Nexter Group and John Cockerill unveil new VBCI 8x8 armored vehicle fitted with 30mm weapon station

From 30 September to 3 October 2020, the Nexter Group will present its defense solutions at the 14th HEMUS defense exhibition in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. "Starring" is a VBCI 8x8 armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) fitted with a John Cockerill Defence 3030 weapon station 30mm cannon.
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Artist view of Nexter's VBCI fitted with a John Cockerill Defense 3030 turret (Picture source: Nexter)

The Nexter Group is exhibiting at HEMUS alongside Belgian industrialist John Cockerill Defense (JCD). The two partners share the same stand and are presenting a mock-up of a joint product: Nexter's VBCI 8x8, on which JCD's 30mm 3030 turret is integrated. This project concretizes the cooperation recently initiated with Belgium that could serve as a model in Europe : the Motorized Capability Program (CaMo), notified to Nexter in 2019, plans to supply the Land component of the Belgian army with 382 Griffon multirole armored personnel carriers (MPCVs) and 60 Jaguar armored reconnaissance and combat vehicles (EBRCs). The intergovernmental agreement signed between France and Belgium seals a strategic alliance for the two armies, but also a long-term partnership for manufacturers in both countries.

The VBCI (French denomination of "Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie)") is a French wheeled armoured infantry fighting vehicle designed and manufactured by the French Companies Nexter Systems and ARQUUS previously Renault Trucks Defense. The VBCI was designed to replace the old tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicle AMX-10P, which was used by the mechanized infantry,try units of the French Army.

The first production VBCIs were delivered to the French Army in 2008, it is now the backbone of the mechanized infantry units of the French Armed Forces. In the French army, two variants of the VBCI are in service, including the IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and Command Post Vehicle. The IFV variant is fitted with a one-man Nexter Dragar turret armed with a dual-feed 25mm NATO cannon type 25 M811 with 150 rounds in the turret and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. The VBCI IFV has a crew of three including the driver, commander, gunner, and can accommodate 8 infantrymen at the rear of the vehicle. The Command Post variant is equipped with a remotely operated weapon station armed with one 12.7mm machine gun. 

Based on an unprecedented modular concept, the John Cockerill® 3000 Series weapon station is a single platform enabling guns of different calibers and their corresponding technological modules to be integrated onto the same turret: automatic 25 mm, 30 mm, 30/40 mm, 35 mm and 50 mm caliber guns, along with direct fire guns of 90 and 105 mm, which are also able to fire anti-tank missiles.

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Artist view of Nexter's VBCI fitted with a John Cockerill Defense 3030 turret (Picture source: Nexter)

The Nexter Group is represented at the HEMUS trade show by three of its subsidiaries : Nexter Systems, Nexter Robotics and Nexter Munitions:

• Nexter Systems will unveil several mock-ups on the stand. The VBCI 3030 benefits jointly from Nexter's know-how in terms of armored vehicles and integration, as well as JCD's expertise in the field of turrets. In recent years, the VBCI has been successfully used by the French army in most theaters of operation (Afghanistan, Sahel, Central African Republic).

• A version of the 6x6 Titus armored vehicle integrates a Nexter ARX20 turret. Two models of the CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzer are also presented,one with 6x6 mobility and the other with 8x8 mobility. Due to its combat experience – the longest and most varied in the 52-caliber class – the CAESAR enjoys an excellent reputation. The CAESAR is thus a benchmark in the international artillery field: recently, Denmark and Morocco selected it to renew their fire support capabilities.

• The robots of the Nerva range with their different modules are demonstrated by the Nexter Robotics teams around the stand. The French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA) conducted an experiment on these micro-robots, which was concluded in 2019 with the order of 56 units as part of the SCORPION program.

• Nexter is exhibiting several of its ammunition, ranging from 20 to 155mm. In the field of artillery, Nexter is presenting the family of 155mm "LU" shells (explosives, smoke, illuminants) and the BONUS intelligent shell that equip many NATO armies. The stand also features medium-caliber ammunition, 81mm and 120mm mortars and 76mm naval ammunition.

• Finally, three medium-caliber Nexter models of turret are on display: the SH20 and the NC621 pod for aeronautical use, and the Narwhal for naval use. These mounts are used in about sixty countries.