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Armored personnel carrier


The French VAB armored personnel carriers are employed for just about every support function

Entered service 1976
Crew 2 men
Personnel 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 13 t
Length 5.98 m
Width 2.49 m
Height 2.06 m
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm
Engine Renault MIDS 60-20-45 diesel
Engine power 220 hp
Maximum road speed 92 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 7 km/h
Range 1 000 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.5 - 0.6 m
Trench 1 m
Fording Amphibious


   The VAB armored personnel carrier was developed by Renault to meet a French Army requirement. A 4x4 configuration was selected and production started in 1976. The 6x6 version has been rejected by the French Army, however later it was redeveloped as an infantry fighting vehicle and offered for export customers as the VAB VCI. Both versions have many components in common. By the mid-1990s over 5 000 VABs had been produced, 4 300 for the French armed forces with the rest going to at least fifteen customer nations, with other undisclosed orders having been placed at one time or another. Its production still continues.

   In the French Army service these armored personnel carrier are allocated with the rapid deployment force, used overseas, while the heavier AMX-10P infantry fighting vehicle is used by the forces committed to European defense.

   The base model is the 4x4 VAB VTT armored personnel carrier, which carries an infantry squad of 8 - 10 fully-equipped troops in the relatively spacious armored hull. Crew and personnel are protected from the 7.62-mm bullets and anti-personnel mines. This armored personnel carrier can also carry up to 2 000 kg load in place of the troops.

   Most VABs carry at least a 7.62-mm machine gun, although 12.7-mm MGs and 20-mm cannons are fitted on some APCs. Ballistic protection may be provided by various types of turrets.

   In general the VAB armored personnel carrier is characterized by its simplicity, great cross-country performance. Vehicle uses independent suspension system, which provides better cross-country mobility. It is also fitted with a central tyre inflation system. Like many wheeled armored vehicles the VAB can swim across small water obstacles, such as rivers. On water it is propelled by its wheels or by waterjets, mounted at the rear of the hull. A trim vane is erected at the front, before entering water. This armored personnel carrier can be airlifted by the C-130 Hercules military aircraft.

   Since its introduction the VAB series has become one of the most diverse of all current French combat vehicles, having been produced with many variations. The VAB is often allocated to French Army units as an anti-tank vehicle, armed with either MILAN or Mephisto anti-tank guided missiles. These vehicles have roof-mounted launcher turrets and carry reload missiles inside the troop compartment. Other VAB APCs are employed by the French Army for just about every support vehicle function that can be devised.




   VAB PC, armored command vehicle;

   VAB Sanitaire, armored ambulance;

   VAB Echelon, armored repair vehicle;

   VCAC HOT, anti-tank vehicle fitted with Mephisto system;

   VCAC HOT, anti-tank vehicle, fitted with UTM-800 turret, and armed with HOT missiles;

   VCAC MILAN, anti-tank vehicle, fitted with MILAN missiles;

   VPM-81, 81-mm mortar carrier;

   VTM-120, mortar towing vehicle, used to tow a 120-mm mortar;

   NBC reconnaissance vehicle;

   armored recovery vehicle;

   communications vehicle;

   electronic warfare vehicle;

   surveillance radar platform;

   air defense platform with gun armament;

   air defense platform with Mistral missiles;

   VBC-90 armored car;

   VMO internal security vehicle.


   Some other variants exist. Most of them having been produced for export customers.

   There is also an improved VAB, also called a New Generation model. It was offered from 1990s. It features numerous design updates and enhancements, including improved armor and new engine. These can be retrofited to existing models. It was expected that all surviving French Army VABs will be upgraded to this standard.

   Also there is a VAB Mk.2. It is also an upgraded version of the VAB. All of the key aspects, such as protection, mobility and payload capacity were improved.


Video of the VAB armored personnel carrier










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