July 29, 2015:
Unable to afford a replacement France has hired a major automotive manufacturer to refurbish most of their 1,600 VBL 4x4 armored scout cars so they will last until 2030. This four ton vehicle has been around since 1990, is mainly used by French force but over 500 have been exported to more than a dozen countries. About half of these are still in service. In 2011 Russia agreed buy 500 VBLs for internal security (Ministry of Interior troops, which outnumber those in the army) and border patrol. That deal is now on hold because of the economic sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
The VBL has a top speed of over 100 kilometers an hour and is bulletproof (against 7.62mm rounds) and resistant to most shell fragments. The vehicle seats up to four, and usually carries a ring mounted 7.62mm machine-gun, although some are armed with anti-tank missiles or 20mm autocannon. Max road range, with internal and external fuel, is about 1,000 kilometers. The basic design has been upgraded since 1990 and the latest models are often referred to as VBL2.