Ground Warfare

Arquus Displays Upgraded VAB-Q Armoured Personnel Carrier at DIMDEX 2024

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Arquus Displays Upgraded VAB-Q Armoured Personnel Carrier at DIMDEX 2024

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Arquus Displays Upgraded VAB-Q Armoured Personnel Carrier at DIMDEX 2024
Arquus Displays Upgraded VAB-Q Armoured Personnel Carrier at DIMDEX 2024

Arquus is present at DIMDEX from March 4 to 6, 2024, an opportunity to reaffirm its industrial cooperation capabilities in a key geographical area. Arquus will be hosted on the Barzan Holdings stand (H7-127), which is showcasing one of the modernised VABs in Qatar. In 1982, the Qatar Armed Forces acquired VAB Mk1, which have since been supported by Arquus. In 2018, the Qatar Armed Forces decided to extend the service life of these VABs and signed a contract to modernise them. The programme includes studies to modernise and modify the vehicles, their repair and the training of industrial and military personnel in France and Qatar. At the end of July 2023, the VAB assembly line was visited by the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, as part of a possible local production of 8×8 armoured vehicles in Qatar.

VAB-Q Armoured Personnel Carrier
VAB-Q armoured personnel carrier. (Photo by Arquus)

Janes reported that to date, 126 vehicles have been fully modernised. An additional contract covering the modernisation of a further 54 VABs is currently being negotiated. One of the modernised 6×6 APCs was displayed at DIMDEX as a VAB-Q. It has been fitted with a new intercom system, an encrypted radio, a close-range surveillance system, a driver low-light vision system, and a remotely operated weapon station that gives it a shoot-on-the move capability. The optical systems installed on the front and rear of the VAB-Q were labelled as Aselsan’s Tank Driver Vision System (TSGS), which has both a thermal and a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera. The six additional cameras arranged around the vehicle appeared to be Aselsan’s Yamgöz-200 close-range surveillance system. Both the driver and commander positions had Aselsan screens to view the imagery from the cameras.

VAB Armoured Personnel Carrier
VAB Mk3 armoured personnel carrier. (Photo by Arquus)

The first VABs are being modernised in France, while a production line is being set up at a military base in Qatar. This is a real highlight for Arquus, the first French defence company to succeed in localising the production of military vehicles in Qatar, a source of pride shared by the Qatari armed forces. A contract to train 25 cadets in France for 6 months in the maintenance of modernized VABs was honoured in 2023, leading to the graduation of future officers in charge of maintenance. Arquus has also a strong presence in the Internal Security Forces (Special Unit plus Operations and Support Unit), which acquired the HIGUARD 6×6 and SHERPA 4×4 a few years ago. At the latest Milipol Qatar trade fairs, ARQUUS presented its latest models developed in the tactical range: the VAB Q modernised in Qatar, the FORTRESS, and the VAB Mk3.

VAB-Q armoured personnel carrier. (Photo by Arquus)
VAB-Q armoured personnel carrier. (Photo by Arquus)

The Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé or VAB (Armoured Forward Vehicle) is a French armoured personnel carrier and support vehicle designed and manufactured by Renault Trucks Defense (now called Arquus). It entered French service in 1979 and around 5,000 were produced for the French Army as well as for export. It has seen combat in various conflicts in Africa, Asia as well as Europe and has also been exported to more than 15 countries. A polyvalent military vehicle, the VAB has more than thirty variants and sub-variants. Beyond their common primary role of transporting personnel and equipment in combat zones, some VAB are tailored for mechanized infantry combat, some fulfill the role of anti-tank missile launchers, some of self-propelled mortars, some are optimized for electronic warfare, others act as reconnaissance or artillery observation vehicles, etc.

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