Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense have teamed to respond to the French MOD request for proposal (RFP) for the VBMR programme, designed to provide the French Army with a modern, multirole, 20 ton range 6×6 wheeled armored vehicle.
The teaming extends the cooperation of the two companies on both domestic and international programs. The joint announcement stated the two companies agreed on the leadership of the domestic program but did not state who will be the program lead for VBMR.
Both companies were awarded R&D contracts and feasibility studies in 2010 to deliver a platform demonstrators with full mobility, as well as conceptual armor protection suits and are expected to deliver the technology demonstrators in the next two years.
The two companies developed technology demonstrators for quite a while. Nexter explored the XP-2 technology demonstrator and Renault was evaluating its own 6×6 design, called AMC, along with a potential VAB upgrade.
France intends to spend around one billion euros to deploy about 1,000 VBMR vehicles beginning 2016 to replace about 4,000 véhicule avant blindé (VAB), currently operational, providing the backbone of the French mechanized forces. The two companies were also competing separately on the EBRC armored armed reconnaissance vehicle, in which Panhard is also competing as a third player.
This teaming agreement means the two companies will be able to secure parts of the program to sustain their production lines after 2014, as the current production of VBCI comes to an end and the retirement of Renault’s VAB is expected to begin.
The teaming marks an important milestone in the French armored vehicle market. With the PVP procurement coming to an end, the third French armored vehicle manufacturer Panhard will now be dependent exclusively on winning the EBRC to survive.