A year to the day from its formation from what was Renault Trucks Defense, France’s Arquus has revealed more details of the largely hidden development of its Scarabée armoured vehicle. A successor of the VBL and heir to the Panhard armored cars, today it is a concept offering avant-garde innovations and achieving unrivaled performance. This light vechile being estimated between 6 and 8 tonnes, it is the company attempt to anticipate the requirements of an incoming French Army programme, known as VBAE (Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement), which should replace the VBL (Véhicule Blindé Léger) in service since the 1980s. Equipped with powerful and modern firepower, it will be an essential actor of collaborative combat. Moreover, simple vehicle maintenance will make it optimal for foreign operations.
The Scarabee light armored diesel-electric hybrid vehicle that is still in the demonstrator stage, as it combines innovations to validate one after the other. The size of the Scarabee is a little larger than that of the Panhard VBL but its versatility, transport capacity and modularity will be much greater. Replying to a question asked by Army Recognition, it is not yet amphibious but this ability is considered; its batteries – which can be reloaded very quickly – can already be fully immersed and the roof air intake protects the engine from any wet breaks (it already prevents clogging of the radiator by mud and sand).
The ground clearance is adjustable between 40 and 50 cm. The tires identical to those of the Sherpa will of course be equipped with an inflation / deflation system. It has a double floor and may (a more and more frequent option) receive additional armor kits adapted to the dangerousness of each mission. In total, the mass of the Scarabee will be about 8 tons, including 2 tons of payload. Three vehicles can be loaded into an Airbus A400M Atlas. The vehicle is fitted with Arquus Battlenet vetronic architecture, and with a company Hornet 30 RCWS armed with an Orbital ATK M-230LF 30mm chain gun, a choice made to show the firepower that can be installed on the vehicle; in the concept car the gunner is on the left side.
The engine of the Scarabee was designed as a diesel-electric hybrid, with a 300 hp engine and a 75 kW electric motor powered by two Li-Ion batteries. This formula offers a weight/power ratio that is half more than the Sherpa Light’s one. Electric propulsion can operate in four modes: hybrid, boost by cumulating the electric and diesel propulsion modes, electric alone to reduce the thermal and sound footprint, and generator to power or reload other systems, including the U.S. special forces’ Polaris MRZX buggy. An asset that will greatly relieve the mechanics and some logisticians, the engine is fixed on a sliding rack, which will provide better accessibility during the maintenance and replacement phases.