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When you think of Volvo, what sort of vehicle you recall? Most of us tend to think of the boxy, reliable sedans and station wagons made by the company throughout the '80s and '90s. However, the Swedish company has done far more than build passenger cars, producing everything from semi trucks to guided missiles. We recently learned of Arquus, a division that produces some seriously cool armored vehicles.
Arquus was formerly known as Renault Trucks Defense, originally a subsidiary of the French automaker Renault. In 2001, it was acquired by the Volvo Group, integrating Volvo parts and engineering to its product line. The company produces armored 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8 chassis and complete vehicles for military and security organizations around the world. These range from light multi-purpose vehicles like the Trigger to medium-weight infantry fighting vehicles like the VAB Mk3.
The latest offering from Arquus was unveiled to the public at the 2019 Paris Air Show this month. It's known as the Scarabée, meaning “beetle” in French. Arquus calls it a “natively-hybrid military vehicle” because it has two motors — a 300hp traditional diesel engine and a 103hp electric motor. The Scarabée can run both simultaneously in Boost mode for increased power, or it can be operated in Stealth mode using only the electric motor for up to 6 miles at a time. The latter reduces acoustic and thermal signature to sneak through potentially-dangerous areas.
This 6.6-ton vehicle can hit a top speed of 75mph, but its most impressive feature is its independent rear steering. If it's turned one way, the system can help the Scarabée turn around in tight spaces; if it's turned the other way, it allows the truck to move diagonally like a crab. The suspension also features adjustable height modes — high for off-road clearance, and low for fitting into parking garages or aircraft cargo holds. It's said to be ready to fight within 15 minutes of being dropped off by a C-130 or Chinook.
Sliding side doors provide easy loading of four crew members — the driver takes a central forward seating position for 270-degree visibility — as well as their weapons and gear. The Scarabée is fully armored including ballistic and mine/IED protection, and can be set up with a variety of accessories depending on its mission. These include a remote-controlled machine gun turret, 30mm cannon, missile launchers, radar or thermal camera arrays, and anti-drone systems. A motorized electric trailer is also available, and can be remotely called to join the vehicle on demand.
Popular Science reported that the Scarabée is “a candidate to replace the French Army's fleet of 730 light armored vehicles by 2025.” For more information, see this press release on Arquus-Defense.com.