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EUROSATORY French Army presents newly in use Anti-Drone VAB.

During the Eurosatory trade show, the French Army deployed the VAB ARLAD [reactive adaptation for anti-drone warfare] during its dynamic presentation, which is an armored vehicle equipped with drone detection and neutralization capabilities. Let's revisit its somewhat tumultuous development.
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VAB AELAD presented by French Army at Eurosatory (Picture source:Army recognition)

The development of the VAB ARLAD was initiated by the Army's Technical Section in 2020. The aim was to address an operational emergency, as explained by Joël Barre, then the General Delegate for Armament [DGA], who noted that the challenge was to equip the armored front vehicles [VAB] with an anti-drone detection radar and an effector capable of destroying drones, including a 12.7 mm machine gun, which was also intended to have grenade launching capabilities.

The 12.7 mm machine gun proved insufficient, so the STAT came up with the idea to enhance it with an "airburst" capability, using a 40 mm grenade launcher. This was to be paired with a radar—the same as that of the MILAD system [Joint Anti-Drone Warfare Means]—capable of detecting a mini-drone from 2,500 meters away.

Although a few units were deployed in the Sahel in 2021, the VAB ARLAD is still not operational on a large scale within the Army.

The development of the VAB ARLAD was supported by Arquus and CS Group, to whom the MILD program had been entrusted.

According to the program and developers, who spoke in April 2024, only 12 VAB ARLADs will be issued. However, in the military programming law for 2024-2030, in addition to these 12 VAB ARLADs, the Army is expected to have 36 light multi-role armored vehicles [VBMR-L] Serval dedicated to anti-aircraft warfare, 24 of which will be equipped with a MISTRAL [light portable anti-aircraft missile] turret. This particularly enhances the army units' capabilities in combating aerial threats.

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