Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé MARK 3 (VAB Mk3), a new 6×6 medium wheeled armoured vehicle developed by Renault Trucks Defense, provides armed forces with high-level protection and multi-mission capabilities.
The vehicle was unveiled during the Eurosatory 2012 defence and security exhibition held in Paris, France. The infantry combat vehicle version took part in the IDEX 2015 international defence exhibition held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The vehicle is based on the standard VAB armoured vehicle, which entered production in 1976.
VAB Mk3 variants
The VAB Mk3 vehicle has a number of variants, which include armoured personnel carrier (APC), infantry combat vehicle (ICV), command post (CP), ambulance, 120mm mortar carrier, and ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance and targeting). The vehicle can be configured for amphibious operations too.
Design and features of VAB Mk3 vehicle
The VAB Mk3 armoured vehicle features modular design and monocoque hull structure. It has low lifecycle costs and is air-transportable internally by the A400M or C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft.
Higuard is a high-mobility, medium-armoured vehicle designed and built by French armoured vehicle manufacturer Renault Trucks Defense.
It has a length of 7.3m, width of 2.65m, height of 2.5m and a wheel base of 1.4m. Its gross vehicle weight (GVW) is 20t and internal volume is 13m³. The amphibious version has a GVW of 18.2t.
The vehicle is operated by two crew members, seated in the front section. The APC variant can accommodate up to ten personnel in the troop compartment, whereas the ICV version can transport up to seven infantrymen. Troop capacity of the mortar carrier variant is two members.
The ambulance variant is configured with raised roof for medical treatment and can carry two medical staff and up to four patients on stretchers. The command post variant incorporates three operator workstations, one commander station, battalion-level battle management system (BMS), and HF/VHF/UHF radios sets.
The crew compartment is equipped with two side doors and large bulletproof windows. The troop compartment has two rear doors for entry and egress of the personnel, while the rear section can be optionally fitted with a hydraulic ramp. A roof hatch provides emergency exit for the troops.
The vehicle can be equipped with a wide range of optional equipment, including perimeter surveillance system, rear camera, long-range camera for day and night surveillance, global positioning system (GPS), intercom, gunshot acoustic detector, 300A alternator, air conditioner / heater, and Battlenet Inside opened electronic architecture.
Armament of VAB Mk3
The armoured personnel carrier variant is armed with a 12.7mm machine gun mounted on a manual or remote-controlled weapon system.
The infantry combat vehicle variant can be fitted with a medium-calibre weapon station such as CMI Defence Cockerill CPWS 20-25, Nexter ARX-20 and BAE Systems TRT-25/30 tactical remote turret.
The mortar carrier version can carry a 120mm mortar system such as TDA 2R2M, as well as 40 rounds of ammunition.
Survivability features of the wheeled armoured vehicle
The VAB Mk3 vehicle offers ballistic protection up to level 4 of NATO (STANAG 4569) standard and mine / IED protection up to a MRAP level.
It can be optionally installed with nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) equipment, as well as rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) static protection features. A radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) jammer is available as an option to safeguard the vehicle against RCIEDs. The optional protection systems also include a smoke grenade launcher, laser detection system, and a fire-extinguisher.
The VAB Mk3 is powered by a Renault six-cylinder MD7 engine, which generates a maximum power of 340hp and a maximum torque of 1,600nm at 1,300rpm. It is coupled to an automatic gearbox that features six forward gears and one reverse gear.
The 1400 R20 tyres fitted with central tyre inflation system provide improved all-terrain mobility. Each wheel has an independent suspension. The optional driveline components include run-flat tyres, directional rear axle and a winch.
Performance of VAB Mk3 armoured vehicle
The vehicle can reach a maximum road speed of 100km/h and a maximum road range of 800km at 60km/h. The gradient and side slopes are 60% and 40%, respectively. The vehicle can cross trenches of 0.9m, climb vertical obstacles of 0.5m and has a fording depth of 1.4m.
The Global Armoured Vehicles and Counter-IED Vehicles Market 2011-2021
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