PRESS AND MEDIA RELEASES
Espirt de Corps, Jason McNaught,
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 2013
© IHS Global Limited, used with permission
Espirt de Corps,
Stewart Webb, March 2013
Wolverine Comes Out On Top For New Canadian Name for Nexter’s VBCI
April 11, 2013
Esprit de Corps magazine and Nexter Systems held a reception at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, to unveil the new name for Nexter’s armoured infantry combat vehicle (VBCI). On hand for the event was Mike Duckworth, Senior VP of Nexter, David Pratt, former Minister of National Defence and representatives from the French Embassy.
Esprit de Corps conducted a nationwide naming competition for the VBCI, running ads in their magazine and website, before turning the entries over to a panel that included Lieutenant-General (ret’d) Andrew Leslie, Queen’s University Professor Douglas Bland and Major-General (ret’d) Clive Addy. The VBCI is in the running for the Canadian Army’s Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) program.
The panel narrowed the names down to five contenders for the VBCI: Polar Bear, Wolverine, Scorpion, Grenadier and Muskox.
After publishing the list in the magazine, the readers started voting and “Wolverine” was selected by a wide margin. As several readers had initially chosen the same name, their names were entered into a hat and Jock Williams of Toronto became the ‘official namer’ of the VBCI. Williams was on hand at the Rideau Club, thanks to event sponsor Porter Airlines, to present a $5,000 donation made on his behalf to the Military Families Fund by Nexter. Accepting the cheque was Colonel Gerry Blais, Director of Casualty Support Management and the Joint Personnel Support Unit.
In total Esprit de Corps readers submitted more than 40 possible names for the VBCI. Here are the outlines of the top ones:
GRENADIER - A grenadier (from French, derived from the word grenade) was originally a specialized soldier, first established as a distinct role in the mid-to-late 17th century, for the throwing of grenades and sometimes assault operations. Grenadiers were chosen from the strongest and largest soldiers. By the 18th century, throwing grenades as a specialized task was no longer relevant, but the term “grenadier” continues to be used today in many militaries.
MUSKOX - The sheer size and brute strength makes the Muskox the majestic overlord of northern mammals. Muskoxen also have a distinctive defensive behavior when the herd is threatened, the bulls and cows will face outward to form a stationary ring or semicircle around the calves. The bulls are usually the front line for defense against predators but the cows also have long curved horns and thick coats for defensive protection.
POLAR BEAR - The polar bear is native to the land mass within the Arctic Circle. It is the world’s largest land carnivore, and also, the largest bear. A ferocious hunter, the polar bear is without a doubt the king of the tundra. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key symbo in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of Arctic indigenous peoples and it remains so to this day.
SCORPION - Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals that have eight legs (co-incidentally the VBCI is an eight wheeled vehicle). Scorpions are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. Able to exist in the harshest climates on earth, the Northern Scorpion is indigenous to Alberta and has a fearsome reputation as a hunter of prey much larger than itself.
WOLVERINE - A sleek, fast and tenacious predator, it is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids of the weasel family. The wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself. The wolverine can be found primarily in remote reaches of the subarctic with the greatest numbers in northern Canada.
VBCI armored infantry fighting vehicles en route to Mali
January 21, 2013
The 92nd Infantry Regiment of Clermont-Ferrand is sending not one but two companies to Mali as part of the French military Operation ‘Serval’.
The Regiment’s 4th Company, which had already integrated these armored infantry fighting vehicles (known as VBCIs) started preparing the vehicles as of January 12th for a forthcoming deployment in the Malian theatre of operations. About a week later, on January 18th, the 1st Company received its VBCIs from the emergency vehicle fleet of the 5th equipment support base in Carpiagne (5th BSMAT).
The next day, the 4th Company infantrymen arrived at Miramas (in the Bouches-du-Rhône) and at their assembly and waiting area, also the destination for other army units called up for duty in Mali. Meanwhile, the VBCIs were taken to Toulon by train for loading on board the French Navy’s sealift and command vessel, Dixmude. The ship’s destination has not been disclosed. The journey should take a total of at least ten days.VBCIs have notably been deployed in Afghanistan with extremely positive feedback. Weighing in at almost 29 metric tons, the vehicles have a significant deterrent effect on the opposition. In the field in Afghanistan, only a single rocket out of about fifteen fired by the armed insurgents actually reached one of these vehicles. It caused no damage. “We can assume that the aggressive appearance of the gun’s turret puts extra pressure on the insurgent firing the rocket” states a report drawn up last summer by a 35th Infantry Regiment Captain.
Another of the VBCI’s strengths lies in its superior mobility. As an eight wheel drive vehicle, it gets as close as possible to the enemy’s position and intimidates adversaries. The vehicle also offers the soldiers enhanced protection. During military operations in Afghanistan, an explosive device “lacerated” two tires on the VBCI, but did not prevent it from reaching its advanced base and resuming its mission two hours later.
Here's what others are saying about Nexter's VBCI...
"On the roads it has achieved speeds of over 100 km/hr, that's unheard of for an armoured vehicle."
– Dr. Peter Caddick-Adams, UK Defence Academy
"It is vital that any armoured infantry vehicle has the ability to engage and destroy other vehicles of a similar type."
– Simon Dunstan, Military Author
Discovery TV's Military Channel recently ranked Nexter's VBCI number eight on Combat Count Down's Top Ten Revolutionary Weapons Systems on the Planet. The program showcases, "the biggest and best war machines on battlefields around the globe, traveling the world to see the elite technology from the land, sea and air."
Mali: VBCI and Caesar deployed for Operation Serval
January 17, 2013
The French Army has decided to bolster its ground forces in Mali by sending in some heavy-duty reinforcements. According to a top-ranking military official, no less than 20 VBCI wheeled infantry fighting vehicles are soon to be deployed in the Malian theater of operations, surpassing the number of VBCIs engaged in Afghanistan (13 vehicles at the height of the French engagement). The wheeled 8x8 VBCI is the most modern armored vehicle serving in the French Army. With its impressive armor, the 30-tonne vehicle can accommodate a combat team of 8 troops with full Felin equipment in complete safety. Its 25mm turret-mounted cannon (backed by a 7.62mm machine gun) offers high-precision firing at up to 2,500 meters both day and night.
The VBCI is to be joined in Mali by a battery of 155mm self-propelled Caesar howitzers, the highest caliber artillery currently operated by the French Army. Soon to arrive in Bamako, the Caesar is highly mobile and provides impressive fire power with high accuracy up to 40 km.
These high-powered deployments would indicate that the terrorist resistance has been more stubborn than expected, but also clearly demonstrates France’s determination to neutralize the Jihadist extremists as quickly as possible.
Over 1,500 French soldiers have already been deployed in just six days, and will rapidly be forming two GTIA joint tactical battalions. Including special forces and intelligence units, approximately 3,000 French troops will soon be operational in the theater.
Rename Nexter’s VBCI and win a $5,000 donation in your name to the Military Families Fund
Ottawa, Canada, December, 2012 – Nexter in cooperation with Esprit de Corps magazine would like your help to rename its Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI) vehicle. Please send your name suggestions to us by email, email@example.com, or online, www.nexter.ca, and include “Name the Vehicle” in the subject line. All submissions will be reviewed by a three-person panel and the top five suggestions will be published in the next edition of Esprit de Corps magazine, where readers will be asked to vote for their favourite name. The person who submitted the winning name will have a $5,000 donation made on their behalf to the Military Families Fund by Nexter.
Nexter Systems Offers VBCI 25 in Bid for Canadian Army’s Close Combat Vehicle Program
Ottawa, Canada, September 4, 2012 – Nexter Systems is pleased to announce it has submitted a bid in response to the Government of Canada’s Request for Proposals for the Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) program.
Nexter will offer the VBCI 25 – a platform currently in service with the French Army in both Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Canada’s CCV program will deliver to the Land Forces a well protected armoured vehicle with very high tactical mobility. It will be capable of transporting an infantry section in close combat while operating in support of tanks. The Department of National Defence is seeking to acquire 108 CCVs with an option for up to 30 additional vehicles.
“The VBCI is a state of the art platform with an excellent combination of protection, mobility and firepower” said Patrick Lier, Nexter's Vice President, Sales & Business Development, North America. “Perhaps its most significant feature is its thick aluminum alloy hull which provides unparalleled protection against mines and IEDs.”
Capable of speeds over 100 km per hour, the VBCI has a one man turret with a 25 mm NATO standard gun, a 7.62 co-axial machine gun and grenade launchers. With a range of 750 km, it can sustain an infantry section on operations for three days. The VBCI 25 is the only wheeled 8x8 platform developed from its inception as a close combat vehicle specifically designed to operate with main battle tanks.
“Overall,” noted Lier, “the VBCI is an excellent solution to Canada’s Close Combat Vehicle needs. As a wheeled vehicle, its life-cycle costs are significantly lower than similar tracked vehicles and the maturity of the VBCI platform removes much of the CCV program risk and uncertainty associated with new vehicle procurement programs. It is an exceptional vehicle at an affordable price, with no development required to fully meet Canadian requirements.” Nexter has delivered over 400 of a total of 630 vehicles ordered by the French Army.
Nexter is also fully committed to building and servicing the vehicle in Canada. Said Lier: “We attach great importance to fulfilling our industrial and regional benefits obligations to Canada. We have an exceptional group of over 100 industrial partners and the CCV rebid has simply served to reinforce these relationships and our team’s commitment.
“The Nexter team is ready to work closely with the Canadian Government to ensure that the men and women of the Canadian Army have the best equipment possible to confront the full range of unpredictable and dangerous security challenges that lie ahead."
VBCI From Nexter - A vehicle for all seasons
Canadian Defence Review - February 2012
Volume 18 - Issue 1: Cover Story
Nexter Brings Together Over 100 Canadian Companies in Support of its Bids on Canada’s Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) Program
Ottawa, Canada, January 31, 2012 – Over 120 business people representing 100 companies from across Canada attended a major Suppliers Meeting sponsored by Nexter at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa today. The meeting brought together companies Nexter is seeking to partner with in the event of a successful bid on the CCV program.
Through the CCV program, the Canadian Forces will acquire 108 vehicles with an option for 30 more. A decision on the $1.2 billion is expected later this year.
A team of senior officials from Nexter led by Philippe Burtin, President and CEO of Nexter, were on hand to provide information on the company, its growing global presence, its strategy on the CCV Program, the In-Service Support contract and Nexter’s commitment to Canada’s Industrial and Regional Benefits policy. Of particular interest to the potential Canadian partners were the details on Nexter’s two bids which involve variants (25 mm and 30 mm turrets) of the VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat et d’Infanterie) and advice on doing business with the company.
The meeting was a real success. Nexter's team was delighted with the strong turnout and level of interest and enthusiasm expressed by these companies. As company officials expressed during the gathering, Nexter is dedicated to creating jobs in Canada and to the transfer of technology. Should Nexter be successful, the VBCI will be produced in Canada by Canadians working in small, medium and large companies from coast to coast. The project will build on the tremendous skills and talent which already exist here in Canada and add new technologies to an already impressive defence industrial base.
The Suppliers Meeting was the culmination of almost two years of work which involved Nexter officials travelling across the country to meet one-on-one and identify companies that would be appropriate partners. As the Nexter President noted, during that period, Nexter reps made contact with companies that produce everything from tires to batteries, suspension systems, drive lines, engines, metal cutting and machining companies – everything from electronics to braking systems.
It is anticipated that a Nexter win on the CCV program would support 1600 jobs during both manufacturing and support phases of the contract. In addition, Nexter would expand its subsidiary, Nexter Canada Inc, which it created last year for the purposes of managing and administering the CCV contract.
In his concluding comments at the suppliers meeting, Burtin reminded his audience that “we must never forget that this project involves the important task of protecting the lives of Canadian soldiers. We at Nexter are committed to bringing the very best we have to offer to this task. I know from our previous contacts with you and from our discussion today that we share a similar commitment to excellence.”
French VBCI In Lebanon: Initial Conclusions
Le ministre de la Défense et des Anciens combattants
(Unofficial translation of the French press release by defense-aerospace.com)
Thirteen VBCI armored infantry fighting vehicles of the French Army have been deployed in Lebanon since September 2010. A year after their arrival, initial conclusions are very positive.
Under the colors of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the VBCI undertakes surveillance of the demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon, the protection of French military outposts, and the establishment of patrols in the French area of responsibility.
Better perceived by the public that the AMX 10P it replaces, the VBCI is also more efficient. Its 8-wheel drive allows the Force Commander Reserve (FCR) to intervene throughout southern Lebanon, on rough terrain as well as on roads, without degrading highways, and with relatively low noise.
With its armor protection, capable of withstanding medium-caliber rounds as well as shrapnel, the VBCI also offers better protection for the crew against mines and improvised explosive devices.
The VBCI has also been deployed since June 2010 in Afghanistan. In Lebanon, it has demonstrated its ability to adapt to very different theaters of operation.