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Footage of a French VAB Armored personnel carrier in Ukrainian Forces

According to a tweet from Salva Ukraini dated August 27, 2023, footage has emerged showing French VAB armored personnel carriers in Ukraine. This article aims to delve into the details of the VABs, how many have been delivered to Ukraine, and what this means for the ongoing conflict in the region..
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French VAB Armored Personnel Carrier used by the Ukrainian Forces (Picture source: Twitter account of Slava Ukraini)

The exact number of VABs delivered to Ukraine has not been publicly disclosed. However, French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu has announced that France would transfer "significant quantities" of French-made armored personnel carriers and support vehicles to Ukraine, including VAB-type armored vehicles. Nevertheless, several sources claim that France has sent around 60 of these vehicles to Ukrainian forces. The vehicles are part of France's broader military aid to Ukraine, which also includes CAESAR 6x6 self-propelled howitzers and SCALP missiles.

French military aid to Ukraine is extensive and varied; the recent footage of the VAB attests to the successful integration of French equipment within the Ukrainian armed forces. It is certain that France will continue to aid Ukraine for as long as necessary, as declared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna.

The Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé (VAB) is an armored personnel carrier designed and manufactured in France. Since its introduction in 1976, it has been deployed in various conflicts around the world, from the Western Sahara War to the Russo-Ukrainian War. It was designed by GIAT Industries and is manufactured by Renault Trucks Defense and MACK Defense.

Weighing 13.8 tonnes when fully loaded, the VAB measures nearly 6 meters in length, 2.49 meters in width, and 2.06 meters in height. It is designed to accommodate a crew of two and can carry up to ten passengers. The vehicle is protected by steel armor capable of resisting 7.62 mm bullets, and upgrades with MEXAS composite armor and mine protection are also available.

Under the hood, the VAB is equipped with a Renault MIDS 062045 engine, delivering a power output of 235 kW (320 hp). This power gives the vehicle a power-to-weight ratio of 17 W/kg, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 110 km/h on the road and nearly 8 km/h in water. With a fuel capacity of 310 liters, the VAB has an operational range of 1,200 km. In terms of armament, the VAB is generally equipped with an AA52 7.62 mm machine gun or an M2 12.7 mm machine gun, providing substantial firepower to support ground operations.

With over 5,000 units built, the VAB remains a key element of the French armed forces and several other armies around the world. Its robust design, versatile capabilities, and proven service history make it a leading armored personnel carrier, suitable for a wide variety of missions and theaters of operations.


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