On July 14, 2023, the French Army 11th Parachute Brigade unveiled the Grizzly (Sabre) reconnaissance and anti-tank light wheeled vehicle during the national military parade in Paris. Developed and manufactured by the renowned French company ARQUUS, the Grizzly represents a significant advancement in the field of light reconnaissance and support vehicles. Its introduction marks a crucial step forward in the modernization of the French armed forces, particularly within the Special Operations Command (COS). With its exceptional capabilities, the Grizzly promises to revolutionize the way reconnaissance and anti-tank operations are conducted. Built on a 4×4 chassis, this wheeled vehicle features an open-top architecture, providing optimal visibility for its crew. Its design incorporates a high ground clearance and meticulously calculated attack angles, ensuring unmatched performance on rugged landscapes and the ability to traverse challenging terrain, including trenches. Despite its remarkable power and size, the Grizzly remains compact, ensuring discretion during deep infiltration and reconnaissance missions.
Underneath its robust exterior lies a powerful engine that generates an impressive 265 horsepower, allowing the Grizzly to achieve top speeds of 110 km/h. Its automatic transmission system enhances maneuverability, making it highly agile and versatile in various operational scenarios. Designed with air transport compatibility in mind, it can be easily loaded onto transport aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules or the A400M Atlas. This feature enables rapid deployment and enhances its operational flexibility, facilitating swift responses to evolving situations. One of the defining characteristics of the Grizzly is its modular design, which allows for the integration of a wide array of equipment. In its standard configuration, the vehicle is equipped with a ring mount capable of supporting heavy weaponry such with three 7.62mm light machine guns, one 12.7mm machine gun on ring mount and anti-tank missiles. It can also be fitted with remote-controlled weapon systems. Additionally, it can also be fitted with remote-controlled weapon systems., providing comprehensive coverage and formidable firepower from all angles.
While the initial delivery of 25 Grizzly units fell short of expectations due to reported malfunctions, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces took swift action. These issues prompted modifications by ARQUUS, but the vehicles still failed to meet the stringent requirements of the COS. As a result, the decision was made to allocate the Grizzly vehicles to the commando groups of the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade (27BIM) and the 11th Parachute Brigade (11BP) for their motorized patrols. In a recent press briefing, it was announced that the 1st Parachute Hussars Regiment (1RHP) became the first unit to receive the “Grizzly” vehicles. Developed by ARQUUS and derived from the Sherpa range, these Grizzly vehicles are designed to provide autonomous infiltration and exfiltration capabilities, enabling the gathering of highly significant intelligence over extended periods, even in challenging and hostile environments. The cost of the program was not disclosed during the briefing.
Looking ahead, the 11th Parachute Brigade (11BP) is projected to receive approximately 40 Grizzly vehicles by 2030, despite the vehicle not being mentioned in the capacity table of the Military Programming Law [LPM] report. These vehicles will primarily serve the airborne troops, with the 2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (2RPIMa) also being equipped with around ten units, some of which will be deployed to La Réunion. The introduction of the Grizzly into the French army’s arsenal heralds a new era of reconnaissance and anti-tank capabilities. With its cutting-edge features, adaptability, and firepower, the Grizzly is poised to enhance the operational effectiveness of the French armed forces and strengthen their ability to tackle the challenges of modern warfare. As the Grizzly continues to undergo improvements and deployments, it is a testament to France’s commitment to maintaining a technologically advanced and formidable military.