Armor: Belgium Goes Big

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July 24, 2017: In mid-2017 Belgium ordered 60 Jaguar EBRC combat and reconnaissance vehicles and 417 Griffon VBMR multirole armored vehicles from France. The total cost will be $1.2 billion. This is another aspect of a much larger modernization program that is upgrading elderly Cold War equipment and responding to the increasing threat from Russia. This Griffon and Jaguar purchase is one of the biggest single investments ever for the land forces.

The new vehicles will replace aging Piranha III 6x6 armored vehicles and Dingo II 4x4 armored vehicles used by Medium Brigade. The purchase price includes spare parts, crew training and maintenance support. Moreover the new vehicles are also used by France making it easier for the two neighbors to organize joint training and logistic support exercises. The Jaguar and Griffon are scheduled to enter service with Belgian troops 2025 and 2030.

The Griffons VBMR is a multi-role 6x6 armored vehicle that is part of the French scorpion program to replace the 1970s vintage VAB APC (armored personnel carrier). The Griffon can carry up to 10 personnel, weighs about 25 tones and can go about 800 kilometers on roads using internal fuel. It is equipped with a remotely-controlled weapons station. Thanks to modular design it will be available in five main variants: typical troop transport (1022 vehicles), command-and-control variant (333), engineer and recovery (54), artillery observation vehicles (117) and ambulance (196).

Griffon is more like a MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle than typical APC like Stryker, Patria AMV or other similar designs. MRAP designs have one big advantage in that they are more similar to typical trucks so are much easier to drive than mentioned earlier APCs.

Jaguar EBRC is on the other hand is a 6x6 reconnaissance vehicle which another evolution of French family of 6x6 reconnaissance vehicles like AMX-10RC and ERC 90 Sagaie. So there is no surprise that the Jaguar EBRC is similar design. It weighs about 25 tons and can be operated by the crew of three. Instead of 105mm or 90mm guns found in earlier vehicles of this type the ERBC uses a new Anglo-French made CTA 40mm (telescoped ammunition) autocannon in addition two MMP anti-tank missiles (range up to 4 kilometers) mounted on turret side. -- Przemysław Juraszek

 

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