VEXTRA 105 (1994)

[Would you like to see the VEXTRA 105 (1994) in-game?
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Welcome to the suggestion for the VEXTRA 105 (1994)! This is a French wheeled recon vehicle armed with a 105mm CN-105-G2 main gun, capable of firing a variety of APFSDS, HE, and HEAT rounds. Unfortunately, this variant is not stabilized, but for a variant that is, please refer to the later 1997 variant. Regardless, I believe this variant would still be a good addition, perhaps as an upgrade over the AMX-10RC, notably with better ammunition.



vextra 04
The VEXTRA infantry fighting vehicle, equipped with a 25mm Dragar turret.

In the early 1990s, the French military was looking for a vehicle to fulfill its Véhicule Blindé Modulaire (VBM), or Modular Armored Vehicle, requirement. The idea, as many other nations had been catching on to, was to design a well protected, mobile chassis that could be utilized for a variety of roles, including combat and support. It was to be a massive undertaking, as it would have to fulfill the roles occupied by a number of other vehicles. At the time, the Germans were showcasing their EXF demonstrator, a wheeled vehicle with a similar idea the French had with the VBM. Back in France, GIAT Industries was already looking into creating such a design, with the requirements including mobility equal to or greater than a tank off-road, a modular design, a small turning circle, and low ground pressure.

After the design phase, the project was officially launched in April of 1992, as the VEXTRA, short for Véhicule EXTRAordinaire, or Extraordinary Vehicle. A dedicated team for the VEXTRA was set up after the project kicked off, and the team even had their own workshop set up for the program.

While the VEXTRA underwent its design phase, they were also given a goal, that of having a working VEXTRA prototype for show at the Eurosatory Exhibition in 1994. This gave them a little under two years to have a working prototype from the vehicle’s initial design drawings. The team achieved this goal, with the first mobility demonstrator being driven around in March of 1994 for GIAT Industries staff at the Satory test track in Versailles. Four months later, the chassis equipped with a Dragar 25mm turret was showcased at the Eurosatory exhibition as planned.

The initial VEXTRA 105 variant, this version was notably unstabilized.

The VEXTRA used a 600 hp Scania V-8 diesel engine, paired with a Renk HS 227 automatic transmission, an 8x8 hydropneumatic suspension steered by two axles. The tires used the Syegon variable tire pressure system, allowing the tires to be adapted depending on the terrain. This resulted in a blistering top speed of 120 km/h and a maximum range of 800 km. Armor protection on the vehicle was equivalent to NATO AEP STANAG Level IV, protecting it against 14.5mm machine gun rounds at a distance of 200 meters.

Testing continued following Eurosatory 1994 until September of 1996, proving even further that the vehicle’s mobility was excellent in all sorts of terrain, most lately at the time in the sandy terrain of Biscarrosse in south-western France. After this, it was decided to using the vehicle’s intended purpose, its modularity, to mount a heavier armament to it. This ended up being the GIAT TML 105 turret, significantly improving the vehicle’s firepower, adding a 105mm CN-105-G2 gun on to the nimble hull.
Integration of the turret began in October of 1996, and was completed in March of 1997.

This turret was notable for its ability to fire NATO standard 105mm ammunition, opening the door to customers with 105mm ammunition stocks, as well as the SOPTAC 11 fire control system, linked to a TJ N2 90A gunner sight with 8× zoom. It could depress -6° and elevate 15°, with full 360° turret rotation. A first-stage ammunition rack with 12 rounds was in the turret, with a further 23 rounds stored in the hull.

A French VEXTRA 105 undergoing desert trials in the UAE, October 1997.jpeg
The upgraded VEXTRA 105 undergoing desert trials in the UAE, October 1997.

Tests with this turret were carried out, evaluating its firing capabilities in Captieux, its ability to navigate rocky terrain in Canjuers, its road endurance in Satory, and ability with the new turret in Biscarrosse. It was during this later part of 1997 that GIAT improved the turret further. First, the turret was up-armored to level 4 STANAG standard, similar to the hull. The gun mantlet was reworked, the thermal sight was removed, making way for a superior SAVAN 15 fire control system and gunner’s sight. This added stabilization to the vehicle, allowing it to fire on the move accurately. The commander’s cupola was raised slightly due to this addition, with the commander receiving a VIGY 15 panoramic optic, also stabilized. On top of this, the previously electro-hydraulic turret motors were replaced by fully electric ones, controlled by a digital computer.

In October, this upgraded VEXTRA 105 underwent a testing campaign in the United Arab Emirates. During these trials, an escort of a Hummer and Toyota 4x4 accompanied the VEXTRA 105, with the VEXTRA actually managing to outrun them, to the point of losing its own escort. The UAE expressed interest in the vehicle, and a conceptual version equipped with the BMP-3 turret was proposed, but never built. It had even been considered by the British back in 1996, competing, and proving superior against, the Italian Centauro, German Fuchs, and Swiss Pirahna, with the British ultimately choosing to upgrade their Warrior and Spartan fleet.

In November of 1997, the VEXTRA 105 returned to France, and in the 2000s, a variant known as the VEXTRA POLE (POrteur LEger) equipped with a modified 120mm smoothbore gun from the Leclerc. This used a lightweight turret, allowing a lighter chassis to have the firepower of a tank. At one point, it was equipped with a fire control system and optics, but by this point, GIAT still had no offers for the VEXTRA despite its promising performance, and GIAT Industries stopped marketing it in the late 2000s. This vehicle was delivered to the Musée des Blindés de Saumur on December 20th, 2016, and picked up again by Nexter Systems, formerly GIAT Industries, in 2021. Since then, the vehicle has had no mentioning or marketing, and is likely to remain a memory of a promising platform that never saw any interest. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into the VEXTRA POLE, Arakneo has made a suggestion for it if you’d like to support it.

The VEXTRA POLE during its arrival at Musée des Blindés, December 20th, 2016.


  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 8.56 m
  • Height: 3.45 m
  • Width: 3.36 m
  • Mass: ~28 t
  • Main armament: 105mm CN-105-G2 rifled gun
  • Main armament ammunition: 35 rounds
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm ANF1
  • Engine: 600 hp Scania V8 diesel engine
  • Maximum speed: 120 km/h
  • Maximum range: 800 km






Is that the same turret that was on the previous CV90105?

Yes! The TML 105, it was also mounted on a few other chassis such as the AMX-10RC, MARS 15, and MOWAG Pirahna.