Armor: December 30, 2000


France has ordered the first 65 VBCI 8x8 wheeled infantry combat vehicles out of an eventual purchase of 700. The $312 million contract was issued to a joint venture between GIAT and Renault; if all 700 are built, the purchase will reach $1.7 billion. (Renault will build the engine while GIAT builds the vehicle and integrates the systems.) The wheeled VBCI will replace the older AMX-10P infantry fighting vehicle. Production will begin in 2004 with the first deliveries in 2006. The first batch will include 54 infantry fighting variants and 11 command post variants. The French plan to order 100 per year until they have as many as they need. In related news, the French army has ordered another batch of 96 Leclerc tanks, bringing total orders to 306 out of an eventual purchase of 406.--Stephen V Cole


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