France, Belgium’s Future Armored Vehicle’s Pre-Design Phase Starts

The Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) has launched the pre-design phase of France and Belgium’s future Armored Engagement Support Vehicle (VBAE).

The system is a 4×4 “modern, innovative light armored vehicle” fully integrated into the countries’ battlefield information systems to provide “high added value” in land-based warfare.

The VBAEs will eventually replace Paris’ aging Light Armored Vehicles that have been in service since the 1990s.

The new support vehicles for Brussels will enhance the country’s reconnaissance and command and control capabilities.

Supporting Industrial Cooperation

OCCAR wrote that the VBAE program’s pre-design phase will be facilitated with a budget of 15 million euros ($16 million).

Work for this stage will be led by mobility solution developers Arquus and Nexter for two years. 

It will focus on the vehicle’s architecture and operational requirements for the rest of the program.

Throughout the phase, Nexter will assign related activities to Belgian mechanical engineering company John Cockerill Defense.

French soldier fires during Operation Aconit
A French soldier fires a machine gun mounted to a Panhard light armored vehicle during the France-led Operation Aconit, which targeted Islamic State militants in Mali and Niger in 2019. Image: État-major des armées

“The VBAE will be a versatile system suitable for many types of missions,” Arquus said.

“A strong emphasis will be placed on essential performances of mobility, stealth, protection, and fire function. It will combine compactness and optimized payload capacity.”

“This partnership, initiated from the pre-design phase, marks the desire for Franco-Belgian industrial cooperation on a major armaments program.”

FAMOUS Project

The VBAE program aligns with the European Defence Fund and the European Commission’s Future highly mobile Augmented ArMOUred Systems or FAMOUS project, OCCAR said.

The effort covers producing innovative solutions required by future EU armored vehicles.

Arquus, Nexter, and John Cockerill Defense are primary partners of the FAMOUS project.

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