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VAB VTT


SAVIEM / Renault VAB Mk I


Overview


VAB VTT 4x4

French army VAB VTT with M2HB heavy machine gun during the 1991 Gulf War.
Source: US Army - © Public domain

Origin
France
Type
Armored personnel carrier
Entered service
1976
Status
In service
Development
Early 1970's
Developer
France - SAVIEM
Production
1976 - ?
Producer
France - SAVIEM (1974 - 1978)
France - Renault (1978 - ?)
Number produced
Over 5.000 including all VAB variants
Designations
VAB / Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé
French for "armored frontline vehicle"
VTT / Véhicule Transport de Troupe
French for "troop transport vehicle"
Notable users
France
Morocco
Qatar

Description


Introduction

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.

Design

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.

Firepower

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.

Protection

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.

Mobility

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.

Users

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.

Variants


Variants of the VTT infantry section vehicle

VAB VTT 4x4

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.

VAB VTT 6x6

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.

Details


Facts VAB VTT 4x4 Mk I VAB VTT 6x6 Mk I
General
Origin
France
Type
Armored personnel carrier
Crew
2 + 10
Dimensions
Weight
13.0 t combat load
10.2 t empty
Length
5.98 m
Width
2.49 m
Height
2.06 m to hull top
Main armament
Type
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Mount
CB 127 one man cupola
Ammunition
100 rounds ready to fire, total number unknown
Elevation
-15° to +45°, manual
Traverse
360°, manual
Stabilizer
No
Chassis
Chassis type
Wheeled chassis, 4x4
Tire size
14.00 x20
Tire type
Run flat tire
Tread
2.04 m
Wheelbase
3 m
Amphibious propulsion
2x water jet
Automotive
Engine model
Renault MIDS 06-20-45 (late models)
MAN D.2356 HM 72 (early models)
Engine type
6-cylinder water-cooled diesel (both engine types)
Power output
220 hp at 2.200 rpm (both engine types)
Transmission
5 forward, 5 reverse
Fuel
310 L
Mobility
Speed
92 km/h on road
8 km/h afloat
Range
1.200 km
Turn radius
9 m
Power to weight ratio
16.9 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.4 m
Wall
0.6 m
Trench
0.5 m
Gradient
60 %
Slope
35 %
Fording
Amphibious
Protection
Armor type
Steel
Armor thickness
Rated against 7.62 mm
NBC system
Yes, but not on all export models
Smoke system
None
Equipment
Night vision
Yes, but not on all export models

Armament options


12.7mm M2HB

In French service most VAB VTT are fitted with a 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun in a CB 127 one man turret.

7.5mm AAT-52

Alternatively the VAB VTT can be fitted with the 7.5mm AAT-52 machine gun.

MILAN

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.

Eryx

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.

Media


VAB family of vehicles


List of VAB variants described in more detail

VAB Mephisto

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.

VDAA

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.