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 5000 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.
Companies Panhard and Saviem/Renault answered the requirement, and the Renault prototype was selected in May 1974, with 4000 units ordered. The first delivery occurred in 1976, and production continued at a rate of 30 to 40 units a month.
A double armoured door at the rear allows access to the passenger compartment. Two inwards-looking, foldable benches provide space for 5 soldiers each. The crew enters the forwards compartment through two lateral hatches, the driver on the left, and the gunner of the right; two more hatches in the roof give access to armament and provide for emergency exit. The front windows are bullet-proof and heated, and can be further sheltered from incomming fire by armoured pannels which can be either entirely shut, or leave a small slit for observation; the windows on the side and rear doors are covered by a similar system.
The engine is located behind the driver, while the right side of the vehicle is kept free, providing a passageway between the crew and passager compartments.source3d modelling