On July 27, 2023, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) proudly announced the reception of the final lot of 10 VT4 tactical vehicles at Standard 2, successfully completing the procurement program. Developed by ACMAT, a subsidiary of Arquus (formerly known as Renault Trucks Defense), the VT4 tactical vehicle was designed to replace the aging Peugeot P4 vehicles utilized by the French Army. This significant achievement marks the culmination of a meticulously planned delivery schedule executed in strict accordance with the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM), a testament to the remarkable collaborative efforts of both state and industrial stakeholders. In total, an impressive fleet of 4,380 VT4 vehicles has been successfully delivered to various units, including the three branches of the military, the Operational Energy Service, the Joint Interministerial Service for Ammunition (SIMu), and the National Guard. The VT4 program, also known as VLTP-NP (Véhicule léger tactique polyvalent – Non protégé), was initiated by the French Army to address the pressing need to replace the aging Peugeot P4 vehicles, which had faithfully served since the 1980s. In response to this requirement, the French Ministry of Armed Forces placed an initial order for 1,000 VT4 vehicles from Arquus (formerly Renault Trucks Defense) back in 2016. The first units were scheduled for delivery in the autumn of 2018.
The overarching goal of this contract was to acquire a total of 4,380 vehicles, out of which 3,980 were designated specifically for the Army de Terre. This considerable order was a vital step in the comprehensive effort to modernize and renew the aging military assets of the French armed forces. The VT4 tactical vehicle represents a significant upgrade over its predecessor, the Peugeot P4, offering enhanced comfort and safety features for its occupants. Notably, the VT4 boasts an air-conditioned and sound-insulated cabin, ensuring a comfortable environment during demanding operations. Furthermore, cutting-edge safety features like hill-start assist, descent control, anti-lock braking system (ABS), and electronic stability program (ESP) have been incorporated to provide enhanced control and stability during road travel. Moreover, the VT4 comes equipped with state-of-the-art communication and positioning systems, designed to bolster the effectiveness of military operations. Integration with the SITEL (Army of the Land Information and Communications System) ensures seamless communication between the vehicle and other units on the battlefield, facilitating coordination and situational awareness. The inclusion of two PR4G radio stations with integrated encryption further enhances secure communication capabilities. Additionally, the vehicle incorporates a satellite positioning system, such as the DAGR (Defence Advanced GPS Receiver), providing precise location information vital for navigation during critical missions.
To meet the specific requirements of military use, ACMAT undertook several enhancements to the Ford Everest, creating the VT4 tactical vehicle. The vehicle’s height was raised to accommodate its tactical role, and controls were reinforced to ensure increased durability in challenging environments. Furthermore, the addition of hooks enables air transportation, facilitating rapid deployment to various locations as needed. The VT4 measures 5.30 meters in length, 2.16 meters in width (1.86 meters without mirrors), and 2.06 meters in height. With an empty weight of 2.66 tonnes, it has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (PTAC) of 3.5 tonnes and a Gross Train Weight (PTRA) of 4.25 tonnes, with a payload capacity of 770 kg. The VT4 can achieve a maximum speed of 165 km/h and boasts a range of 800 km on a single tank. Manufactured by Arquus since 2018 at their Saint-Nazaire facility, the VT4 tactical vehicle is a militarized version of the civilian Ford Everest. Key adaptations include reinforced off-road capabilities, pre-equipment for radio integration and operational information systems, as well as weapon mounts and removable glass protection. The procurement process for the VT4 included two standards: VT4 Standard 1, primarily focusing on mobility, underwent an upgrade to Standard 2 before 2023, with the latter being deployable in stabilized foreign theaters of operation.
The VT4 serves various critical missions, including operational liaisons, securing military and sensitive facilities, and supporting training and maneuvers. The meticulously planned delivery timeline encompassed the successful delivery of 500 Standard 1 vehicles between October and December 2018, and an additional 500 Standard 2 vehicles between September and December 2019. The overarching objective of the VT4 program was to provide a total of 4,380 interarm VT4 vehicles (500 Standard 1 and 3,880 Standard 2) to the three armed forces by the end of the Military Programming Law (LPM) in 2025. This allocation included 3,980 vehicles for the Army, 275 for the Air Force, 65 for the Navy, 40 for the Armed Forces Fuel Service (SEA), and 20 for the Joint Munitions Service (SIMu). The successful conclusion of the VT4 tactical vehicle delivery program marks a momentous achievement for both Arquus and the French Army. The introduction of this modern and versatile vehicle will undoubtedly strengthen the capabilities of the armed forces, ensuring they are well-equipped to face the challenges of the future. The VT4 stands as a testament to the successful collaboration between the industry and the military, underscoring France’s commitment to maintaining a cutting-edge and operationally effective defense force.