By EDR On-Line staff
Emmanuel Levacher, Arquus CEO, met the press at the Cercle des Constructeurs Français de l’Automobile in Paris to illustrate the company results for 2019 and announce the way ahead for 2020 and the following years.
The past year was a very successful one, revenues showing an increase of 38% compared to 2018 and 72.5% compared to 2017. In 2019 Arquus bagged around 1.2 billion Euro of new orders, of which 750 million Euro are firm orders, the book-to-bill ratio being over 1. The order book is established at 5.8 billion Euro.
Last year saw a surge in production, Arquus having delivered 2,156 vehicles, among which 65 VAB MK3, 1,276 MSVS, 223 Sherpa Light, 61 Bastions, 500 Trappers and 92 Griffons. This marked an increase of around 47% compared to 2018, the number of working hours being increased by 26%, with the production of 1,668 new vehicles, 123 Griffon kits, 388 repaired vehicles and 44 remotely controlled turrets. The company facility in Limoges delivered 47% more vehicles than the previous years, a considerable achievement as this plant is producing Sherpas, VABs and elements of the Griffon 6×6 APC. France has still be the major customer, 58% of the vehicles having been delivered to the French Armed Forces, while 35% of its domestic turnover is represented by fleet maintenance. The maintenance and upgrade contracts involve armoured vehicles, such as the VBL, with the VBL Ultima upgrade, and the VAB, as well as logistic vehicles such as TRM2000, TRM10000 and GBC 180 trucks.
Last year marked the start of the Scorpion deliveries to the French Army, July 2019 having seen the presentation of the license plate of the first Griffon and the inauguration of the Scorpion Logistic Platform. The delivery of the 92 Griffon in December 2019 was followed by that of the three first vehicles to a French Army operational unit, namely the 3ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Marine based in Vannes and part of the 9th Marine Infantry brigade. It also marked the first export contract for Scorpion systems, Belgium having ordered vehicles for a value of 1.5 billion Euro, 214 million being the Arquus share.
Among the other main export customers we find Canada, who in 2019 received via Mack Defense, another Volvo subsidiary based in the US, the Kerax 8×8 trucks that conclude the MSVS (Medium Support Vehicle System) contract which involved a total of 1,587 vehicles. As part of the G5 Sahel contract, a programme aiming at strengthening African armies, namely those of Niger, Senegal and Chad, in the fight against terror groups, in 2019 Arquus delivered 61 Bastions and 84 logistic trucks.
However Arquus is not only vehicles: a few years ago the company started working on Remotely Controlled Weapon Stations (RCWS) and 2019 saw the first export order for the Hornet, as well as the production of 44 T1, the latter aimed at the Scorpion programme, 100 more of those RCWS to be produced in 2020.
Looking at 2020, Emmanuel Levacher underlined that for his company it will be the “year of the Jaguar”, as four production vehicles are expected to be produced by year end beside 128 Griffon, marking a considerable step forward for the Scorpion programme, which is carried out by the temporary consortium regrouping Nexter, Arquus and Thales.
However on some other issues the company will not await its French customer: Levacher announced that the Scarabée light armoured vehicle will be proposed to the export market at the incoming Eurosatory exhibition; as the VBAE (Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement) programme, aimed at replacing VBLs currently in service, is not part of the current 5-year programming law, Arquus intends moving ahead on the export path, while being ready to start working with the national forces once the requirements for the VBAE will be fully finalized.
The hybrid evolutive vehicle will not be the only new system visible at the Arquus stand at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte next June: the company will also exhibit for the first time in public its new line of tactical and logistic trucks in 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 configurations, a concept-study 8×8 having been shown in October 2019 during the Forum Entreprises Défense at Versailles-Satory. While the Scarabée will be oriented at the export market, the new logistic fleet aims at the French forces bid for the replacement of the trucks fleet, which has been already postponed twice and should be launched before year-end, export campaigns following suite.
Photos courtesy Arquus