The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI, “Armoured vehicle for infantry combat”) is a French Infantry fighting vehicle designed to replace the AMX-10P. They entered active service with the French Army in 2008, with 630 vehicles ordered up to 2010. Other countries like Spain and the UK have shown interest in the vehicle.
The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie is built on an aluminium hull which carries a modular THD steel and titanium armour, which can be replaced in the field. The 8×8 wheel combination is designed to make the VBCI more comfortable and less costly than a tracked vehicle, while giving it sufficient mobility to back the Leclerc tank. The VBCI is also designed to be transportable by the Airbus A400M, with an empty mass less than 18 tonnes (full load mass up to 28 tonnes).
VBCI Nexter: Details
The VBCI 2 is a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle. It is an improved version of the original French VBCI, developed by Nexter Systems. Developers took into account feedback from tests and combat experience of the original VBCI. The Mark 2 was first publicly revealed in 2015. This IFV is aimed mainly at export customers.
The VBCI Mk.2 has a higher level of protection and firepower. The Mk.2 is much heavier than its predecessor. It weights 32,000 kg opposed to 25,600 kg. Vehicle is powered by a new engine.
Even though the new VBCI 2 looks like the older version. In fact it has an all-new hull that is longer and has a higher roofline. The hull is welded of aluminum armor. Vehicle can be fitted with add-on modular steel armor package or even titanium armor plates, so protection level can be tailored depending on mission requirements. All-round protection is against 14.5-mm armor-piercing projectiles. NBC protection and fire suppression systems are fitted as standard.
It seems that this infantry fighting vehicle withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. Interior is fitted with new blast resistant seats. Vehicle can keep on moving if a wheel is lost by mine explosion.
The prototype was fitted with a T40 two-man turret. It is armed with a 40-mm cannon. It is the largest medium-caliber weapon in Europe. It packs much more punch than the original 25-mm cannon of the VBCI. There is also a roof-mounted remotely-controlled weapon station with 7.62-mm machine gun. Furthermore there is provision for anti-tank guided missiles, mounted on each side of the turret. Various missiles can be fitted, depending on customer requirements. It is worth noting that the original VBCI lacked anti-tank guided weapons.
Nexter has been working on a brand new Two-Men Turret based on the Franco-British 40mm Cased Telescoped Weapon System CTWS40.CTWS uses a rotating breech mechanism and Cased Telescoped Ammunition where the projectile is fully or partly buried inside the propellant.
Comparison of CTA cannon and normal cannons notice the CT 40mm is very compact
However production version of the VBCI 2 can be fitted with a number of other turrets. It depends on customer requirements. Alternatively this IFV can be also fitted with remotely-controlled turret, armed with 30-mm cannon. It can be also fitted with a complete turret of the Russian BMP-3.
This wheeled IFV has a crew of 3, including commander, gunner and driver. Some sources report that the prototype accommodates 6 dismounts. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via rear power-operated ramp with integral door.
VBCI-2 Nexter Systems
Vehicle is fully compatible with emerging digitalized battlefield systems, such as combat identification of friendly units. Vehicle has secure data and voice communications. Also it is fitted with vision cameras that cover all 360 degrees. Images can be displayed on commander’s, gunner’s or driver’s stations. There is another display in the troop compartment for the dismounts. Drivers station is fitted with a thermal viewer for operation at night.
Vehicle is powered by a new Volvo D13 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 600 hp. The original VBCI has a 550 hp engine. It seems that this IFV can switch its configuration from 8×8 to 8×6, while moving on hard surface roads.
Hydropneumatic suspension has been upgraded to coupe with increased weight. Two front pairs of wheels are steerable. Also there is an option for the steering on the last pair of wheels. Vehicle is fitted with larger tyres for improved cross-country mobility. Also there is a central tyre pressure system, that improves mobility over different types of terrain. Furthermore this vehicle is capable of negotiating various terrain obstacles at high speed. However the VBCI Mk.2 still can not match tracked vehicle in terms of cross-country mobility.
The VBCI 2 can be airlifted by the Airbus A400M or similar military cargo aircraft.
Variants of the VBCI 2 might include armored personnel carrier, command vehicle and armored recovery vehicle. In 2014 an improved troop carrier version of the original VBCI with similar improvements was revealed that paved the way for the VBCI 2 infantry fighting vehicle.
|Personnel||6 ~ 8 men|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Length||~ 7.8 m|
|Width||~ 3 m|
|Height||~ 3 m|
|Machine guns||1 x 7.62-mm|
|Engine||Volvo D13 diesel|
|Engine power||600 hp|
|Maximum road speed||~ 100 km/h|
|Range||~ 750 km|
|Vertical step||0.7 m|
|Fording (with preparation)||1.5 m|
Source: Military Today, Warfare Web Blogspot, Wiki