While the failure of Nexter’s participation in the competition to supply its VBCI (Véhicules Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie, Armored Infantry Combat Vehicle) to Qatar’s army seemed to be confirmed for more than three years, Qatar finally put the 28-tonne armored vehicle back in the saddle.
In December 2017, during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, Qatar announced it intended to purchase 490 Nexter VBCI vehicles. Negotiations were carried on for the exact loadout of the 490 vehicles, with American, British, French, Norwegian and Belgian firms bidding for turret systems among other systems. In March 2018, it was reported Kongsberg would supply unmanned medium-caliber turrets and Protector remote weapons stations in the event that Qatar ordered the VBCIs in a contract worth up to US$1.94 billion.
As written by Michel Cabirol in the French newspaper La Tribune, it’s now an incredible and unexpected turnaround. According to several concordant sources, the VBCI is back in the competition for the Qatari army, which had nevertheless ostensibly turned its back on this French equipment from the end of 2019 in favor of a possible purchase of the Boxer manufactured by the partner of the French group in KNDS, Krauss-Maffei Wegman. But thanks to the rewarming of Franco-Qatari relations at the highest level of the two States, the VBCI is back in the competition.