The French-made AMX VCI (for "Vehicule de Combat d'Infanterie") infantry combat system was designed to a specific French Army vehicle requirement made in the years following World War 2. The VCI was based on the AMX-13 light tank which eased production of the new vehicle by utilizing many existing components. The VCI would go on to see production begin in 1967 and become the primary infantry mover of French forces.
Visually, the AMX VCI was characterized by five road wheels per track side. Twin hatches at the rear of the hull offered up an entry / Exit point for the 10 passengers. One distinct design element of the VCI in regards to its passengers was in the implementation of side-gun firing ports, which protected the occupants but allowed them to still fire their weapons in self-defense. Additionally, the inclusion of a turret-mounted self-defense machine gun was a relatively new concept for this particular type of vehicle for the time in which it appeared. The profile was of a very low design and the appearance very utilitarian. Nevertheless, the platform maintained solid workman-like history and was the main infantry fighting vehicle of the French Army for years despite the huge drawback of not having any type of amphibious capability.
The beauty of systems such as the VCI are in the adaptability of the chassis for other battlefield roles and the VCI is no exception. Variants include a command post, armored battlefield ambulance, mortar carriers (two types), combat engineer and artillery fire control vehicle. A modernization program undertaken in 1987 helped to keep the VCI competent n the modern battlefield with the inclusion of a new and refined 280 horsepower engine. The AMX VCI was replaced by the more capable AMX-10 armored personnel carrier offering. Though no longer in service with French forces, a few of her previous customers still field the system to some extent. Some 3,400 examples are said to have been produced.
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