Qatar has reached an agreement with the French company Nexter to buy 490 VBCI armored vehicles worth an estimated Euro 1.5 Billion ($1.65 billion).
A deal may be signed on December 18 on the occasion of the Qatari national day, the LATribune reported, quoting sources in the French land systems manufacturer.
In December 2017, Qatar signed the letter of intent to purchase the French 8x8 armoured IFVs. MBDA will supply medium-range missiles, Thales-Kongsberg consortium will provide communication systems, while radar for the vehicles will come from Thales.
The source added that German firm Rheinmetall is out of the Qatar competition.
The VBCI in the French Army is equipped with a one-man Nexter Dragar turret armed with a dual feed 25mm NATO cannon type 25 M811 with 150 rounds in the turret and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun.
The hull and the turret of the VBCI Nexter Systems are composed by welded steel and aluminium, who offers a protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. To increase the protection, the welded steel and aluminium alloy hull is fitted with spall liners and add-on titanium armour plate to protect against anti-tank weapons.
In August 2015, an improved version of the VBCI, the VBCI 2 fitted with CTA40 40mm turret was spotted in Qatari video report showing the French-made 8x8 vehicle in trial tests in Qatar.