French Defense awards Scorpion development contracts worth €752 million

The Scorpion program provides the combat and support systems for the modernisation of the French Army combined arms Battlegroups (GTIA) beginning in 2018. The contract estimated to be worth about €5 billion for the three companies is split into development, manufacturing and life cycle support phases

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The VBMR is a 24.5 ton mine protected armoured vehicle designed to carry and support an infantry squad in the battlefield.
The VBMR is a 24.5 ton mine protected armoured vehicle designed to carry and support an infantry squad in the battlefield.
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French Minister of defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, formally awarded the Scorpion contract to representatives of the GME consortium today at Varces barracks, during a visit to the 27th mountain infantry brigade and the 93rd Mountain Artillery Régiment. (Photo AFP)

The French ministry of Defense has awarded a development and production contract for nearly 2,000 armoured vehicles of two new armoured vehicles to be built jointly by the GME consortium formed by Nexter, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales. The two vehicle types – called ‘Griffon’ and ‘Jaguar’ are both part of the French land forces modernisation program known as ‘Scorpion’. Almost 2,000 vehicles will be delivered to the French Army beginning in 2018, along with a new electronic and C4ISR architecture, weapon systems and associated logistical support equipment.

The contract estimated to be worth about €5 billion for the three companies is split into development, manufacturing and life cycle support phases, the first contract worth €752 million covers development work on 6×6 and 4×4 véhicule blindé multirole (VBMR) troop carriers, now named Griffon, and the 6×6 engin blindé de reconnaissance et de combat (EBRC) combat vehicle called Jaguar.

EBRC is the future combat vehicle to replace three types of wheeled combat/ reconnaissance vehicles currently in service - the AMX-10RC, ERC Sagie and the VAB HOT tank hunter.
EBRC is the future combat vehicle to replace three types of wheeled combat/ reconnaissance vehicles currently in service – the AMX-10RC, ERC Sagie and the VAB HOT tank hunter.

Upon delivery, Griffon will replace VAB, while Jaguar will replace several types of armoured combat vehicles such as the AMX10RC, ERC Sagaie and VAB Hot – all combat vehicles produced in the 1970s and 80s and used extensively by the French Army in all theatres of operation for thirty years.

The program funds the total production of 1,970 vehicles – including 1,722 VBMR Griffons and 248 EBRC Jaguars.

The Scorpion program will also provide a new command, control and networking system (designated SICS V1), to be shard by the future force. The program will also fund the S1 modernisation of 200 Leclerc tanks, to be fitted with new veronicas and embedded simulation for enhanced training experience. This task is planned to begin in the year 2020.

The BMX01 Renault Trucks defense has built for the Scorpion under the risk reduction demonstration phase, as displayed during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Noam Eshel, defense-Update
The BMX01 Renault Trucks defense has built for the Scorpion under the risk reduction demonstration phase, as displayed during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Noam Eshel, defense-Update

In addition to Nexter, Thales and RTD, that have joined forces under the GME consortium, the program also involves Sagem Defense of the Safran Group, as the electro-optics system provider for the EBRC, CTA International a joint venture between Nexter and BAE Systems, providing the 40 mm gun and MBDA providing the medium range Missile (MMP) which will also be used on board. The program is expected to support about 1,000 new jobs in its development phase and 1,700 jobs in its production phase.

The T40 turret Nexter is developing for the ERBC integrates the CTA 40 mm cannon, MMP missiles (carried in armoured containers on the turret sides) and remotely operated 7.62mm machine gun on the top. The turret also mounts multiple optronic systems supporting the different weapons. The T40 was shown by Nexter for the first time during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The T40 turret Nexter is developing for the ERBC integrates the CTA 40 mm cannon, MMP missiles (carried in armoured containers on the turret sides) and remotely operated 7.62mm machine gun on the top. The turret also mounts multiple optronic systems supporting the different weapons. The T40 was shown by Nexter for the first time during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update