Thales welcomes Franco-Belgian agreement on CaMo armored vehicle contract

As part of a strategic partnership between Belgium and France, the government-to-government agreement on the CaMo (Capacité Motorisée, Motorized Capacity) project has now come into effect and the contract for the procurement of armored vehicles for the Belgian forces has been awarded for an amount of 1.6 billion euro.

Thales welcomes Franco Belgian agreement on CaMo armored vehicle contract 2
EBRC Jaguar displayed at Eurosatory 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The cooperation agreement between the French and Belgian governments in the area of land mobility came into effect on 21 June 2019. This milestone sets the official seal of approval on the strategic cooperation agreement behind yesterday's award by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) of the CaMo contract to French industry. Under the contract, the Belgian Army will take delivery, between 2025 and 2030, of 382 Griffon multi-role armored vehicles and 60 Jaguar data-driven reconnaissance and combat vehicles. These vehicles will be equipped to the specifications of France's Scorpion programme and will be fully compatible with the equivalent French vehicles. The Belgian and French land forces will conduct an initial joint training exercise in Belgium in September 2019 to test command procedures.

CaMo is a strategic partnership between the land components of the French and Belgian armed forces and provides a tangible example of steps being taken to build an operational European defense community. The partnership could be expanded under permanent structured cooperation arrangements. The objective of the program, dubbed "CaMo", is to establish a partnership between the French and Belgian armies, which will is based on identical combat vehicles. Under this partnership, Belgium and France will share a common organization, training programs, and logistical support.

On 25th June, 2019, Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Belgian army Land Component, said it was high time for the Belgian army to update its armored vehicle fleet and associated doctrine. "The advantage of being linked to a nation like France is that it has made this system very modular," explains Colonel Manuel Monin, in charge of the integration program for new armored vehicles in the Land Component of the Belgian army. "In addition, it also has a process that will update it: we already know very well that the version we bought in 2018 will not be the version we will receive in 2025. But all these differences will be managed, all these improvements will be managed together with our French partners, and that for the next 30 years”, Col. Monin added.

The Griffons and Jaguars are currently being developed under the French "Scorpion" program. They will replace Belgian Army's Piranha III 8x8 and Dingo II 4x4 armored vehicles currently in use. The Jaguar and Griffon vehicles are purchased along with communications systems and spare parts. With this investment, the government clearly chooses to modernize the existing motorized land forces in order to allow them to spearhead Belgian engagement in a context of collective security.

The Jaguar is a 6x6 armored vehicle fitted a two-man turret 40 CTAS armed with one 40mm CTC cannon with Ammunition Handling System (AHS). The 40mm cannon has a maximum range of 1,500 m. The 40 CTC can incorporate multiple kinds of ammunition, which gives the vehicle the capability to quickly engage threats across the modern battlefield spectrum including those within urban environments. The turret is equipped with a dual-MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée - Medium Range Missile) missile launcher. The MMP missile designed by MBDA is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance and which has a maximum range of 4,000m. Four smoke grenade dischargers are mounted at the front each side of the turret.

The Griffon VBMR (Véhicule Blindé MutiRôle - Multirole armored vehicle) is a 6x6 armored vehicle personnel carrier (APC) that will mainly replace the old VAB 4x4 APCs in service with the French army for 40 years. The Griffon has been designed to have a modular architecture and it will be delivered in five configurations including personnel carrier, command post, artillery observation and ambulance. The Griffon has a maximum gross vehicle weight of 24.5 tonnes and carries up to 10 personnel. The main armament of the Griffon will include a remotely operated weapon station armed with a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun or one 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The Belgian army Griffons will receive an RCWS made by FN Herstal.

Thales welcomes Franco Belgian agreement on CaMo armored vehicle contract 3
Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Land Component of the Belgian army, in front of a VBMR Griffon on 24 June 2019 (Picture source: Belgian MoD)

Thales welcomes Franco Belgian agreement on CaMo armored vehicle contract 1
EBMR Griffon displayed at Eurosatory 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)