Nexter presented the VBCi PHILOCTETES infantry combat system for the first time at the DEFEA expo in Athens. Based on the requirements of the Greek Army, the armoured infantry combat vehicle (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie, VBCi) received a newly equipped remote-controlled 40-mm CT turret .

The main weapon is the 40 mm Cased Telescoped Weapon System (CTWS) machine gun developed by the joint venture Cased Telescoped Ammunition International (CTA International, CTAI) with the support of the French and UK MoDs. CTAI was founded in 1994 by Nexter and BAE Systems as a joint venture for the development and production of this gun.

The compact weapon system takes up no more space than conventional 30 mm weapon systems. It fires 40 mm telescopic ammunition with the projectile entirely surrounded by the cartridge casing and immersed in the propellant charge. As a result, the cartridge is only 255 mm long with a diameter of 65 mm. The 30 per cent smaller volume results in space and weight savings, or more ammunition for the same space requirement. Two insensitive combat-ammunition types are available:

  • General Purpose Round, programmable in the cartridge chamber, with impact fuse or air burst point
  • Armour Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot Tracer with 1,600 m/s muzzle velocity.

In addition, there is a laser-guided sub-calibre projectile that can be used at Mach 3 muzzle velocity against moving targets up to a distance of 4.5 km. Practice projectiles without a warhead can be used for training. In addition to the main weapon, the crew can deploy MBDA’s MMP anti-tank guided missile from a medium-range launcher.


The name PHILOCTETES, which Nexter chose in reference to the mythological hero of the Trojan War, illustrates the system’s orientation towards Greek requirements. According to Nexter, the weapon system was presented in the livery of Greek combat vehicles and meets the requirements of the Greek Army in terms of mobility, protection, modularity and firepower.

Nexter’s exhibit at DEFEA also included conventional and smart ammunition in calibres ranging from 25 mm to 155 mm, 30 mm and 40 mm machine guns, as well as NERVAground robots and the IXOS multi-mission drone.

Gerhard Heiming