Tuesday, November 16, 2010

French Army Deploys New MRAP in Afghanistan

The highly protected armored vehicle (VBHP) was deployed for the first time in Afghanistan. This vehicle is designed to carry, under armour protection, teams working to disable improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The 11 vehicles arrived in Kabul by chartered jumbo jet at the end of September, and were taken over by a team of experts from the Technical Section of the Army (STAT) to convert them to fully-capable operational configuration. In three weeks, they were fitted with jammers, perimeter high-definition cameras, weapons, and communications and navigation system.

The vehicles have now entered operational service with the counter-IED mine disposal teams deployed in Kapisa and Surobi, and with the special section tasked with route opening in mined areas.

This latter section, deployed in the French area of responsibility, is a particularly appropriate response to the fight against improvised explosive devices, which is the main threat to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Thanks to the vehicle’s state-of-the-art design, combat engineers now have a protection level that has been rarely achieved to date.

The vehicle is also particularly suited to the Afghan theater as its comfort level allows the crew to perform its mission for long durations; it also offers excellent mobility and easy handling.

With a remotely-operated turret equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun coupled with a thermal camera, the VBHP provides its crew with significant firepower to fight back if attacked.

Along with the SOUVIM route clearing system and the Buffalo armoured vehicle, the VBHP rounds out the route clearing capabilities available to French troops.

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