In October 2017, the General Directorate of Armaments [DGA] notified the French company UNAC of the order for 300 RIDERs, that is to say all-terrain vehicles of the flatbed type, with 172 trailers, for an amount of 44 million euros.
It was then a question of responding to a need expressed by the special forces and the airborne troops [TAP], who were looking for a small, rustic transport vehicle that could be both air-transportable, air-droppable and heli-portable. And this to allow commandos and other paratroopers to move quickly with their equipment [soit une charge de 50 kg, hors armement et équipement de protection] after being dumped [ou déposés] at a safe distance from their area of intervention.
Still in development at the time of the order from the DGA, the RIDER [Rapide Intervention Droppable Equipment for Raiders] should begin to enter staffing in 2021, with sixty copies delivered by this deadline. And the entire order should have been completed before 2025. But like the long-awaited “Operational Chute Grounding System” [SMTCOPS]ordered at the same time from Zodiac Aerosafety Systems, the program was delayed.
However, on June 15, the DGA announced that it had just pronounced the qualification of the RIDER after a test campaign carried out by its centers of expertise and trials, in conjunction with the Technical Section of the Army [STAT], under conditions representative of the “various theaters of operations where the combat units that will receive this vehicle are commonly deployed”. The mobility tests thus took place in the “sand of Biscarrosse, in the mud of Fontevraud and the rockery of Canjuers”.
In the press kit that it distributed for the 2022 edition of the EuroSatory land armament fair, the DGA highlights the “rusticity” of the RIDER, which “has no electronics, which makes it easily and quickly repairable in the event of a breakdown during an operation”.
With a mass of 2 tonnes, this low-loader vehicle has “a strong crossing capacity as well as movement on terrain inaccessible to conventional 4×4s”, further underlines the DGA. In addition, being able to be armed with two 7.62 mm machine guns, it is able to tow a 120 mm mortar or transport a load of 400 kg with its trailer. If it was designed to allow paratroopers and other commandos to move more easily, the RIDER can be used for other tasks, such as reconnaissance or the evacuation of wounded.
Normally, the first eight RIDERs will be delivered by the end of this year. The deliveries of the other specimens will be spread out until 2030. The special forces will receive 120 of them, the regiments of the 11th Parachute Brigade [BP] to share the remaining 180.
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