Renault Trucks Defense / Panhard has received a contract from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to extend the service life of the light armoured vehicles (VBL) and VBL2s.
Under the initial feasibility design contract, the company will provide a solution to upgrade the VBL, including its engine, gearbox, suspension, and braking.
Focused on VBL's mobility aspects, the contract aims to keep the vehicle in service with the French Armed Forces for the next 15 years.
The company delivered an initial demonstrator to the French Army in December 2014 for assessment, leading to the award of extension design contract.
The French armed forces are set to receive three other vehicles at the end of this year for trials at the start of 2016.
Located in Marolles-en-Hurepoix, the Panhard production plant, as the original manufacturer of the VBL, is responsible for preparing the delivery of pre-production vehicles.
Designed in the early 1980s, the VBL is a 4x4 wheeled all-terrain vehicle, primarily deployed in patrol and surveillance missions, and can also be used for anti-tank or air defence missions.
The vehicle is offered in a number of mission variants, including troop carrier, scout vehicle, reconnaissance, security, command and control, as well as an anti-tank vehicle.
To date, Renault has built more than 2,300 VBLs, which are operational within 16 armies worldwide, including 1,600 vehicles in service with the French Army.
The vehicle has been successfully deployed by the French Army in various missions in Africa, Lebanon, Kosovo, and Afghanistan for the last 15 years.
Image: The French 1st Airborne Hussars Regiment's light armoured vehicle in Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of Supercopter.