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Serval design seeks to underscore mobility, protection

Details of the Serval 4×4 armoured fighting vehicle, designed and manufactured by Nexter and Texelis, were revealed at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference in late January in London.

The first few of a planned 15 prototypes are complete and undergoing a series of factory and off-road trials, and variant qualification is expected to begin in 2021 and continue until 2023, according to a joint presentation by Michael Duckworth, head of export sales at Nexter, and Jean Vandel, managing director of Texelis. They added that there are as many as 25 variants of the vehicle planned for the French Army.

By 2025 the companies anticipate that 689 Servals will have been delivered, and by 2032, they anticipate orders could reach at least 2,000 platforms, which alongside the 6×6 Griffon are to replace the VAB in French service.

A rendering of a production standard Serval with the Hornet RWS and a 12.7 mm MG. (Nexter)

A rendering of a production standard Serval with the Hornet RWS and a 12.7 mm MG. (Nexter)

The Serval is designed to provide the French forces with a mobile and protected vehicle that can be transported over long distances and create a balance between mobility, payload, and protection, the pair explained. It is built to provide an infantry squad of 10 95th-percentile men with protected mobility for over 24 hours. The requirement for long distance strategic deployment, and the vehicle name, originates from Operation ‘Serval’ in 2013, in which French forces flew 3,500 km to Mali before driving 1,000 km to engage insurgents in the north of the country, Duckworth noted.

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