France has taken delivery of the first of 53 BvS 10 Mk II all-terrain armoured vehicles from BAE Systems Land Systems Hagglunds.
France’s defence procurement agency, Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) took delivery on November 7 of the first vehicles, known by their French acronym as VHM. The VHM was accepted by France in September 2011 after eight months of intensive trials, including on snow, sand and marshes. Deliveries will be completed by the end of next year.
The DGA ordered the 53 vehicles in December 2009, with options for another 77 vehicles for a total potential value of €220 million. This was a historic order, as it was the first French order for military equipment from the United Kingdom in decades. The contract is for three variants – troop carrier, command post and logistic vehicle – together with a comprehensive through-life support package.
The vehicles are assembled at the BAE factory in Sweden but the project is run in close cooperation with French partners, such as Panhard and EADS. Panhard is tasked with the integration of equipment specific to French army requirements (weapons, radios, information systems, etc.).
The fully amphibious BvS 10 is the latest version of the Bv206 armoured all-terrain vehicle. The BvS 10 is a larger vehicle with improved load capacity and a more powerful diesel engine, while retains the well-proven capabilities of precedent Bv206 vehicles.
The Viking (British designation for the BvS 10) was ordered by the British Ministry of Defence in 2001. It was originally developed as a collaboration between industry – Hägglunds Vehicle AB – and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on behalf of the Royal Marines.
The Netherlands placed an order for 74 BvS10 all-terrain armoured vehicles worth 570 million SEK (UE$82 million) in June 2005. These vehicles were procured for the Royal Netherlands Marines with deliveries beginning in January 2006.
The tracked VHM weighs 14 tonnes, is 7.6 meters long and comprising two articulated modules linked by a special assembly which allows it to cross terrains that are impracticable for wheeled vehicles. It can thus avoid roads or other conventional surfaces that can be easily mined with improvised explosive devices.
Derived in three specialist variants (command post, logistic transport and troop carrier), the VHM can carry up to 11 fully equipped soldiers with their individual and squad weapons. Depending on the version, the VHM can be fitted with a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun for self-defence.
The armoured VHM is protected against small-calibre rounds, infantry rocket launchers, mines and improvised explosive devices.