France’s special forces received the first of 25 heavyweight tactical vehicles on 1 February, a couple of months late as they should initially have been delivered before the end of 2016 according to the terms of a contract signed by the DGA procurement agency with Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) on 30 December 2015 (see the article we published on 8 Jan. 2016).
A total of 202 of these 10/11 tonne-class vehicles have been ordered. The vehicles were qualified by the DGA on 30 January as part of the special forces vehicle programme, launched in 2013 in the framework of the 2014-2019 Military Programme Law, which aims to harmonise the fleet of vehicles across the three branches of Special Forces. They currently use a disparate fleet which is extremely worn out because of intensive use in foreign operations.
Apart from the main contract holder, RTD, design and production of the lightweight vehicle will be the responsibility of its subsidiary Panhard, whilst Essone Sécurité, an industrial coach-builder based in Britanny specialised in armoured vehicles which has already designed and made weapon mounts for special forces vehicles, will design and produce the equipment common to both vehicles, the DGA said in a statement.
No figure was given for the contract but reports in April 2014 in the specialised media mentioned a sum of €40m for the first tranche of 100 vehicles.