The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded the order for conditional tranche 4 (TC4) of the SCORPION programme to Nexter, Arquus and Thales, operating through the EBMR consortium. These two awards were announced by the French Prime Minister during his visit to Nexter’s Roanne site on 19 February. This latest order underscores France’s continuing confidence in the EBMR (Engin Blindé Multi Role, Multi-role Armoured Vehicle) consortium partners, which have been ensuring on-time deliveries since the beginning of the programme. It provides Nexter, Arquus and Thales, as well as the entire land defence industrial and technological base in France, with better visibility of their industrial activity through to 2025.
Tranche TC4 corresponds to an additional 88 JAGUAR armoured reconnaissance and fighting vehicles and 302 GRIFFON multirole armoured vehicles. This new order will bring the number of JAGUAR and GRIFFON vehicles ordered to 150 and 909 respectively, in line with the target laid out in France’s 2019–25 Military Programming Law. This represents half of the French government’s total commitment for JAGUARs and GRIFFONs to be acquired under the SCORPION programme to renew the medium-tonnage segment of the French Army’s armoured vehicle fleet. The TC4 award comes shortly after an order was placed for 54 GRIFFON MEPAC versions, which are equipped with a 120-mm mortar, with deliveries scheduled from 2024.
The EBRC Jaguar (French: Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat, Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle) is a French armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle that will replace the French Army’s VCAC (HOT missiles equipped VABs), AMX 10 RC and ERC 90 Sagaie reconnaissance and fire support vehicles. The consortium building the “Griffon” and “Jaguar” is contractually obliged to keep the price per Jaguar under €1 million, therefore the vehicles are based on a 6×6 commercial all-terrain truck chassis and use standard commercial truck engines. Electronic defenses include the Thales Group Barage active jamming device to counter IEDs, two sets of Antares missile warning alert systems, a TDA Armements active blocking system, and a roof-mounted Metravib Pilar V gunfire locator.
The Jaguar’s primary weapon, mounted in a two-man turret, is the CTA International CT40 cannon firing 40mm case telescoped ammunition with a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and a maximum effective range of 1,500 meters. Two MMP anti-tank guided missiles are fitted to the turret launcher with two reloads stored inside. It also carries a 7.62mm remote controlled machine gun mounted on top of the turret and eight smoke grenades. The Jaguar can lift its cannon 45° up, allowing it to fire on aerial targets. The vehicle is built with STANAG 4569 Level 4 armor protection, giving it defense against 14.5×114mm armor-piercing rounds, 155mm artillery shell splinters, and 10 kg (22 lb) mine blasts.
The VBMR Griffon (Véhicule blindé multi-rôles Griffon, Multi-role armored vehicle Griffon) 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 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. The vehicles are designed for simple maintenance and logistics. The Griffon 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. For service in hot climates, the Griffon is equipped with air conditioning.