On September 21, 2020, the French Army’s Technical Section (STAT) performed boarding trials with a prototype Griffon Multi-Role Armored Vehicle (VBMR) aboard the Amphibious Helicopter Carrier (PHA) Mistral. The VBMR Griffon prototype boarded the Mistral through the vessel’s side ramp, the objective being to verify the vehicle’s interoperability with an amphibious vessel moored to a quay without RO-RO (Roll On, Roll Off) capability. These trials complement those in November 2019 which enabled the validation of the Griffon’s boarding capabilities on board standard amphibious landing craft (EDA-S) and rapid amphibious landing craft (EDA-R).
The French Army’s transformation to an “all-SCORPION” force model constitutes a major challenge for amphibious units. The Griffon VBMRs are intended to replace the VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) in their troop transport function. With the goal of maintaining a permanent capability, this transition will in fact require maintaining a dual competence: that of an on-board battle group (GTE) in the traditional format, and that of a “Scorpionized” GTE. The Multi-Role Armored Vehicle will have been completely renewed, and whose data transmission systems will profoundly transform interoperability with the naval force deployed in support of amphibious actions.
The Griffon is based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and will carry up to eight infantry soldiers. 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 (Armored Personnel Carrier, Command Post, Ambulance, and Artillery Observer) ordered in the first tranche. After 2021 a much lighter 4 × 4 version might be ordered, which will be used as a reconnaissance vehicle. The vehicles are designed for simple maintenance and logistics. For example, Griffon and Jaguar both use standard commercial truck engines, which have been adapted to use a wider range of fuel.