Informal talks have begun between Russia and France for the acquisition of armoured amphibious vehicles for Russian forces, according to French company Panhard.

Panhard said it was discussing selling “less than a dozen” of the four-person amphibious personnel carriers (VBL).

A company spokesman said the talks were informal and there have not yet been any official discussions, according to Reuters.

The French army has around 1,600 VBLs in service and an additional 700 vehicles have been sold to other countries.

Last week, France announced that it was ready to sell a 21,300t Mistral class helicopter carrier to Russia as part of its military modernisation programme.