By Paolo Valpolini
With its Titus RAID on exhibition in real Nexter exhibited at Milipol its capabilities in the paramilitary world, including ground robots of different kind. However the newest addition came in the form of a model, this being the Serval 4×4 proposed to the Gendarmerie, this police corps being in the need of updating part of its ageing vehicles park. Developed as part of the Scorpion programme launched by the French Army, and was initially known as the VBMR Léger, which stands for light Armoured Multi-Role Vehicle. The aim was to equip rapid deployment units, one A400M being able to carry two of those vehicles that has a combat weight of around 15 tonnes. The vehicle has just started its tests with the French DGA, the Armaments General Direction, and is produced by a team including Nexter and Texelis. Three versions are planned for the Army, armoured patrol vehicle, tactical communication node and ISTAR.
The “blue” version maintains the same chassis and body of the original Serval, hence the same protection level, but with some adds-on. The key one is a small one man observation turret located on the top centre of the vehicle, allowing full 360° direct observation while remaining under protection. The other major item that will make it different from Army versions will be the dozer blade, which will allow removing obstacles in public order duties. Metal grids protecting armoured transparents are installed, as well as a loudspeaker system. The vehicle will maintain the same transport capability, which is a crew of two plus eight dismounts.
Currently this version is still on the computer screens at the Satory Nexter HQ, however a prototype should be produced in the near future. Should the Gendarmerie acquire the Serval, synergies might be found in terms of product support with what is being planned for the Army, the Armée de Terre aiming at deploying 498 such vehicles by 2025.
Photo by Paolo Valpolini