|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
In addition to further enhancements to the Nexter Systems (previously Giat Industries) Leclerc MBT, the French Army has two other key armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) programmes, which are still at the development stage. These are the Nexter Systems Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI) (8 × 8) infantry combat vehicle, of which 700 are to be procured by the French Army, and the replacement for the current AMX-10RC (6 × 6) armoured car armed with a 105 mm gun.
The replacement for the latter was originally called the Engin Blindé à Roues de Contact but in the future it could well be called Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance à Chenille (Reconnaissance Tracked Armoured Vehicle, or EBRC). The EBRC will be the heart of the French Army's medium capability, which aims to provide a rapid intervention, war fighting and manoeuvre support through a networked capability.
The main role of the EBRC will be that of Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) in all types of warfare. It is also expected to act as the mother platform and control aerial and ground robotic vehicles.
In addition to its traditional reconnaissance mission, it is probable that some versions of the EBRC will have an indirect-fire capability to enable threat targets to be engaged out of sight and range of the platform.
Under contract to the French DGA (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement), Nexter Systems has built a new 6 × 6 chassis, which features a hull of welded titanium and a hybrid electric drive (HED) system, with each of the six wheels being propelled by an individual electric motor.
This is the first of a number of Technical Demonstrator Programme (TDP) contracts awarded by the French DGA in order to reduce risk later on in development.
It weighs between 17 and 18 tonnes, and would normally have a crew of two, although space for a maximum of up to eight people is available.
It will eventually be fitted with a new remote-controlled turret system, which is being developed by CTA International (a joint venture company formed by Nexter Systems of France and the now BAE Systems Land Systems of the UK). This advanced remote turret will be armed with a 40 mm Case Telescoped Weapon System (CTWS) and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and fitted with advanced roof-mounted stabilised day/night sights coupled to a computerised fire-control system. The commander and gunner will be under full armour protection from within the hull.
It is envisioned that either crew member would be able to lay and fire the main and secondary armament under complete protection from within the hull.
This chassis demonstrator ran for the first time in mid-2005 and is referred to as the DPE (Démonstrateur Propulsion Electronique). This was handed over to the DGA for trials in the second half of 2006.
It is powered by an MTU 6V199 diesel engine, which is coupled to a Magnet Motor 450 kW generator and a 120 kW battery together with its associated Magnet Motor converters. These power the six Magnet Motor in-hub wheel propulsion units, which have a torque of 21,000 Nm and are expected to give the vehicle a maximum road speed of 110 km/h.
Other features of the DPE include a variable height hydropneumatic suspension system, skid steering and pivot turning capability and a gross vehicle weight of 18 tonnes, which could be increased to 21 tonnes.
In addition to its crew of two there is 6.5 m3 of space at the rear of the hull, which is said to be sufficient for four to eight people.
It is possible that the French Army may opt for a mix of weapon solutions for the EBRC, which could include the aforementioned CTA International 40 mm CTWS or a new Nexter Systems 120 mm smoothbore gun.
Under a separate DGA contract, Nexter Systems is currently studying a new 120 mm low recoil force (LRF) gun, which leverages off the 120 mm smoothbore gun installed in the Leclerc MBT that fires one-piece ammunition with a semi-combustible cartridge case.
The new 120 mm LRF gun will also be fitted with a muzzle brake and has already started firing trials. Consideration is also being given to an ETC 120 mm smoothbore gun that will also fire conventional 120 mm rounds.
To engage high-threat targets at long range, Nexter Systems has been awarded a TDP for the Polynege tank-launched guided projectile. Polynege is expected to be a fire-and-forget round and to have a non-line-of-sight capability and an effective range of at least 8 km. It is expected that this will be fitted with a top-attack warhead and/or a direct-attack warhead. The former would be of the explosively formed penetrator (EFP) type, and the latter of the high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) type.
Although the EBRC demonstrator will be a 6 × 6 wheeled vehicle, there is also some interest in an HED full-tracked version as an alternative, which would be fitted with a rubber band track system. It is possible that a TDP contract for this could be awarded by the DGA in the future. To save time and cost this could well be an existing French Army AMX-10P ICV fitted with an HED with a rubber band track system.
For its battlefield survivability, the EBRC will rely on its stealth characteristics as well as its advanced self-protection system, which is expected to include active and passive means.
As it will be part of an extensive C3I network it will be able to share information on potential threats with other platforms in real time. The three members of the industrial consortium are Nexter Systems, SAGEM and Thales.
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