Taking stock of French military aid to Ukraine – VEHICLES, HELICOPTERS, and ANTI-TANK MISSILE

French military aid to Ukraine ranges from air defense and artillery to light armored vehicles.

This article covers the arms that support Ukraine’s infantry operations of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as well as other units such as the Border Guard, the National Guard, the Air Assault Forces, the Marines. These troops are at the fore of the 2023 counteroffensive, and they are most thankful to the French people.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive relies on the infantry, and their capabilities have been bolstered thanks to the military aid. What we’ve been seeing in June and July is Ukraine’s tactic of inflicting maximum losses and destabilizing defense system of the enemy, setting the ground for liberation of all the occupied territories. While the Russians seem okay with sustaining losses in manpower, their losses of equipment are very painful to them.
Ukrainian troops conduct offensive actions in several directions at once and are supported in the south by the resistance movement, the guerilla, that operate inside the enemy-controlled territory of Ukraine.
The only direction where the Russians tried to attack is in northeast – north of Bakhmut, between the towns of Kupiansk and Lyman that were liberated in 2022. These Russian attempts have not been successful to divert Ukraine’s attention.

VAB armored personnel carrier by Renault

The majority of VABs have been distributed to the Air Assault Forces that are deployed on the most strategic areas of the counteroffensive in the south as well as near Bakhmut in the east. The four-wheel version with a 12 mm machine gun has surfaced on Ukraine’s social media.

VAB stands for vanguard armored vehicle, véhicule de l’avant blindé in French. It’s been the most widespread personnel carrier of the French army since its introduction in 1976. Numerous modifications have been made, especially regarding IT.

VAP weighs 13 metric tonnes which allows it to be airlifted. It’s also amphibious. Its maximum speed is 100 km per hour on flat surface, 8 km per hour in the water. Its operational range is about 1000 km. It comes in several configurations, as a command vehicle, for transporting a recon group, and for medevac.

VAB’s M2 Browning machine gun operated from a touchscreen inside. Source: Militarnyi

AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicle by Nexter

AMX-10 RC has enormous firepower for a recon vehicle. The French call it a tank on wheels because of the armor grade. These vehicles started to arrive to Ukraine in 2023 after France trained the Ukrainian military on how to operate and maintain them.

The tank on wheels weighs between 16 and 22 metric tonnes, depending on the degree of protection against land mines and a corresponding purpose of the vehicle. It is fitted with an 105 mm gun mounted in a three-man turret.

While the French Army has been gradually replacing it with the EBRC Jaguar, it is still a modern and highly capable equipment.

MILAN anti-tank missile

Lightweight Infantry Anti-tank Missile (Missile d’Infanterie Léger Antichar in French) or MILAN is a Franco-German anti-tank guided missile system. It weighs over 16 kg and is 1.2 meter long. Its guidance system relies on a wire thread. It proved effective in many other combat zones, including Afghanistan and Iraq.


Ukraine bought French helicopters pictured below for the National Guard and the Border Guard just before the Russian full-scale invasion. In 2018, the National Guard also bought the heavier Airbus H225 helicopters.

Airbus H125, known as Écureuil, squirrel in French
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