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Media: Greece interested in VBCI Philoctète

As reported by Greek military news media, the government in Athens is said to be engaged in advanced discussions with the French side regarding the purchase of the wheeled variant of the VBCI Philoctète IFV, specifically designed for this country.

On Thursday, March 14th, the Greek portal Defence Review was the first to report that the Hellenic Army General Staff (Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού, ΓΕΣ) is engaged in advanced negotiations with the French company Nexter Systems (part of the Franco-German KNDS consortium) regarding the purchase of the wheeled variant of the VBCI Philoctète (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) Infantry Fighting Vehicle, specifically designed for this country.

Photos: MILMAG Archives

The subject of the negotiations includes 200 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and optionally 50 specialized vehicles based on the same chassis, such as command vehicles, medical evacuation vehicles, technical support vehicles, and artillery observation vehicles. Interestingly, the French proposal also includes a bridging solution to address urgent operational needs. Approximately 120 used VBCI IFVs from the French Army reserves (Armée de terre) have been offered. In this case, the number of vehicles would increase to a maximum of 370 units. Importantly, the beneficiaries of the order would be the Greek companies METKA and Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS).

If the negotiations conclude positively, approval for the purchase must be granted by the Council of General Staff Chiefs. Subsequently, the General Directorate for Investments and Defense Procurements (GDDIA) within the Ministry of Defense of Greece will formulate the appropriate letter of Request (LoR).

Worth noting is that on July 1, 2023, at the armored weapons range in Petrochorio Xanthi, the French VBCI was presented and proved to be superior to the German tracked Marder 1A3 during comparative tests. Greece, after receiving the latter from Berlin, is considering selling them to Ukraine. The government in Athens is also interested in German IFVs KF41 Lynx and 300-350 American M2A2 ODS Bradley.

The VBCI Philoctète, whose proper name refers to Philoctetes – in Greek mythology, the king of Thessaly, an archer and heir to Heracles’ bow, a hero of the Trojan War, was unveiled during the Defea 2021 international defense and security exhibition, scheduled for July 13-15, 2021, at the Athens Metropolitan Expo.

The new variant of the wheeled infantry fighting vehicle VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) has been integrated with an unmanned, remotely operated turret armed with a 40mm automatic cannon CT40 (CTAi variant), which uses telescoped ammunition 65mm x 255, with the caliber of the projectile itself being 40mm, and the Ammunition Handling System (AHS), a dual launcher for 5th generation anti-tank guided missiles MBDA Akeron, and a 7.62mm machine gun.

According to the French manufacturer, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle VBCI Philoctète meets the operational requirements of the Hellenic Army (Ellinikós Stratós) regarding mobility, protection, modularity, and firepower.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the CT40 cannon (jointly developed by Naval Group and BAE Systems) has been selected by the French armed forces (RapidFire T40AA for future ships), and the CT40 CTAi for the Jaguar EBRC wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles, as well as by the United Kingdom (CT40 CTAi for the controversial Ajax armored fighting vehicles) and Belgium (for the Jaguar CaMo wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles).

According to the manufacturer, the 40 mm telescoped ammunition provides an advantage over the 30mm ammunition commonly used by most armed forces in terms of combating manned and unmanned aerial vehicles or lightly armored vehicles.


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