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Arquus has delivered the 500th protected 4×4 liaison, reconnaissance and support vehicle Bastion (Véhicule Léger de Reconnaissance et d’Appui, VLRA). The VLRA, which has been further developed to meet the requirements of the climatic conditions in Middle East and Africa, has become the core equipment for armed forces of the G5 Sahel zone.

Bastion has been developed at the Arquus plant in Saint-Nazaire (formerly ACMAT) in 2012 according to customer requirements for a robust and highly mobile protected vehicle based on introduced VLRA. The combination of a welded hull with a new VLRA chassis resulted in a simple, robust and resistant solution. Bastion provides space for eight soldiers and their equipment. The cabin protects the crew according to STANG 4569, Level 3, against ballistic and mine threats. It is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station for automatic weapons (7.62 mm, 40 mm).

The G5 Sahel zone (including Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad) has chosen Bastion to equip their armed forces for the fight against armed terrorist groups. Taking into account these recent orders, the Bastion’s production reaches 500 units currently in service around the world, making it the protected vehicle of choice for deployment in Africa.

Within the framework of the further development of the Arquus product range, Bastion will now be offered in a new version with a four-cylinder engine with 200 kW. This increase in power gives the Bastion new capabilities in terms of speed and obstacle crossing, improving its performance in all areas of application. This new version complements the classic 133 kW version.

The predecessors of Bastion have been in service as VLRAs since 1967 with the Légion Etrangère and the Troupes de Marine and other special forces. Because of its ability to overcome obstacles, its long range (over 1,400 km) and its equipment like a large water tank, the VLRA is considered by soldiers as a mechanical dromedary for long-range desert patrols.

After more than fifty years, there are still more than 600 VLRAs in service with the armed forces, in more than 75 different versions that prove the vehicle’s endurance and high versatility.

In 2009, Arquus introduced a new version of the VLRA, which has a ton more payload than its predecessor and features a third front seat in an optimized cabin. The reduction of the turning radius improves manoeuvrability. Since 2009, Arquus has produced over 1,000 chassis for VLRA including Bastion from this new version.

Gerhard Heiming