation system (CTIS) originate from the VBL Mk2. The vehicle is also fitted with an air-conditioning system and thermal insulation to improve crew comfort.

Like previous generations of the VBL, the VBL Mk3 can accommodate a number of different armaments including a crewed protected weapon station or a remotely operated weapon system (ROWS) armed with either a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun (MG) and an optional launcher for an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

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