Paris to Deliver Hundreds of Armored Vehicles and Aster Missiles to Kiev

France is set to deliver “hundreds” of old but “still functional” armored vehicles and Aster missiles to Ukraine as part of a new aid package to Kiev in its war against Russia, according to the Minister of the Armed Forces.

“For such a large front line, the Ukrainian army needs our armored infantry vehicles (VAB), which are absolutely key for troop mobility,” explained Sébastien Lecornu in an interview with La Tribune published on the evening of March 30. “This old, yet operational equipment will directly benefit Ukraine in significant quantities. We are talking about hundreds for 2024 and early 2025,” he added.

The famous VAB armored personnel carriers, which are over forty years old, are being replaced in the French army by the next-generation Griffon armored vehicles. In response to Kiev’s urgent requests to strengthen its anti-aircraft defense capabilities, Paris will also “unlock a new batch of Aster 30 missiles” for the SAMP/T MAMBA system, equivalent to the American Patriot system.

“We are also developing remotely operated ammunition at a very rapid pace to deliver to the Ukrainians as early as this summer,” added the minister.

On March 26, Sébastien Lecornu stated that he did not rule out resorting to requisitions or imposing priority on military needs over civilian needs on industrialists to accelerate production. Paris is urging the French defense industry to produce more and faster to meet the needs of its army and ensure long-term support to Ukraine.

“The European missile manufacturer MBDA owes us rapid deliveries. This Friday, decrees were published on the minister of the Armed Forces’ police powers regarding stock obligations, contract prioritization, and even requisitions,” he emphasized on Saturday. “I have asked the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) to propose implementation measures to accelerate the production of the Aster missile,” he noted. “The DGA will first instruct MBDA to establish sufficient stocks of components. To be clear, I demand the establishment of stocks to produce ammunition.”

The minister argued that besides Ukraine, France also needs the missiles to combat attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. In November, the Houthis, backed by Iran, began a campaign of drone and missile strikes against ships in the Red Sea, a crucial region for global trade.

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