EUROSATORY NEWS: Next-Gen Light Armored Vehicle Makes European Debut

By Mikayla Easley

John Cockerill Defense photo

PARIS — John Cockerill Defense — a Belgian-based company known for its guns, turrets and remote weapon stations — has rolled out a new vehicle it’s calling the world’s “first-ever ground interceptor.”

The Cockerill i-X is a lightly armored 4x4 vehicle that was designed to intercept and engage with incoming ground-based threats, much like an interceptor aircraft. While it made its initial debut in March during the World Defense Show in Riyadh, the vehicle was showcased for the first time in Europe this week during the 2022 Eurosatory international defense conference in Paris.

The current version of the Cockerill i-X — similar in size to a sport utility vehicle — is a proof-of-concept that addresses a gap in the light armored vehicle market, said Simon Haye, John Cockerill Defense’s chief marketing officer. Many small vehicles feature open-cab designs that can leave their crews vulnerable to the environment and incoming threats, he explained.

“However, they are more to deliver people to go do something. Our thought is to keep the people in the vehicle and let them do it from the vehicle with the firepower they’re carrying with them,” Haye said on the sidelines of the conference.

The 2-door vehicle’s main armament feature could be one of two options: a 25mm automatic cannon or a 30x113mm automatic cannon that both hold 120 ready rounds. Both would be paired with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun that carries 400 ready rounds, he said.

Another version of the turret, which is still under development, will feature two to four anti-tank guided missiles coupled with a 12.7mm machine gun.

Each turret is retractable, rotates 360 degrees and tilts from 60 degrees above to ten degrees below elevation.

Able to reach speeds of 124 mph on roads and 99 mph off roads, the vehicle can quickly make long treks to intercept and neutralize incoming threats, Haye noted. 

“We see this working as a team, with two or three vehicles working together with a drone or drone aircraft support for long-distance observation,” he said.

The 4-ton Cockerill i-X is made of composite carbon fiber materials manufactured by John Cockerill and powered by one of two engine options: a completely thermal engine with 800hp or a hybrid-electric engine with 750hp, he said. The vehicle seats a two-person crew of a driver and gunner.

At the same time, John Cockerill Defense is working on a VR-based operating interface for the turret that is displayed on a helmet, Haye said. When wearing the helmet, the weapons operator will have a 360-degree view of the environment surrounding the vehicle by using cameras onboard.

While the helmet is under development, current prototypes already include automatic detection and classification of threats using artificial intelligence being developed by the company, Haye said.


Topics: Global Defense Market

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