French troops get new vehicle variant

Feb. 4, 2013 at 2:12 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The French army has received the first FELIN-capable variant of its VBCI armored infantry fighting vehicle.

The variant specifically supports troops equipped with the FELIN soldier system, enabling them to recharge the batteries of manpack electronic systems for dismounted operations and use those systems from within the troop-carrying vehicle.

The variant was delivered to the army by the defense procurement agency, DGA.

The VBCI vehicle is produced by a consortium made up of Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense. Sagem is the prime contractor for the FELIN.

The 8x8 VBCI is an armored transport vehicle. It carries a 25mm gun turret and can accommodate 11 soldiers and equipment.

"Offering a high level of protection against various threats, it is a true 'base camp' for the infantryman on the battlefield," DGA said. "For its part, the FELIN soldier system provides a quantum leap in terms of protection, observation, communication, use of weapons, mobility and support for combat soldiers in direct contact with the enemy.

"Eventually, all VBCIs will be adapted for FELIN, either directly on the Nexter production line for the remaining vehicles, or by retrofit in regimental workshops for the 445 VBCI produced since 2008."

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