Ground Warfare

French Defense Company Arquus Unviels New VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle

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French Defense Company Arquus Unviels New VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle

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French Defense Company Arquus Unviels New VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle
French Defense Company Arquus Unviels New VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle

French defense company Arquus introduced the Mk3 version of its Vehicule Blinde Leger (VBL) 4×4 reconnaissance vehicle family at IDEX 2023 being held in Abu Dhabi from 20 to 24 February. The VBL (Véhicule Blindé Léger, Light Armored Vehicle) MK3 is the latest and most advanced version of the famous Panhard VBL, which is already in service within several armies in the Gulf and around the world. As a fully new development, the VBL MK3 benefits from several upgrades compared with the first VBL. For IDEX 2023, the VBL MK3 is fitted with a Hornet RCWS with an AKERON anti-tank missile launcher, specifically thought for anti-tank combat and developed with missile leader MBDA.

It is equipped with a 130hp modern, diesel engine and a new automatic gearbox, allowing speed and acceleration as well as added comfort for the pilot. It features a new Brake Assist system and improved front and rear suspension systems, increasing the payload and improving vehicle handling. It is also equipped with centralized tyre inflation system (CTIS) which allows for a better adaptation to the terrain conditions and improves the mobility on soft ground, especially on sand. It is equipped from a new dashboard, allowing for a better management of the vehicle and its tactical situation.

Arquus VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle
Arquus VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle. (Photo by Arquus)

The VBL MK3 is a steed of choice for scouting and reconnaissance, as well as intelligence gathering missions. It can also serve as a wingman for a tank or be configured as an anti-tank vehicle with an ATGM team aboard. The recent combat experience has shown that anti-tank combat capabilities are key in a highly contested, highly intense battlefield. The large number of armored targets, and the rhythm of combat operations call for the integration of multiple anti-tank weapons on armored vehicles, to allow for tank-hunting and collaborative combat capabilities, or to provide with self-defense options in case of an unplanned encounter with enemy assets.

Such a capability is now integrated in the Hornet RCWS, which now offers anti-tank capabilities on top of its native qualities. The Akeron missile is integrated on the side of the RCWS, which preserves the compact size of the Hornet and contributes to its stealth. That configuration is very sensible on the VBL MK3 due to its size and stealth. It is also a welcome addition for increased anti-tank capabilities to engage a target of opportunity close to the front lines or defend itself against an unplanned heavier threat such as a tank of an IFV. With the Hornet AKERON, the VBL MK3 can be used as a tank killer.

Arquus VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle
Arquus VBL MK3 Reconnaissance Vehicle. (Photo by Arquus)

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