The French Army has received the first four highly protected Aravis armoured vehicles from the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).

The Aravis vehicles will be operated by the combat engineer units in Afghanistan along with Souvim and Buffalo vehicles, which are used for route reconnaissance and fight against improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The 12.5t highly protected 4×4 wheeled air-transportable vehicle is specifically designed to operate in secure areas, can accommodate seven combat engineers and provide a very high level of protection against mines and IEDs.

The Aravis features a remotely operated turret armed with a 12.7mm machine gun, reconnaissance sensors and seven cameras that provide coverage of the immediate environment around the vehicle.

In April 2009, 15 Aravis were ordered by DGA from Nexter Systems under a €20m ($27.3m) contract.

Combat engineers who operate the vehicles have begun training this month while the remaining 11 Aravis vehicles are expected to be delivered by Nexter Systems to DGA by the end of April 2010.