The Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé or VAB ("Armoured Vanguard Vehicle" in French) is an armoured personnel carrier and support vehicle designed by the Euro Mobilité Division of GIAT Industries of France. It entered service in 1976; around 5,000 were produced.
The VAB was designed as a wheeled troop transporter, complementing the tracked AMX-10P. Specifications for the project called for an NBC-proof, amphibious, lightly armoured vehicle to provide infantry with basic protection against shrapnel and light infantry weapons. These features were dictated by its possible usage in the event of an all-out conventional war breaking out against the Warsaw Pact; in particular, the amphibious capabilities were needed to bridge the rivers in Eastern France and in Germany.
VABs have been deployed in virtually all theatres where French infantry troops were present, notably Kuwait, Côte d'Ivoire, Yugoslavia, and Chad. VABs belonging to the Royal Moroccan Army ( FAR ) have seen heavy combat during the conflict with Polisario rebels of the Western Sahara. French troops supporting ISAF in Afghanistan also use the VAB. During the Uzbin valley ambush, a VAB was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, with no injuries. One soldier manning the rooftop machine gun of a VAB was later killed when the road collapsed under his vehicle and it rolled over. In March 2009, a VAB driver was killed by a rocket attack during the battle of Alasay.
In Project Reality, the VAB is an armoured personnel carrier for the French Forces.