The French Army has deployed its first VBCI infantry vehicle in Afghanistan in an effort to enhance its operational availability in the region.

VBCI programme director Philippe Memasçon said the 35th Infantry Regiment was the first French Army unit to trial the VBCI, which provides enhanced firepower and digitalisation.

The 7.8m-long VBCI weighs 28t and accommodates a pilot and a gunner to operate its 25mm automatic, and fully-equipped infantrymen.

The vehicle provides transport, protection and support to infantry combat groups and their command troops.

Memasçon said upgrades to the vehicle included greater protection against IEDs, an RPG protection kit and minor modifications to the turret.