Thales and Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) have joined forces to extend the capabilities of the VAB Mk3, the latest addition to RTD’s range of armoured vehicles.
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Under this partnership, the VAB Mk3 new-generation armoured personnel carrier benefits from new capabilities. Each crew station, fully configurable to the type of mission, displays the real-time image from a turret-mounted camera, providing the three main operators (infantry squad leader, gunner and driver) with a shared picture of the tactical environment. The turret is also slaved to a hostile fire detection system, enabling the crew to respond more quickly and more efficiently to threats.
The vehicle’s internal and external communications capabilities are a particular area of focus. The radio system, coupled with the vehicle’s core electronics, ensures voice and data links the rest of the digitised battlespace, particularly other armoured vehicles. In addition, the VAB Mk3’s internal communication network offers extended range for dismounted operations, enabling infantry to stay in radio contact at distances up to 1,000 metres from the vehicle, depending on which options customers choose.
Lastly, an exclusive navigation aid incorporating route profiles and terrain information, coupled with a hybrid GPS / inertial navigation system, ensures a high level of geopositioning accuracy and can also be connected to a target designation system. For the pilot, further capabilities include a driving aid with day and night video feeds. Vehicle logistics data (fuel, munitions, etc.) can also be relayed to higher levels of command, allowing the crew to autonomously manage its energy use to maximise the VAB Mk3’s endurance for very long missions.
Enabling collaborative combat
All these services are integrated within the complementary open architectures developed by Renault Trucks Defense and Thales. The “Battlenet Inside” system used by Renault Trucks Defense and based on the electronic architectures developed by Volvo interconnects all the vehicle systems and allows them to operate collaboratively. Based on electronic architectures developed for commercial markets, “Battlenet Inside” brings the benefits of COTS solutions to the battlespace after extensive testing on large fleets of commercial vehicles.
Thales’s “VSys-net” solution inserts the VAB Mk3 into a broader digitised sphere of engagement. As a result, the crew are able to work collaboratively both within the vehicle and with other platforms (armoured vehicles, UAVs, artillery, etc.). The “VSys-net” solution draws on Thales’s extensive experience in artillery coordination, reconnaissance vehicle and combat vehicle digitisation programmes in France and around the world.
Through this partnership, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales are able to offer the very best and most cost-effective technical solutions for future programmes and ensure continuing development and support as new requirements emerge.