Saturday, December 13, 2014

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

Engin Blindé Multi-Rôles (EBMR) Scorpion programme  is aimed at providing Multi-Role Armored Vehicles to the French Army. The Scorpion program will transform the French Army, to allow it to meet the operational challenges of tomorrow. It also brings together all the French Army platform programs: EBRC, VBMR, modernized Leclerc heavy tank, Felin, Scorpion Combat and Information System (SIC-S) and communication means. 

On November 23rd, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the long-awaited launch of the €5 billion (US $6.1 billion) Scorpion modernization program, with partners Nexter, Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) and Thales with the first phase of €752 million  to develop two key armored vehicles.

Those two vehicles are 

VBMR Griffon

  • Véhicule Blindé Multirole (VBMR), Multi-Role Armored Vehicle,  a six-wheel troop carrier named Griffon

EBRC Jaguar

  • Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat (EBRC), Reconnaissance and Combat Armored Vehicle, a six-wheeled combat vehicle, named Jaguar.

EBRC Jaguar is the more attention worthy of these in terms of its role and firepower. French Army will have a total of 248 Jaguar vehicles when the programme is completed. It is expected that around 110 vehicles to be delivered until 2025, started from 2020.

Jaguar is a 6x6 armored reconnaissance vehicle with a two-men turret.

Jaguar has a Combat Weight of 25 tons which is quite significant for a 6x6 vehicle and a crew of 3 of which two located in the turret.


Nexter T40 Two-Men Turret

Nexter's T40 Two Men turret forms the firepower of the Jaguar.

T40 turret is armed with 40mm CTA Anglo-French cannon, two MBDA's MMP medium range anti-tank missiles and a remotely operated 7.62mm. 

T40 has weight of 4.2 tonnes with Level 4 protection.

In addition to the gunner sight, T40 has a panoramic commander's sight to allow Hunter-Killer capability. In some sources, it is stated that the gunner's sight has an Identification Range of 3500 - 4.000 meters, which is quite  impressive, if true.


The Jaguar platform is a 6x6 wheeld vehicle with a combat weight of 25 tons. 

The vehicle is expected to have a protection level of STANAG 4569 Level IV providing a kinetic energy protection of 14.5x114mm Armor Piercing heavy machine gun rounds and a mine protection level that protects against 10kg mine blast under a wheel.

The driver is seated at the front center of the hull. He has a single-piece hatch which is provided with three day periscopes. 

The driver being in the front center indicated the powerpack might be at the rear of the vehicle.

The gunner of the Jaguar EBRC is seated on the right of the turret with the commander on the left.

French Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle Heritage

French has always been into the wheeled vehicles for Reconnaissance. 

Another French tradition for their wheeled reconnaissance vehicles is their tendency to provide heavy firepower.

After World War II, mainly around 1950-1960's, French has come up with a number of Armored Reconnaissance Vehicles with the lates one ERC90 entering service in 1984.

The chart below shows the chronology of the French Armored Cars for Recon.

French Armored Recon Cars

You can see that these armored cars pack a very large punch starting from of 90mm cannons up to the AMX10RC's 105mm rifled cannon.

It is astonishing to see a 105mm cannon on an armored car that only weighs 15 tons.

These led me to believe that French doctrine calls for fast and agile armored platforms to perform the reconnaissance mission. These platforms can:

  • Cover vast distances in a considerably short amount of time
  • Perform reconnaissance mission way front of the main force
  • Protect themselves even against heavily armored and armed opponents
  • Be used as fire support vehicles in low intensity conflicts such as the ones France fought in Africa.

In the near future, the Jaguar EBRC will take up the torch from his predecessors as shown in the family tree below:

French Armored Reconnaissance Heritage

In terms of firepower, French will replace the high caliber weapons such as the 90mm and 105mm with the new 40mm CT medium caliber cannon in the reconnaissance role.

I think this will give them, rapid firing capability supported by a new generation sighting system for the gunner and commander plus a modern fire-control system that will satisfy a high first round hit probability.

Coupled with the 40mm ammunition's acclaimed high penetration and the capabilities coming from the use of  programmable rounds, Jaguar will have a quite good lethality against a large range of targets.

The modern sighting equipment and data communication capability will also have an impact on the performance and success of the reconnaissance missions.

The UK's Scout SV a 40+ ton tracked vehicle with 40mm CT two-men turret and France's 6x6 25 ton wheeled vehicle with a similar weapon system show two different approaches in armored reconnaissance and only time will tell how they will perform.

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