The possible sale of 120 VBCI 2 to Qatar could lead to others in the short term.

In December 2017, Paris and Doha announced the signing of a letter of intent relating to the acquisition, by Qatar, of 490 VBCI 2, for Armored Infantry Combat Vehicles Mk2, to be acquired from Nexter, with an envelope ranging from €1,5 to €2 billion.

Negotiations were, however, particularly difficult around this contract, also hampered by other areas of tension between the two countries. Two more later, in 2019, Doha announced the end of negotiations, and its ambition to turn to another solution, the German Boxer being frequently advanced.

Relations between France and Qatar have improved since then, notably due to French participation in securing the 2022 Football World Cup, organized in the country, putting the VBCI back in the spotlight, without we know whether or not Qatar will actually turn to this model. It seems that the decision in this case is now close, while, according to the website, Doha could soon order 120 VBCI from KNDS-France.

120 VBCI 2 for the Qatar Armed Forces in final negotiation

According to the French economic information site, very close to industrial issues in the national defense sphere, Qatar has, in fact, requested from KNDS-France, a final proposal relating to 120 VBCI in CT40 evolution, to equip 2 of the 6 battalions mechanized infantry of the country.

The VBCI 2 offered in Qatar is equipped with the CT40 turret and a 13 hp Volvo D600 engine.

The other four battalions would be equipped with German and Turkish armored vehicles, the Boxer 8×8 designed and built by ARTEC GmbH, a joint venture bringing together KNDS-Deutschland (formerly Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), Rheinmetall Landsystem and Rheinmetall Netherlands, and a VCI of the Turkish BMC, a company 49% owned by Qatar. We do not know the exact breakdown of this assembly.

The VBCI proposed by KNDS-France is based on the VBCI 2 model, an armored vehicle using a redesigned body of the VBCI, but with a more powerful Volvo D13 600 hp engine, as well as vetronics and a new generation turret. This will be based on the T40 turret, armed with the Franco-British CT40 cannon, which notably equips the Jaguars of the Army, and the Ajax of the British Army.

The level of protection of the VBCI is also improved, particularly against mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED for the English acronym), and it remains below the efficiency threshold of 8 tonnes per axle for wheeled mobility, with a combat mass of 32 tonnes and a power-to-weight ratio of 18,75 hp per tonne. Finally, the steering rear axle gives the VBCI 2 increased mobility, particularly in rough terrain or in an urban environment.

An order from VBCI which could lead to others for KNDS-France

Although having proven very effective in combat, especially in asymmetrical theaters such as Mali, the French VBCI has, until now, not met with the expected success on the international scene. The Army remains, today, the only operator of the KNDS France armored vehicle. Thus, the last of the 628 VBCI in service with the French Armed Forces was delivered in 2015.

KNDS-France factory
Industrial production of VBCI ceased in 2015.

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  1. What differentiates the VBCI2 from the Jaguar in terms of armor... the VBCI is well protected against mines, ok, but it still remains very high. The extra turret doesn't help anything. I'm not military. But that doesn't give me complete confidence in taking head-on shots. When you see the CV90, it seems more solid.


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