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French Army Advances SCORPION Program with Automatic Grenade Launcher Integration on VBMR Griffon

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French Army Advances SCORPION Program with Automatic Grenade Launcher Integration on VBMR Griffon

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French Army Advances SCORPION Program with Automatic Grenade Launcher Integration on VBMR Griffon
French Army Advances SCORPION Program with Automatic Grenade Launcher Integration on VBMR Griffon

On May 15, 2024, the French Army, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Armament (DGA, Direction générale de l’armement), successfully conducted tests to integrate automatic grenade launchers on its multi-role armored vehicles, the Griffon and Serval. These advancements are part of the broader SCORPION program, aimed at modernizing the French Army’s capabilities. The tests focused on the integration of a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (LGA) into the remotely operated turret (TTOP, Tourelleau Télé OPéré) on both vehicle models. This integration is expected to significantly enhance the firepower and operational flexibility of the Griffon and Serval. The VBMR Griffon, particularly in its standard VTT Félin configuration, features the gyro-stabilized T1 Hornet remote-controlled weapon station, developed by Arquus. This advanced turret system can be outfitted with a range of armaments, including a 12.7 mm (Browning M2HB) or 7.62 mm (FNH MAG 58) machine gun, or the newly tested 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (Heckler & Koch GMG 40 mm).

Each SCORPION vehicle’s remote controlled weapon station is a contributor to the intelligence acquisition and sharing chain. As common SCORPION equipment, they are the “eyes” of collaborative combat. Each remotely-operated turret is integrated into the vehicle’s vetronics, which in turn is linked to the other elements of a French company team or GTIA via the SICS combat information system. The Hornet is electrically powered and has a 360° rotation, with elevation from -20° to +60°. The turret is controlled from inside the vehicle using a joystick associated to a dedicated 13’3 16/9 full HD touch screen. The day and night sighting and fire-control system it integrates grants the vehicle commander and gunner a wider field of vision for target detection, recognition and identification. This facilitates the sharing of tactical information in real time, allowing every section to have a precise idea of the situation of friendly vehicles and enabling SCORPION Vehicle A (whether a Griffon, Serval, Jaguar or Leclerc XLR) to engage a target identified by SCORPION Vehicle B.

T1 Hornet remote-controlled weapon station is armed with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.
T1 Hornet remote-controlled weapon station is armed with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. (Photo by STAT/French Army)

The turret’s design includes an ammunition box mounted on its left side, capable of holding 300 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition, 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, or 64 40 mm grenades.The lower part of the turret, meanwhile, incorporates an independent GALIX countermeasure system developed and manufactured by Lacroix Defense and Nexter, which consists of 8 80 mm smoke grenade dischargers linked to the ANTARES laser warning system. It operates alongside the missile launch detector, the PILAR V, the ECLIPSE and the infrared jammer. The GALIX is a self-protection system that makes vehicle protection more reliable through an automatic detection action, which drastically reduces protection engagement time by automating the decision phase. When a shot is detected within a 5 km radius, the sensors transfer threat and angle-of-attack data to the vehicle’s fire-control system. In response, the GALIX will launch multispectral countermeasures in less than a second, capable of disrupting the opposing gunner.

The VBMR Griffon (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle Griffon; Multirole Armoured Vehicle Griffon) is a French six-wheel multi-purpose armoured personnel carrier developed and manufactured by Nexter, Arquus (formerly Renault Trucks Defense) and Thales. The vehicle entered service in 2019 and is, alongside the four-wheel VBMR-L Serval co-developed by Nexter and Texelis, the successor of the Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé (VAB). Components of the French SCORPION programme, the two vehicles are expected to fulfill a wide range of tasks and thus consist of several variants and subvariants. In total, 1,818 VBMR Griffon, 2,038 VBMR-L Serval, 54 Griffon MEPAC as well as at least 85 Serval LAD and Serval Mistral/TCP are to be delivered to the French Army by 2035. The Griffon to share 70% of its components with the Jaguar to save on development, production and maintenance costs as well as to facilitate logistics.

T1 Hornet remote-controlled weapon station is armed with an  independent GALIX countermeasure system (Photo by STAT/French Army)
T1 Hornet remote-controlled weapon station is armed with an independent GALIX countermeasure system (Photo by STAT/French Army)

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