Armor: November 28, 2000


The French government has given GIAT and Renault a contract for 550 VBCI 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carriers (LAV, or Light Armored Vehicle) and 150 command post variants of the same vehicle. The contract will exceed $1 billion. The French will probably expand the contract to 1,000 vehicles before the production run is complete. The first deliveries will take place in 2005 and the first battalion will be equipped in 2006. The 25.6-ton vehicle has a crew of three and can carry eight infantry troops. The turret mounts a 25mm cannon and a 7.62mm machinegun. Later production of the vehicle will include two anti-tank variants, one with the Eryx short-range missile and the other with the Milan medium-range missile. The engine is mounted at the front right, the driver at the front left, and the troops in the rear. The command post variant will weigh 23.3 tons and have a crew of two, with five staff officers in the back.--Stephen V Cole


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