French army VAB VTT with M2HB heavy machine gun during the 1991 Gulf War.
Source: US Army - © Public domain
The VAB is a late Cold War era wheeled armored personnel carrier of French origin. The VAB was to complement the AMX-10P tracked mechanized infantry combat vehicle. It is a wheeled armored personnel carrier with amphibious capabilities and NBC protection. The chassis served as basis for over 20 variants and specialist role vehicles. This article describes the basic infantry section vehicle, known as VTT in French service.
The VAB is a wheeled vehicle with monocoque steel hull. It comes in a 4x4 and 6x6 configuration. With the 4x4 version being faster on road, cheaper and lighter. The 6x6 version has better off road performance and can be fitted with heavier weapon systems. The driver and vehicle commander are seated at the front. The engine is located in the middle and the troop compartment with its tow large doors and roof hatches is at the rear.
The baseline infantry section vehicles are fitted with a small manually operated open roof turret with 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun. Other variants are fitted with a 7.5mm AAT-52 or 7.62mm AAT-NF1 machine gun in a small one man turret or on a simple pintle mount. Anti-tank sections can also mount their MILAN or Eryx anti-tank missiles at the rear roof hatches. Various other weapon systems can be fitted, such as 20mm autocannon, HOT anti-tank missiles and mortars. These variants are described in separate articles.
The armor on the VAB is limited in order to retain a good mobility and amphibious capability. The steel armor is rated against small arms fire and shell splinters. The tires are of the run flat type. The VAB is not intended as the centerpiece in a frontal assault against regular military forces. French army vehicles are fitted with NBC protection, which is optional on export models. There are no smoke grenade launchers on the infantry section vehicle.
The VAB has good mobility on roads and decent mobility off road. The 220 hp diesel engine allows for a maximum road speed of 92 km/h. The VAB is fully amphibious and is propelled in the water by two water jets. The 6x6 export variant is better suited for desert use with its lower ground pressure and better traction.
The VAB was produced in large numbers. Over 5.000 vehicles were produced, including specialist variants and export sales. The VAB remains in French service, but is to be replaced in the near future. In French service many vehicles have seen a mid-life update. This includes improved protection level, automatic transmission and some vehicles receiving a Protector remote weapon station. The VAB Mk I is no longer produced. Marketing switched to the larger Mk II in the early 2000's and redesigned Mk III in the 2010's.
The 4x4 configuration of the VAB is used in French service. The 4x4 configuration is lighter and has better mobility on road. The external stowage allows for more internal space for the passengers. In French service it is mostly armed with a 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun. An alternative configuration is the AAT-52 machine gun. The latter variant is often used with anti-tank teams, which can pedestal mount their Eryx or MILAN missile.
The VAB 6x6 is used by many export users. The 6x6 configuration allows for a better off road performance and has lower ground pressure in desert conditions. Drawbacks are increased weight and mechanical complexity of the two steering front axles. This variant was also offered with a 300 hp diesel instead of a 220 hp one.
In French service most VAB VTT are fitted with a 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun in a CB 127 one man turret.
Alternatively the VAB VTT can be fitted with the 7.5mm AAT-52 machine gun.
Anti-tank sections can mount their MILAN anti-tank guided weapon on a pedestal at the rear of the vehicle. The MILAN missile can be launched from the vehicle when stationary.
In similar fashion to the MILAN the VAB VTT can be used as a transport for teams armed with the Eryx short range anti-tank missile.
Source: Bout en tringlot
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Copyright: Copyright lies with original owner
Source: Unknown author
Copyright: Copyright lies with original owner
Reconnaissance vehicle based on the VAB 6x6 chassis. Features a lower roofline and rear mounted engine. The TS-90 turret is fitted with a 90mm rifled gun.
The VAB Mephisto is a tank destroyer based on the 4x4 variant of the VAB chassis. It is fitted with a retractable launcher with four HOT anti-tank missiles ready to fire.
The VAB VDAA is fitted with a turret armed with two 20mm autocannon. This variant was produced only for export on the 6x6 chassis. Due to the stiffness of the chassis no outriggers are needed. Usually one in two or three vehicles is fitted with a RA-20S search radar on top of the VDAA turret.
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