The French Army performed a two-part evaluation of the new Griffon 6×6 Multi-Role Armored Vehicle (VBMR) aboard French Navy’s Dixmude Mistral Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) last month. The objective being to verify the vehicle’s interoperability with an amphibious vessel moored to a quay without Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) capability. These tests complement those which enabled the validation of the Griffon’s boarding capabilities with standard amphibious landing craft (CTM) and rapid amphibious landing craft (EDA-R). Once deployed from an amphibious assault ship, they participate in the amphibious landing of troops during deployments to operational theaters.
The VBMR Griffon (Véhicule blindé multi-rôles or Multi-role armored vehicle) is a French multi-role armored vehicle that will replace the French Army’s VAB armored personnel carrier. The vehicle 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. The vehicle has an overpressure system to maintain constant protection to the troop compartment against chemical, biological and radiological threats. 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.
Dixmude (L9015) is an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French Navy. She is the third vessel to bear the name, and is the third ship of the Mistral class. Dixmude was delivered to the French defence procurement agency on 3 January 2012, three months ahead of schedule. Dixmude is capable of transporting and deploying 16 NH90 or Tiger helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 AMX Leclerc tanks, or a 40-strong Leclerc tank battalion, and 450 soldiers. The ships are equipped with a 69-bed hospital, and are capable of serving as part of a NATO Response Force, or with United Nations or European Union peace-keeping forces.