As a NATO member country, France is currently taking part in several reassurance and cooperation measures in Northern and Eastern Europe. These measures notably include international exercises such as Cold Response in Norway or Bold Dragon in Estonia, but also deployments of units and equipment to Estonia and Romania. As part of Mission Aigle (Eagle), France has deployed in Romania 500 personnel from the 27e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins (27th Alpine Hunters Battalion) from Annecy, the 126e Régiment d’Infanterie (126th Infantry Regiment) from Brive-la-Gaillarde, the 4e Régiment de Chasseurs (4th Chasseurs) from Gap and the 93e Régiment d’Artillerie de Montagne (93rd Mountain Artillery Regiment) from Varces, as well as support services. Under France leadership, they form, with the support of another 300 troops from Belgium the Spearhead Battalion of NATO Rapid Response Force in Southeastern Europe.
These units have taken their quarters in Mihail Kogalniceanu base near Constan?a, where they have been welcomed by their Romanian counterparts. The Aigle battalion has been deployed with a wide variety of combat equipment, including several armored and non-armored vehicles, many of which produced and supported by Arquus. The deployment of French units and equipment in Romania in the framework of the Nato Response Force will further increase the level of cooperation between the French and Romanian Armies, while strengthening the historical links which have always united the two countries. The future deployment of Romanian elements in the Sahel, alongside their French counterparts, also emphasizes the need for interoperability and mutual training.
Among the vehicles recently deployed in Romania:
43 Renault Véhicule de l’avant blindé (VAB) armoured personnel carriers
27 Panhard Véhicule Blindé Léger (VBL) wheeled 4×4 all-terrain vehicles
19 Panhard Petit Véhicule Protégé (PVP) light armoured vehicle
Several Renault GBC 180 heavy cargo truck
Several Renault Trapper VT4 light Vehicle
Renault Trucks Defense, an armoured vehicle subsidiary of Volvo Group, was renamed Arquus on 24 May 2018, as part of the launch of a new strategy for the business. The company’s rebranding and new strategic plan come just months after the company failed in its bid to win a contract for France’s Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle Léger (Light Multirole Armoured Vehicle, VBMR-L), a replacement for the Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé (Forward Area Armoured Vehicle) platforms it supplied to the French Army from the 1970s onwards. Renault Trucks Defence, which produces wheeled armoured vehicles and is also responsible for the Panhard and Acmat brands, had been targeted for divestment from Volvo for close to a year, until efforts to find a buyer were dropped in October 2017.