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Berliet VXB-170

Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle

France | 1973

"The French VXB-170 was rebuffed by the French Army but taken into service by the Gendarmerie for security work while also seeing light export."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/19/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Societe des Automobiles Berliet (Berliet) VXB-170 was a French-originated, Cold War-era light-armored 4x4 vehicle developed as a private venture to satisfy a French Army requirement. The series - though rebuffed by the Army - was adopted in 1972 and entered service through a 155-unit order in 1973 with the Gendarmerie instead who prized its inherent values for heavier-duty security work. Export of the vehicle was limited to just Gabon and Senegel and fewer than 200 units were eventually completed.

For their part, the French Army elected for the competing "VAB" armored car (detailed elsewhere on this site).

The Berliet armored car tipped the scales at 14 tons (short) and had a length of 19.7 feet, a beam of 8 feet, and a height to hull roof of 6.8 feet. Armor protection was light, ranging up to 7mm in thickness across the welded steel hull. Inside was a typical operating crew of three and a further eight passengers could be carried in the rear section of the fighting cabin. The engine was situated in the aft-section of the hull and drove the 4x4 wheeled arrangement which included large, oversized rubber tires giving the chassis excellent ground clearance. The vehicle was powered by a Berliet V800M series 8-cylinder diesel-fueled unit outputting 170 horsepower to the all-wheel arrangement.

Operational ranges reached 470 miles while road speeds capped at 55 miles-per-hour.

Its silhouette was highly conventional with angles used to offer basic ballistics protection to the crew and internal operating systems alike. The vehicle was also optionally amphibious, able to ford water sources as needed (either through use of hydrojets or the motion of its wheels) while the all-wheel arrangement gave it both good on-road and cross-country performance to boot. A powered winch system was an optional accessory as was an over-hull enclosed turret complete with vision blocks. All of the glass panels were made bullet-resistant and gun ports were provided along the hull sides to give occupants the ability to counter threats from the relative safety of the car. Hinged entry/exit doors were positioned at both sides of the hull (near the midway point) and one at the rear hull wall (offset to right due to the engine's placement at left). There were also five roof hatches (including the commander's position).

The pilot vehicles were designated "BL-12" and these began appearing in 1968. Original market offerings envisioned by the company went on to include internal security, reconnaissance / patrol, and light combat forms while another planned dedicated model was to incorporate a two-man, 60mm mortar-and-machine-gun-armed turret for the fire support role - all of these planned offshoots set to rely on a common chassis (relying on off-the-shelf truck components) to keep procurement and operational costs to a minimum.

When armed, the French Gendarmerie cars were equipped with through a 7.62mm machine gun seated alongside a 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) in a turret over the commander's hatch but customers could essentially mix-and-match armament to better suit the mission role as needed and what was locally available. The turret offered the commander complete 360-degree traversal about the roof line of the vehicle.

Berliet was eventually absorbed by Saviem to become Renault Trucks by 1975, bringing about an end to VXB-170 production and leaving the Gendarmerie as the largest, most notable operator of the series.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Berliet VXB-170 Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle.
1 x Berliet V800M 8-cylinder diesel-fueled engine driving conventional all-wheel 4x4 arrangement.
Installed Power
53 mph
85 kph
Road Speed
466 miles
750 km
The physical qualities of the Berliet VXB-170 Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle.
19.7 ft
5.99 meters
O/A Length
8.2 ft
2.5 meters
O/A Width
6.7 ft
2.05 meters
O/A Height
27,999 lb
12,700 kg | 14.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Berliet VXB-170 Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle.
Two-man turret with 1 x 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher and 1 x 7.62mm Anti-infantry machine gun.
300 x 40mm grenades.
1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
Nightvision - YES, OPTIONAL
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the Berliet VXB-170 family line.
VXB-170 - Base Series Designation; base troop carrier.
VXB-170C - Command vehicle.
VXB-170M - Special-mission model with either powered winch or dozer blade.
VXB-170R - Planned reconnaissance / patrol variant.
VXB-170LC - Planned Light Combat Vehicle.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Berliet VXB-170. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 175 Units

Contractor(s): Societe des Automobiles Berliet / Saviem / Renault Trucks - France
National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of Senegal

[ France (internal security only); Gabon; Senegal ]
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Berliet VXB-170 Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle.
Going Further...
The Berliet VXB-170 Armored Car / Internal Security Vehicle appears in the following collections:
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