PARIS – The French Ministry of the Armed Forces has announced a firm order for a second tranche of the Jaguar and Griffon armored vehicles that lie at the core of its ambitious Scorpion program to reconfigure how its army wages war.
This second tranche is for 42 Jaguar combat and reconnaissance armored vehicles and 271 Griffon multirole armored vehicles. The first tranche, ordered in 2017, was for 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars.
So far the Army has received 105 Griffons and earlier this month took two of them to Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. Forces there are testing them in hot, desert conditions before the first vehicles are deployed to Mali next year in support of France’s Barkhane anti-terrorist operation.
The first four Jaguars are scheduled for delivery to the army before the end of this year.
The Griffon and Jaguar are both manufactured by a conglomerate of three major French defense industries: Nexter, Arquus and Thales.
The latest delivery of 13 Griffons was to the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment which received them in July. The regiment’s Scorpion officer, described in an army video only as “Major Laurent” in keeping with French security protocol for lower-ranking officers, praised the vehicle for its speed, precise firing system and armor. “So far, we have trained 16 pilots and eight instructors. They will then be responsible within the Regiment for training our pilots and our gunners,” the officer said.
Other regiments that have already received the Griffon are the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment, the 13th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins and the 1st Infantry Regiment.
According to Col. Tugdual Barbarin, commander of the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (RPIMA), his formation will not be equipped with the Griffon as planned but, instead, will be getting the Serval, the third of the new vehicles being developed in the Scorpion program. This decision, he said, was made by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Thierry Burkhard earlier this month.
France’s 2019-2025 military program law has imposed an acceleration in deliveries of the Scorpion vehicles, establishing that 50 percent of the 1,872 Griffons and 300 Jaguars which the Ministry of the Armed Forces expects to order in total must be delivered by 2025. That means the army will have 936 Griffons and 150 Jaguars by the end of 2024.
Christina Mackenzie was the France correspondent for Defense News.