first VBL parade

To celebrate the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989, 33 Heads of State and the Government were invited to attend the festivities which ended with a grand nocturnal parade designed by Jean-Paul Goude.

1989 was also the year when spectators could for the first time see the light armoured vehicles (VBL) produced by the Société de Constructions Mécaniques Panhard-Levassor (SCMPL).

VBL parade on the Champs-Elysées (source Panhard)

15 preseries Land Army Staff VBL (ASEM) paraded along the Champs-Elysées before entering service a few months later. Considered the "eyes" of the Leclerc tank, the VBL developed in its environment to perform reconnaissance and liaison missions. Innovative in its design, it offers a high degree of mobility for its era, with armour-plating and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) capacity. Eight years later it was a commercial success, with 922 examples being sold in France and 284 in around a dozen other countries.


Book : Stéphane Ferrard, Panhard, une tradition d’avant-garde (Panhard, An avant-garde tradition), 1996.

Video : presentation of the VBL at the 1st RHP