The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has taken delivery of 80 acoustic sniper localisation system (SLATE) kits from Renault Trucks Defense for integration into the TOP 12.7 variant of the VAB armoured personnel carrier (APC) in Afghanistan.
The kits were delivered under an urgent operational requirement order received from the agency in November 2011. The Slate system features a PILARw acoustic antenna for detecting gunshots, which in turn is connected to a Protector M151 remote control weapon system present on the armoured vehicle. After integration into the vehicle, the system helps in rapid detection of gunshots, particularly sniper attacks, enabling the crew to automatically cue the gun turret in the direction of the gunshot and return fire.
The system is highly sensitive and provides information on whether the gunshot came from a small or medium-calibre weapon, and can also be connected to information and command systems for sharing of tactical information. Slate stores the geographical information in a memory system enabling the crew to engage the enemy with precision fire from a turret-mounted 12.7mm machine gun or 40mm grenade launcher from a safe distance, even after the vehicle has changed position.
Renault has integrated new functionalities into Slate in partnership with DGA and the French Army Technical Department, STAT, to enhance the protection of troops. The VAB TOP12.7 is a fully amphibious 4x4, NBC-proof, light-armoured vehicle designed to provide troops with basic protection against 7.62mm AP ammunition and light infantry weapons.
The armaments include a 12.7mm or 25mm Dragar turret, an anti-tank missile launcher turret and a variety of mortar systems.
Currently, the French army operates 4,000 VABs and the vehicles were deployed in Kuwait, the Ivory Coast, Yugoslavia and Chad, and also to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Image: The French Army receives SLATE kits for integration into the VAB armoured personnel carrier in Afghanistan.