The French-produced VAB is a versatile Armored Personnel Carrier and scout car. The chassis is used in a series of capable variants for ease-of-cost, logistics, and production. The chassis was developed in a 4x4 and 6x6-wheeled configuration, is fully amphibious, and can mount variable weaponry including machine guns and missile systems to counter most any light-to-medium battlefield threat.
The air defense variant is equipped with 4 x Mistral Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). Another variant showcases the HOT Anti-Tank, Guided-Missile (ATGM) weapon. Still another form manages twin 20mm automatic cannons to counter the threat posed by low-flying aircraft as well as ground-based light-armored vehicles (developed for Oman). Full NBC protection and night vision is available for the crew which is made up of two to three personnel. Passenger-equipped models can carry up to ten combat-ready infantrymen.
Drive power to the vehicle is from the in-house Renault MIDS 06-20-45 6-cylinder, inline, water-cooled, turbocharged diesel-fueled engine of 220 horsepower. This drives a 4x4 wheeled arrangement which and allows the vehicle to reach speeds of over 90 kmh out to a range of 1,000 kilometers. Weight is 13,000 kg and dimensions include an overall length of 5.98 meters with a width of 2.49 meters and a height of 2.06 meters.
Renault and Panhard of France both have produced the VAB line. The designation of VAB stands for "Vehicule de I'Avant Blinde" which translates into Forward Area Armored Vehicle. Modernization programs have kept the French VAB in step with most battlefield advances and the system counts customers from Brunei and the Central African Republic to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
May 2017 - Lebanon has taken delivery of its first HOT-missile-equipped VAB "Mephisto" armored vehicles. These examples are ex-French Army.
November 2018 - Lebanon has taken delivery of its second batch of Mephisto vehicles. The delivery includes ten additional vehicles along with 96 total HOT ATGMs.