PARIS — France on Sept. 5 ordered from Arquus a 1,200-strong batch of VT4 Mk2 light tactical vehicles for the French armed forces, the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office said.
That is the second batch of VT4 four-wheel drive cars ordered by the DGA, which placed an initial order for 1,000 Mk1 units in December 2016.
The planned total fleet of VT4 vehicles is 4,380 units, based on a modified version of the Ford Explorer car, for the Air Force, Army, Navy and support services, a DGA spokesman said Sept. 17. The first of a batch of 500 units are due for delivery this year, with a second 500-strong batch to be shipped in 2019, he added.
A first shipment of the VT4 will go to the Army, the DGA said in a Sept. 6 statement.
“To effect this, the DGA put in a place a procedure to execute the program in the most timely manner,” the procurement office said. This swift delivery is part of the government’s drive to transform the DGA in acquiring equipment, the office added.
Arquus said last year that an initial delivery had been expected in 2017.
Arquus adapted the unarmored vehicle “to militarize it and make it meet all demands in terms of payload, weapon integration, notably the Famas and HK416” assault rifles, the company said in a statement. Communications equipment, security systems, air conditioning and comfortable seats were also part of the adaptation.
The Mk1 version will be used for training and street patrols in the domestic anti-terrorist Sentinel operation, while the Mk2 will be equipped for overseas deployments, the company said. Assembly of the latter will start next year. Service is included in the order, with a pledge of 90 percent availability of the total fleet.
Both versions of the VT4 were on display at the Sept. 10-11 Summer defense university event at the military staff college. The VT4 replaces the P4 patrol car, which has been in use since the 1980s.