Arquus delivers last P4 VIPAIR intervention vehicle to French Air Force


On October 15, 2020, Arquus handed over to the French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) the last P4 VIPAIR vehicle, in accordance with contractual commitments. Initiated in 2016, the VIPAIR program aimed to transform a batch of 19 P4 ASPIC vehicles of the Air Force into Intervention and Air Projection Vehicle (Véhicule d’Intervention et de Projection Air, VIPAIR), intended for the training of commandos paratroopers and projection in foreign operations.
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P4 VIPAIR of the French Air and Space Force (Picture source: Arquus)


The base to be modified, the P4 ASPIC, was a reinforced chassis Peugeot P4 vehicle, designed to carry a short range ASPIC anti-aircraft weapon system. Of the 24 ASPIC P4 vehicles in service with the French Air Force, 19 were to be converted into P4 VIPAIRs, the other 5 being kept in reserve for other uses.

The P4 VIPAIR had to be equipped with a multi-purpose weapon mount, as well as many accessories, allowing it to carry out liaison and intervention missions for the Air Force.

A first prototype vehicle, developed and produced in Marolles-en-Hurepoix, was tested and approved by the Directorate General of Armament - Land Techniques (DGA TT) in May 2017. Arquus then successfully verified the technical feasibility of upgrading the safety components of the chassis of the 18 vehicles and of the prototype. In May 2018, the French Air Force commissioned Arquus to transform the 18 ASPIC vehicles and the VIPAIR prototype into 19 VIPAIR vehicles at the final standard adopted.

In September 2018, the definition of the vehicle was adjusted around the prototype in order to agree on the series production of these 19 vehicles. The French Air Force then expressed additional requests regarding the rear plate, the communication window and the painting of the vehicles.

The program thus finally includes the technical upgrading of the vehicles, on a case-by-case basis, the equipment of the chassis with a multipurpose platform, the fitting of accessories such as a circular mount, roll bars, spare wheel, emergency supplies and jerrycan brackets, as well as vehicle painting operations in brown ‘’brun Terre de France’’. All of these operations represent several dozen hours of work per vehicle. The VIPAIR P4s have also been approved to take into account the modification of the vehicle's total gross weight.

Production started in September 2018, with delivery of the last vehicles scheduled for the end of 2020. The first P4 VIPAIR was thus presented to the French Air and Space Army in March 2019, on the Arquus site in Saint-Nazaire. Production was then continued following the supply by the Air Force.

A first series of three vehicles was delivered in April 2019, a second in July 2019, a third in November 2019, and a fourth in March 2020, immediately before the COVID-19 crisis. The last 6 vehicles were handed over to the forces from September 16, 2020, the last leaving the Saint-Nazaire site on October 15. They were then deployed to various Air Force bases.

Halfway between Industrial Repair and original equipment, the VIPAIR program mobilized around ten staff from the teams at the Arquus sites in Marolles-en-Hurepoix and Saint-Nazaire, both in the design office and in production.


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P4 VIPAIRs delivered by Arquus to the French Air and Space Force (Picture source: Arquus)


 

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