Armor: Belgium Upgrades Airmobile Troops


March 11, 2016: Belgium recently ordered 108 Fox RRVs (Rapid Reaction Vehicle). The Fox RRV is a military variant of the 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser and was designed for light strike, reconnaissance, and patrol duties. The vehicle is expected to replace the Cold War era VW Iltis (German for “polecat”) 4x4 vehicle, used by Belgian special forces and paratroopers. The Fox is a major upgrade over the Iltis, which has a half ton payload, is unarmored, and has only 600 kilometer range.

The Fox RRV is a modular vehicle and offers a range of cargo, add-on armor, and crew configurations, as well as different armor packages. The vehicle can carry up to nine personnel (varying with configuration), weighs 2.3 tons, can carry a payload of up to two tons and a range of up to 1,200 kilometers on internal fuel. Fix is light enough to be transportable by aircraft such as C-130, A400, and even CH-47 helicopters.

Fox RRV is an improved model of the Fox LRPV (Long Range Patrol Vehicle), also known as Al-Thalab, which is in use by the armed forces of Jordan (which took part in the vehicle’s development and is the main user so far) since 2006. Mauritania is also using the Al-Thalab, though in smaller quantity. The RRV offers enhanced modularity, increased off-road performance and more payload options, over the older model.

Fox RRVs can all be armed with front passenger (commander) operated, swing arm mounted 7.62 mm machineguns. Some variants, equipped with a ring mount on the roof over the load area, can have an additional 7.62mm machinegun, 12.7mm (50 caliber) heavy machinegun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher mounted on it. The Belgian variant of the Fox will also receive 76mm smoke grenade launchers.

With this purchase Belgium is continuing a trend of equipping its infantry units with modern equipment. Other recent purchases in that area being Spike-LR anti tank guided missiles and FN SCAR assault rifles. Belgium is also one of the partner nations in the A400M program, and has ordered seven of them, which are supposed to be delivered between 2018 and 2020, further showing Belgium’s commitment to maintaining its airmobile units. --Adam Szczepanik


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