French Army tests integration of an automatic grenade launcher on Griffon and Serval vehicles

French Army tests integration of an automatic grenade launcher on Griffon and Serval vehicles

The French Army conducted tests on May 15, 2024, to integrate an automatic grenade launcher on its multi-role armored vehicles, the Griffon and Serval, as part of its SCORPION program. These vehicles are equipped with a remotely operated turret (TTOP) that can accommodate either a 12.7 mm or 7.62 mm machine gun or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (LGA).

The Griffon and the Serval are central elements of the French Army’s SCORPION program, aimed at modernizing its armored vehicle fleet. The Griffon, which began production in 2017 and entered service in 2019, is a multi-role armored vehicle designed to replace the older VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) used by the French military since the 1970s. It features advanced armor protection, a remote weapons station, and cutting-edge battlefield network capabilities. The Griffon accommodates up to eight soldiers and is intended for a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, command, medical evacuation, and troop transport.

The Serval, another key component of the SCORPION program, is a lighter multi-role armored vehicle, which began production more recently with entry into service planned for the early 2020s. It is designed to fulfill roles similar to the Griffon but in a more compact and agile form, making it suitable for operations requiring rapid mobility and flexibility. Like the Griffon, the Serval incorporates advanced communication systems, and modular armor, and can be equipped with various weapons systems. Both vehicles represent significant steps in the modernization of the French Army, offering enhanced protection, mobility, and network-centric warfare capabilities.

Although these armored vehicles are progressively becoming standard within various regiments, they have not yet been equipped with the 40 mm LGA. The Technical Section of the Army (STAT), along with the General Directorate for Armament (DGA), the Scorpion Combat Expertise Force (FECS), and the Unique Training and Perception Center (CPFU), managed by the Support and Preparation Center for Joint Combat – 51st Infantry Regiment, shared their evaluations on social media, including LinkedIn.

The evaluations highlighted the potential benefits of the 40 mm grenade launcher mounted on the remotely operated turret, noting its ease of use, precision, and effectiveness. STAT announced that a new weapon adaptation kit, including the grenade launcher, would soon be available for the Griffon and Serval vehicles.

Additionally, the army emphasized that the TTOP would soon feature an enhanced capability to “mask, neutralize, and destroy,” thereby augmenting the operational capabilities of the forces.

It should be noted that the Griffon and Serval are equipped with the “Hornet T1” and “Hornet S” turrets, respectively. Developed by Arquus, these turrets share several features such as automatic loading, electronic firing control, and shell recovery. They can also be fitted with the HK GMG (Granatmaschinengewehr or grenade machine gun) provided by Heckler & Koch.

The SCORPION program (Synergy of Contact Reinforced by Versatility and Information Enhancement) is a crucial initiative for the modernization of the French Army, aiming to enhance the operational capability of ground forces. This program seeks to replace older vehicles such as the VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) with more modern and versatile vehicles like the Griffon and Serval.

Moreover, SCORPION includes the modernization of existing equipment to strengthen connectivity and cooperation among different units on the battlefield through the introduction of advanced weapon systems and next-generation communication technologies. This ambitious program is not only aimed at adapting the Army’s capabilities to contemporary threats but also at ensuring better interoperability with the forces of other NATO nations.

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