First contract for armored vehicles Serval for the French army
On January 15, 2021, it was reported that on December 23, 2020, the General Directorate of Armaments (Direction Générale de l'Armement - DGA) of the Ministry of the Armed Forces of France issued a contract to a consortium of French companies Nexter Systems and Texelis for the supply of the French army of the first 364 serial multipurpose armored vehicles Serval with a 4x4 wheel arrangement, also designated VBMR Leger (Véhicule blindé multi-rôles). New French armored vehicle Nexter Serval (VBMR Leger) (c) Nexter
364 Serval vehicles were ordered in three versions - patrol (actually an armored personnel carrier), reconnaissance and communications. The first 108 Serval vehicles under the contract are to be delivered in 2022 - 12 in the first half of the year and 96 in the second half of the year, all of them will be performed in a patrol version.
In total, the French army plans to purchase 489 Serval vehicles by the end of 2025, and 978 Serval vehicles by 2030, and it is planned to create at least two more variants of the vehicle (ambulance and electronic warfare), in the future it is possible to develop several more options (command, engineering, advanced artillery vehicles observers). In the future, it is possible to purchase up to 2,000 Serval units for a complete replacement in the French army of VAB armored personnel carriers (4x4) and parts of VBL light armored vehicles (VAB armored personnel carriers are also subject to replacement with new armored vehicles with 6x6 VBMR Griffon and EBRC Jaguar wheel arrangement). Earlier it was stated that the cost of one Serval machine in serial purchases should be from 500 to 700 thousand euros (excluding the cost of special equipment).
Recall that on February 12, 2018, Nexter Systems (KNDS) received a DGA contract for the development of promising "light" armored vehicles VBMR Leger for the French armed forces. The VBMR Leger vehicle, now called Serval, became the third model of a promising wheeled armored vehicle of the French army under the SCORPION program (Synergie du contact renforcée par la polyvalence et l'infovalorisation) after previously contracted armored vehicles with a 6x6 VBMR Griffon (which will be manufactured by the consortium Nexter, Arquus and Thales).
The contract was awarded to Nexter as a result of a tender in which the main competitors were Renault Truck Defense (RTD, now Arquus, part of the Volvo group, offered a version of its ACMAT Bastion HM in the tender) and the Thales group (offered a version of the famous Australian Bushmaster) ... In fact, the VBMR Leger project from Nexter, chosen by the French Ministry of Armed Forces, is a lightweight two-axle version of the well-known Nexter TITUS armored vehicle with a 6x6 wheel arrangement.
The public presentation of a prototype of the Serval machine was made in September 2018. It is reported that to date, 10 prototypes of the machine have been manufactured, which are being tested since September 2019.
Detailed characteristics of the Serval have not yet been disclosed, but it is reported that the vehicle will have a total combat weight of about 15 tons (according to other sources - up to 17 tons), enhanced mine protection and a capacity in the patrol version of 10 equipped people (including two crew members) equipped with the system FELIN. The vehicle will be equipped with the SCORPION combat network information system (SICS) and a remotely controlled machine gun module with a 12.7 mm machine gun.
Serval vehicles will be manufactured at the head tank building plant Nexter in Rohan, the contractor for the development and production of the vehicle's chassis (suspension and transmission) is Texelis (Limoges).
In the period 2018-2031, the French army also expects to purchase 1,872 VBMR Griffon armored vehicles (to replace the VAB armored personnel carrier fleet) and 300 EBRC Jaguar armored vehicles (to replace the AMX-10RC and ERC-90S cannon armored vehicles). New French armored vehicle Nexter Serval (VBMR Leger) (c) Nexter One of the prototypes of the new French armored vehicle Nexter Serval (VBMR Leger) (c) Nexter