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France’s Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) has ordered the second batch of 42 JAGUAR and 271 GRIFFON combat vehicles under the SCORPION programme. The industrial consortium with Nexter, Arquus and Thales will produce the vehicles between 2022 and 2023 while for the first time, the GRIFFON will be delivered in the Artillery Observer and Ambulance variants.

In 2017, the DGA ordered 319 GRIFFON and 20 JAGUAR vehicles in the first lot, of which 143 GRIFFONs have already been delivered. The revised Military Programme Act 2019 – 2025 (Loi de programmation militaire, LPM) estimates the total demand at 1,872 GRIFFON and 300 JAGUAR, half of which are to be delivered by 2025 and the rest by 2030.

After equipping the schools and training centres, conversion will begin in five regiments and by the end of 2021, nine regiments are expected to gain initial experience with the GRIFFON and initial capability in a combined arms battle group is to be achieved by the end of 2021.

Modernisation

The GRIFFON is an armoured multi-purpose vehicle (Véhicule blindé multi-rôles, VBMR), which will replace the armoured Véhicule de l’avant blindé (VAB). It weighs about 25 tonnes, is equipped with a 6-wheel drive and a remote-controlled weapon station. In addition to the driver and commander, up to eight soldiers can be transported while it is available in several versions:

  • troop transport
  • command post
  • artillery observation
  • medical evacuation

The JAGUAR, weighing around 25 tonnes, is an armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (Engin blindé de reconnaissance et de combat, EBRC) with 6-wheel drive. It will replace the AMX10RC and SAGAIE light wheeled tanks in addition to the VAB variant armed with HOT anti-tank missiles. It will be equipped with the Franco-British 40-mm telescopic cannon, the medium-range MMP missile and a remote-controlled turret.

The fielding of this new equipment, which offers the highest level of protection and mobility, will give tactical leaders new opportunities for deployment. Collaborative combat, for example, consists of connecting in real time all the SCORPION programme vehicles equipped with information. The numerous sensors integrated in the GRIFFON and JAGUAR communicate with each other to help the vehicle commander make decisions.

Gerhard Heiming