The VBMR (Véhicule blindé multi-rôles Griffon) Griffon is a French multi-role armored vehicle that will replace the French Army’s VAB armored personnel carrier. The French army has been preparing to replace the VAB since the early 2000s. According to the Army’s 2020 Defense White Paper it plans to buy up to 2,122 VBMR vehicles between 2018 and 2025. A consortium of Nexter, Thales, and Renault Trucks Defense is building the vehicles. The same consortium also builds the EBRC Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle for the French Army, which shares 70% of its components with the VBMR Griffon.
On 6 December 2014, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that deliveries will commence in 2018 and a first tranche of 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars was ordered in April 2017. In total the French Army wants to buy 1,722 VBMR 6×6 Griffon and 400 VBMR 4×4 at a later date. On 22 June 2017, Belgium’s cabinet approved a plan to purchase 60 “Jaguar” and 417 “Griffon” vehicles for €1.1 billion. The vehicles will replace the Belgian Army’s Piranha IIIC armored personnel carriers and Dingo 2 infantry mobility vehicles. The deal includes spare parts and secure communications equipment and deliveries are planned to commence in 2025.
The consortium building the “Griffon” and “Jaguar” is contractually obliged to keep the price per Griffon under €1 million. Currently, six versions of the Griffon are planned, with four of these ordered in the first tranche. The vehicle is based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and will carry up to eight infantry soldiers. After 2021 a much lighter 4 × 4 version might be ordered, which will be used as a reconnaissance vehicle. VBMR-L Serval – Light 4-wheel variant of the VBMR, selected in November 2017 to replace the Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé from 2022. The contract for the French Army was awarded in February 2018, which included funding for 489 orders by 2025, which reach 978 vehicles by 2030.
The vehicles are designed for simple maintenance and logistics. The vehicle has an overpressure system to maintain constant protection to the troop compartment against chemical, biological and radiological threats. For service in hot climates, the Griffon is equipped with air conditioning. The Griffon is equipped with a remote weapons station that can be armed with either a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The addition of two Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP) anti-tank guided missiles is optional. Eight launchers for smoke grenades are fitted to the remote weapon station, which also includes an acoustic sniper localisation system.