PARIS — The French Army is expected to receive 108 Serval armored vehicles in 2022 as part of an order from manufacturers Nexter and Texelis totaling 364.
The contract was finalized through the DGA procurement agency on Dec. 23 but was not announced until Jan. 15.
The two companies, which formed a temporary joint operation to build the light-armored, multirole Serval, will deliver the first 12 production vehicles in the first half of 2022, followed by a further 96 in the second half. The government previously allocated funding for the vehicle order, so the Army is expected to have a total of 978 Servals by 2030.
The Serval is a four-wheel drive, 15-ton vehicle designed to replace the 40-year-old VAB, an armored personnel carrier and support vehicle. It complements the much bigger 24-ton Griffon armored vehicle, and these two, together with the Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle, form the core of the French Army’s Scorpion program to replace all French front-line fighting vehicles. They will be linked via a new communications and battlefield management system, the Scorpion Combat Information System.
Three main versions of the Serval — patrol; intelligence and reconnaissance; and communications — will each have their own variants. Designed to operate in combat zones, the Serval combines flexibility, strategic mobility and payload-carrying capacity.
The DGA said that despite difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, testing of the vehicle, which began in September 2019, was sufficiently advanced to allow this first production phase to take place before the end of 2020, as planned in France’s 2019-2025 Military Program Law.
In addition, as part of a procedure undertaken by the gendarmerie (national police force) to renew its fleet of armored vehicles, the Nexter-Texelis team has proposed a vehicle based on the Serval capable of operating in mainland France and overseas.
Christina Mackenzie is the France correspondent for Defense News.