From high-intensity combat missions to peacekeeping operations, the VBCI keeps an entire infantry section safe. VCBI is “Combat Proven” and is currently deployed in operation. VBCI represents the best balanced solution between protection, firepower, mobility and payload. VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, “Soft Kill” systems. It is fitted with CBRN equipment.
The VBCI (French denomination of “Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie)”) is a French wheeled armoured infantry fighting vehicle designed and manufactured by the French Companies Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense. The VBCI is designed to replace the old tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicle AMX-10P, who is currently used by the mechanised units of the French Army.
Development of the AMX-10P infantry fighting vehicle began in 1965, however its production began only in 1973. Over 2 000 of these IFVs were built for the French army and for the export customers. Despite its age the AMX-10P is still in service with France. Other operators are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arab Emyrates. The AMX-10P is being replaced with the new VBCI.
|Dimensions and weight
||2 x MILAN launchers (optional)
||1 x 7.62-mm
||– 8 to + 50 degrees
||10 x MILAN missiles (optional)
||2 000 rounds
||Hispano-Suiza HS-115 diesel
|Maximum road speed
|Amphibious speed on water
AMX-10P data military-today.com
In November 2000, the French Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to Giat Industries and Renault VI (now Renault Trucks) for the first 65 vehicles (54 VCI – including 12 with the Eryx missile system – and 11 VPC). A joint venture company, Satory Military Vehicles, was set up by Giat and Renault Trucks to be responsible for the VBCI and a number of other vehicles. Renault has responsibility for the mobility systems, including the driver’s station, engine, gearbox, suspension and axles and on-board electrical networks. Giat is responsible for the armoured hull, interior furnishing, assembly and integration of the turret and vehicle, observation, command and control, weapons and self-protection systems.The first two prototypes were completed in May 2004. Five prototypes have been delivered, four VCI and one VPC, and are undergoing qualification trials. One is taking part in operational trials with the French Army. Serial production is underway and the first three production vehicles were delivered in May 2008, two IFV and one command variant.
Qualification was granted by the DGA in March 2008 and the VBCI has now gone into series production. On 5 December 2008 , the DGA placed a supplementary order with Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense for 116 vehicles. This order brings the total number of vehicles ordered to date to 298 VBCIs. The DGA has accepted the first 49 vehicles in accordance with the initial schedule. In September 2009, The Minister of Defence, Hervé Morin, today announced an order for 332 VBCI armoured infantry combat vehicles for the Army. The order was awarded by the defence procurement agency, Délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA) to a joint venture company owned by Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense. This latest order increases to 630 the number of VBCIs on order for the Army, as specified by the White Paper on defence and national security. The total cost of the VBCI program, including development and pre-production, is 2.86 billion euros. (approx. $4.1 billion).
Around one hundred vehicles are being produced annually for France, but the assembly line could deliver at a significantly higher rate, to meet any possible export requirements. The basic simplicity of the VBCI means that the production line could also be transferred, in the event of export contracts involving local provisioning, production and/or integration.
In December 2009, GTD and Nexter Systems have signed a shareholder agreement under which a Spanish joint venture will be formed within the next few weeks. One of the main tasks of the new company will be to fulfil the contract for the Spanish “Vehiculo Blindado Ruedas 8×8” (VBR 8×8) programme to replace the existing BMR vehicle.
– VPC : (command post vehicle) is equipped with a terminal information system (SIT) FINDERS®, developed by Nexter Systems, a regimental information system (SIR), developed by EADS, and a remotely controlled 12.7 mm cupola. 150 VPCs have been ordered for the French Army.
Le Véhicule Blindé de Combat et d’Infanterie / Post de Commandement – Image: armyman.info
– VBCI : (infantry fighting vehicle) can be equipped with 20mm RWS, 25mm, 30mm, or 40mm medium-calibre turret and a 7.62 mm MG. The rank VBCI is also available in mortar and Eryx (short-range, anti-tank missile system) versions, and can also be equipped with 25 to 105 mm turrets, or even a 120 mm low-recoil. 550 « rank » version VCIs have been ordered by the French Army.
VBCI infantry fighting vehicle
– VTT : (Troop Transport Vehicle) is designed to transport troops. It has an interior volume of 13 m³ and can carry a 2-man crew and up to 10 soldiers with their equipment. The VTT is sized to meet export requirements and is currently being considered by several national armies.
VTT (Troop Transport Vehicle) – Image: shephardmedia.com
– Other types of utility vehicle can also be produced, based on the same platform: Ambulance, Repair vehicle. Mine Clearance, etc. The total possession cost is optimized with the use of a single platform common to all variants.
The VBCI in the French Army is equipped with with a one-man Nexter Dragar turret armed with a dual feed 25mm NATO cannon type 25 M811 with 150 rounds in the turret and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. In all weather conditions, the Tarask® turret provides the dismounted combat units with effective fire support. The Nexter 25 M811 cannon delivers 50% more firepower than any 20mm weapon. The VBCI IFV can be equipped with turrets up to 40mm, AFV with 90mm to 105mm gun turrets. The 25 mm gun fires in single round, three rounds, ten rounds and free burst firing modes with rates of fire at 125 rounds a minute and 400 rounds a minute. The gunner is equipped with a multisensor optronic sight that includes a direct day optical channel, a thermal imager, a laser range finder and video channel linked to the weapon fire control system.
Nexter Dragar turret
Nexter Systems Dragar one-man turret armed with a Nexter Systems 25 mm Model 811 dual-feed cannon which has 175 rounds of HE and 45 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition for ready use. A 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxial to the 25 mm cannon on the right side of the turret and has 200 rounds of ready use ammunition.
The DRAGAR turret is light and compact to preserve cross-country, carrying and amphibious capabilities. The modular ballistic protection, low profile and lack of highly inflammable hydraulic system (all-electric drive) ensure enhanced battlefield survivability. In all weather conditions, the DRAGAR turret provides the dismounted combat units with effective fire support. The 25 Model 811 cannon delivers 50 per cent more firepower than any 20 mm weapon. The DRAGAR turret enables accurate on-the-move firing and provides for self-defence against low-level air threats. It is fully interoperable with NATO standard 25×137 mm ammunition (STANAG 4173).
DRAGAR turret Source army-guide.com
Designed as a modular one-man turret with in-chassis commander’s station, the Tarask® turret meets the growing requirements for Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) combining high mobility with superior payload, high levels of protection and firepower.
The Tarask® turret features lightweight and compactness characteristics that preserve the armoured vehicle’s performance especially in terms of mobility, amphibious capabilities and carrying capacity.
Its modular ballistic protection, low profile and the absence of highly inflammable hydraulic system (all-electric drive) ensure enhanced battlefield survivability.
In all weather conditions, the Tarask® turret provides the dismounted combat units with effective fire support. The Nexter 25 M 811 cannon delivers 50% more firepower than any 20mm weapon.
Tarask protected turret comprise a 25mm M811 gun, a coaxial MAG-58 7.62mm light machine gun, MOP (Moyen d´Observation Panoramique) panoramic day/night stabilized observation sight, GALIX smoke grenade launchers, LIRE (Leurre Infra RougE) wire-guided missile jammer, Catherine XP thermal imager, HL 503 episcopes and an auxiliary power unit.
HL 503 episcopes
The HL 503 is a daytime observation periscope designed to equip a turret characterized by a large field in azimuth and optimized transmission
- total field in elevation (vertical): 23 °
- total field in azimuth (horizontal): 140 °
- optical transmission:> 35%
- Resolving power: <50%
- Laser protection: optional
- Episcopic height: 210 mm
Status: In operational service on Nexter VBCI
The Tarask® turret enables on-the-move firing and ensures self-defence against low-level air-threats.
France has procured 520 VBCI VCI infantry fighting vehicles equipped with TARASK turret.
|Main weapon caliber (mm)
|Rate of fire (rds/min)
|Auxiliary gun calibre (mm)
|Planes of gun stabilization
|Traverse arc (degree)
|Ammunition of the main gun
|Ammunition of the auxiliary gun
Tarask® turret Source army-guide.com
VBCI-2 in IFV with Nexter Systems T40 turret armed with a CTAI 40 mm CTAS: Details
25mm cannon type 25 M811
The Giat Industries 25 mm Model 811 automatic gun has been developed as a private venture for installation in new turrets or retrofitted to older turrets.
The Giat Industries Dragar turret has also been installed for trials purposes on the Giat Industries VEXTRA (8 x 8) technology demonstrator.
In the future, the Dragar turret, armed with the 25 mm Model 811 cannon may be installed on the French Army’s future VBCI (8 x 8) armoured fighting vehicle.
The 25 mm Model 811 is an externally powered weapon utilising a cam arrangement to time and drive the internal mechanism and it fires standard 25 x 137 mm ammunition.
Ammunition feed is dual and the rate of fire can be selected between the low one (125 rds/min) and high one (400 rds/min).
Modes of fire, which can be selected using the electronic controls fitted to the gun are single shot, limited bursts or unlimited bursts. It is possible to start up, operate and service the weapon without firing ammunition.
The recoil load is 1,500 daN which makes it suitable for mounting on armoured or unarmoured vehicles. The user can select electric (24 V) or hydraulic drive.
According to Giat Industries, the accuracy of the 25 mm Model 811 is such that all rounds will hit a 1.5 m diametertarget at a range of 1,500 m. Terminal effect of the 25 mm APDS-T round is equivalent at 1,500 m to that of a 20 mm round at a range of 1,000 m. The explosive mass of the 25 mm HE round is three times that of a 20 x 139 mm round.
Types of ammunition fired include APDS-T, HEI, HEI-T, SAPHEI, TP and TP-T, which comply with STANAG4173.
- The M791 APDS-T cartridge possesses the superb accuracy and penetration necessary to defeat today’s threats. Its high velocity, coupled with a low time of flight, assures effective performance at extended ranges.
- The M792 HEI-T cartridge offers the accuracy and lethality needed for light materiel, anti-personnel and fire-suppression roles. This cartridge features the M758 Point Detonating Self-Destruct Fuze developed and produced exclusively by ATK.
- The M758 provides superior arming delay, graze and extended-range sensitivity, and self-destruct.
- The M793 TP-T is a low-cost, target practice cartridge, ballistically matched to the M792 HEI-T round.
- The M910 TPDS-T is a training cartridge designed to specifically match the trajectory of the APDS-T round but with a desired range limit.
- The PGU-32/U SAPHEI-T round provides aerial and surface gun platforms with improved effectiveness against soft and light armored targets. This round is qualified for use on the AV-8/B Harrier and MK 38 Navy weapon systems.
- The PGU-25 HEI is an untraced round that is used on fixed-wing aircraft, such as the AV-8/B Harrier and AC-130 Gunship. It uses the M505 point-detonating fuze.
- The PGU-23 TP is a low-cost, untraced target practice cartridge ballistically matched to the PGU-25 HEI.
|Main weapon caliber (mm)
|Life of gun (rounds)
|Muzzle velocity (m/s)
|APFSDS effective firing range (m)
25 mm Model 811 cannon Source army-guide.com
Coaxial MAG-58 7.62mm light machine gun
The FN MAG is a Belgian 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, designed in the early 1950s at Fabrique Nationale (FN) by Ernest Vervier. It has been used by more than 80 countries, and it has been made under licence in countries such as Argentina, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. With 200,000 units delivered so far and over 80 countries around the globe adopting it, the MAG™ medium machine gun is definitely a worldwide standard known under various designations: MAG58, GPMG, L7A1 and M240.The FN Mag or M240 (American designation) was adopted by the U.S. Military following a worldwide competition in search of a reliable 7.62x51mm NATO machine gun. With pistol grip, carry handle and fixed buttstock, the M240 B is today’s “go-to” medium machine gun for all branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
– Model 60-20: machine gun for infantry troops
– Model 60-40: coaxial machine gun for armoured fighting vehicles
– Model 60-30: aircraft variant
Image: Jean Thomas RembertFN MAG Model 60-40 & GALIX smoke grenade launcher : coaxial machine gun – Image: Jean Thomas Rembert
|– 7.62x51mm NATO
|Lenght : 1,263 mm
Weight : 11.79 kg
Rate of fire : 650 – 1,000 rds/min
Magazine : rounds Belt
|80 countries in the world
|FN Herstal and identification number on the right side of the weapon
|Security selector on the pistol grip, secure and firing position.
|Effective: 800 m
Maximum: 1,500 m on tripod
|Lenght: 630 mm
FN MAG Source armyrecognition.com
AFV with 90mm to 105mm gun turrets
GALIX smoke grenade launcher
GALIX smoke grenade launcher : coaxial machine gun – Image: Jean Thomas Rembert
GALIX features an analysis block and a control block (with the latter one being manual or automatic), up to 24 mortar-like launchers for decoys and less-lethal ammunition, with a low elevation setting (10° in most cases). Three variants of the control system are proposed. For light vehicles, an autonomous GALIX system has been designed, with an option of manual launch.
For the combat vehicles, in case of which the crew has no time to deal with suddenly emerging threats, a fully automated variant of the system is proposed. In such case, the system reacts to signals delivered by a variety of sensors used on the platform, including, above all, Laser Warning Sensors.
Moreover, a version for a “group protection” vehicles has been developed. Here, the launchers may also be utilized to provide protection toothers vehicules , operating nearby. Such suite is developed in line with the MIL-STD 1275 D norm, with 28V DC power supply.
The variants differ by the quantity of launchers: 6-8,12 or 24 depending the version. Secondly, the said versions have also different analysis block which in case of the combat and “covering” vehicles may be operated in a fully automated manner. GALIX system, dedicated to be used in case of combat and “covering” vehicles, is also tailored to cooperate with warning systems and also GPS or weather station, among other devices.
FASCU automatic control block of the GALIX system – Image Credit: Defence24.pl (defence24.com)
Ammunition for “Active” and “Passive” Operations
Galix suite is not only for the purpose of self-defence (passive action) but also to actively act against the people of adverse stance. This is possible due to the fact that the Lacroix company proposes a wide variety of munitions which may reduce the effectiveness of opto-electronic observation systems, and act against the enemy personnel or hostile crowd (e.g. flashbang grenades).
GALIX suite utilizes six grenade types. From the left: GALIX-4, GALIX 19/19R, GALIX 46, GALIX 17 I, GALIX 17 and GALIX 13 grenades. Image Credit: Lacroix (defence24.com)
At the moment, seven types of grenades are offered. They differ in size and in charge:
- GALIX 13 (length – 330 mm, weight – 4.5 kg) – Multi-spectral combat smoke grenades;
- GALIX 17 I (length – 265 mm, weight – 3.7 kg) – Multi-spectral training smoke grenades;
- GALIX 17 (length – 330 mm, weight – 4.5 kg) – Reloadable training smoke grenades;
- GALIX 19/19 R (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.2 kg) – Sound grenade for crowd management;
- GALIX 46 (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.4 kg) – Crowd dispersal grenade (with a kinetic, acoustic and smoke charges, causing irritation);
- GALIX 29 (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.2 kg) – Flashbang grenade for crowd management; This ammunition is under development
Two GALIX 13 and a single GALIX 17 I (in the middle) grenades. Image Credit: Defence24.pl (defence24.com)
Translated by google Galix suite data defence24.com
CATHERINE XP – LW QWIP fire control thermal imager
• Spectral band: 8-12μm (LWIR – the proven
solution for the battlefield) or 3-5μm (MWIR)
• Cooled technology
• Full MIL Spec
• Compatible with AFV Fire Control applications
• Long range surveillance and target acquisition
• Day and Night + Adverse conditions
• Ability to see through barriers such as vegetation, camouflage netting…
• World leader outside US market for Thermal Imager for AFV
• The most complete range of Thermal Imagers
Eurosatory 2014: Nexter displays VBCI with 30 mm OWS: Here
Nexter Systems develops new 40 mm turret family: Here
The hull and the turret of the VBCI Nexter Systems are composed by Welded steel and aluminium, who offers a protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.
VBCI has a boxy, flat-bottomed hull form – surprising in these IED-conscious times but not unique among CCV candidates. The VBCI’s hull is distinct from other CCV entrants in its all welded-aluminum construction.
To improve VBCI ballistic and IED protection, steel or titanium panels are bolted on top of the aluminum hull armour (rather like the CF’s TLAV ).
To increase the protection, the welded steel and aluminium alloy hull is fitted with spall liners and add-on titanium armour plate to protect against anti-tank weapons. The box structure floor and running gear provide protection against exploding mines.
The VBCI’s level of protection outclasses that of all existing 8×8 vehicles, with its high strength alloy hull and its add-on metal armour. Structurally, the VBCI provides a very high level of protection against conventional munitions (medium calibre fire, shell shrapnel).
It is also designed to resist improvised explosive devices (IED) and very powerful mines, and also has an infra-red decoy system. Finally, its significant additional weight margin means that the VBCI protection remains upgradeable, and will soon be reinforced by active protection against rockets (type RPG), HE shells and anti-tank missiles.
French Army receives last upgraded VBCIs: Here
The French Army took delivery of the last upgraded Nexter Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) 8×8 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the service’s spokesperson recently told Jane’s .
Ninety-five out of a total of 520 29.3-tonne Véhicule de Combat d’Infanterie (VCI) infantry fighting vehicles were modified to the 32-tonne version – 48 under a June 2013 contract and 47 under an August 2014 contract. The contract for the development of this version was awarded by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French procurement agency, to Nexter and Renault Trucks Defense on 20 December 2010. Qualification of the new version was announced on 24 September 2014.
The VBCI Nexter Systems is motorised with 550hp diesel engine with an in-line six-cylinder configuration and automatic gearbox are installed in the front right of the vehicle. In-line transmission is by four central axles protected by armoured housings.
The VBCI is a 8 wheel drive configuration, the 8×8 configuration breaks with the tradition of tracklaying Infantry Combat Vehicles, to combine maximum ballistic and anti-mine protection with very high mobility. The VBCI offers a range of 470 miles and a maximum road speed of 60 mph. The vehicle can be driven with seven wheels if a wheel is lost by mine explosion.
The VBCI Nexter Systems is equipped with night/day vision for the commander and the gunner. The commander has a remote display from the gunner’s sight equipped with an override control suite allowing the commander to operate the turret and weapons.
Loading a VBCIs in the hold of the A400M: Here
Chargement d’un VBCI dans la soute de l’A400M – Image: defense.gouv.frImage: rpdefense.over-blog.com
A400M Military Transport: Here
The vehicle is road and railway gauge compatible and is air transportable on an Airbus A400M. The Nexter Systems VBCI can cross fording in a depth of 1.20 m without preparation and 1.50 m with preparation.
Due to its high level of protection, its mobility and its modularity, the VBCI Nexter Systems (Armoured Infantry Combat Vehicle) remains, more than ever, at the core of land forces action doctrines. Feedback from present theatres of conflict shows that land forces missions have become more diversified, and are tending towards targeted environment control actions that are reversible and limited in their use of force, but which can be significantly reinforced if necessary.
Image: RP Defense – Overblog
The VBCI is a fully developed product, produced by a group of companies, formed by Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, that meets these operational requirements in terms of strategic, operational and tactical mobility, and also in terms of protection and configuration changes, to meet the requirements of various types of mission.
The VBCI has already been deployed in a large range of missions abroad from peacekeeping (Lebanon, CAR) to counter-insurgency (Afghanistan) or more conventional combat operations (Mali), further demonstrating its in-built operational versatility and efficiency of its 25mm weapon system. VBCI’s ability to operate in a very wide variety of terrain and extreme weather conditions have been further demonstrated during a series of operations, most notably in desert conditions, covering more than 4200km by 50°C without failure.
|From RWS up to a one or two-man operated turret, from 7.62mm MG to 105mm gun, air-defence, mortars, AT missiles / Observation, sighting and firing capability from the commander station in the hull and in the turret
|Fire control system with laser ranging and IR camera, NBC protection, centralised tyre pressure system
|Up to 14 men
|Ballistic protection provided by the aluminium alloy hull with the modular add-on armour including top attack. Protection against RPG (modular add-on armour). High protection against mine effects
Protection against lEDs (blast, fragments, EFP)
|100 km/h on road
|Lenght, 7,80 m; Width, 2,98 m; Height, 2,26 m
Main material source armyrecognition.com
Updated Sep 21, 2017