With its sand-coloured suit, large SUV size and wide tires, the Arquus VT4 cannot be confused with a civilian SUV.
But upon closer inspection, this military vehicle, which replaced the Peugeot P4 in command and light liaison 4x4s, might remind you of another commercially available vehicle: the Ford Ranger.
The Arquus is indeed based on the Ranger’s cousin, the Ford Everest, which was sold in France. But why didn’t the French military choose a car “Made in France”?
Why are you driving a foreign vehicle?
In 2015, many voices were raised with the announcement of the Army’s decision to use a Ford derivative. Why did our country’s army not overthrow the French?
The answer was simple: No French manufacturer has ever had crossover vehicles in the range of 4X4 vehicles. A non-new issue as it was already present when Willys Jeep was replaced after WWII.
The French State will strongly encourage French manufacturers to be closer to foreign competitors in order to be able to issue a call for tender worthy of its name.
As a result, the winning Peugeot will present a P4 directly derived from the German Mercedes-Benz G.
Designed to carry five soldiers or four heavily-equipped fighters, this vehicle is intended for internal operations (Sentinel, training, training) or external operations in stabilized conflict zones.
It has communication, localization or navigation tools, a roof rack, a towing function, and can even be air-transportable.
The equipment was supplied and installed by Arquus, a very French company based in Versailles and formerly Renault Trucks Defense.
Much more French 4X4 than meets the eye
A partner of the French Army since 1898, Arquus has already supplied more than 25,000 vehicles. The company has been behind the GBC8KT, GBC180, TRM2000, TRM4000 and TRM10000, VLRA and Sherpa Medium, which have carried the bulk of the Army’s logistics and systems for decades.
Ford vehicles are fully converted at the Saint-Nazaire facilities, employing more than 250 private workers under a contract estimated at 500 million euros for 3,700 vehicles. A work that goes far beyond simple color change.
A vehicle entirely dedicated to the military
If the Ford is based on the Everest, the Arquus Saint-Nazaire gets an upgraded chassis, reinforced suspensions, stronger wheels, as well as guards and reinforcements throughout the body and underside.
A filtration system allows the VT4 to run on low-quality fuel, while a larger tank allows it to have a range of 900 kilometers. A Ford Everest weighs 1800 pounds, while its military version peaks at 3.5 tons.
Carry bags integrated in the doors allow the storage of Famas and HK 416F assault rifles, while consoles with touchscreens allow passengers to look at digital maps. We are a long way from the Peugeot P4.
Superior comfort and performance
Soldiers now have air conditioning, cabin soundproofing, hill start assist, descent control, ABS and electronic trajectory corrector.
On the engine side, it is a 160 hp Ford turbodiesel with a heavy duty to move this heavy vehicle. The maximum speed is limited to 135 km / h, which is sufficient in operation, as on the Champs-Elysées.