ACMAT Bastion

Armoured Personal Carrier (2012) c400 built.

The Bastion is a modern French armoured personnel carrier, manufactured by ACMAT (Ateliers de Construction Mécanique de L'Atlantique), entering service in 2012. It was marketed to customers in North America and Oceania via Mack Defense and is now produced by AM General. Evaluated and adopted by the French special Forces in its main PATSAS variant, the Bastion APC is mostly exported and present in the armies and police of Armenia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kosovo, Mali, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

Genesis of the design


Ateliers de Construction Mécanique de L'Atlantique, acronym ACMAT (funded 1948, relocated 1954, 1964 to St Nazaire, Atlantic coast) was one of the rare armoured vehicles producers in France not yet integrated into the Arquus giant (several brands like Panhard and Auverland fused with Renault Truck Defence). It is now a subsidiary of Arquus Defense, previously Renault Truck Defense, since 22 May 2006, the latter bing a former subsidiary of Renault Trucks. ACMAT base dits business model opf a range of simple but rugged cross-country and tactical military vehicles since 1958. Simple and reliable, they share 80% commonality across the entire product line and interchangeable parts since 30 years. This made for unexpensive armoured vehicles easy to maintain on the long run, and widely exported in Africa.


In 1967 ACMAT launched its best seller, the VLRA ("Véhicule de Liaison de Reconnaissance et d'Appui" or "Liaison, Reconnaissance, and Support Vehicle") capable of carrying 2.5 tonnes payload over 1,600 km with a water tank with a capacity of 200lt. They soon became the main tactical truck of the Foreign Legion, and from May 2006, acquisition by Renault Trucks Defense SA, and subsidiary in Volvo Group, the ACMAT VLRA 2 was launched in 2009, based on the Toyota Hi-lux and notaby used in Afghanistan. Due to the experience of Renault Trucks Defense SA on armour protection, the range extended soon to armoured vehicles, with the Bastion, alongside the VLRB (Véhicule de Liaison et de Reconnaissance Blindé).

The Bastion was studied as an APC (Armoured Perosnal Carrier) highly modular and recuperating all common parts with the rest of the range in the idea of procuring a more complete offer between the unarmoured trucks used in support and the latter. Moderately large at 12 tonnes, it is protected against small arms fire and is capable of carrying up to 10 men at 110 kph on flat. The success of the Bastion led ACMAT to propose the up-armoured Fortress as an upgrade, and do the exact opposite with the super-light Patsas for special operations. Intended for peace keeping and anti-insurgency operations it was marketed as well to the US for Afghanistan and Iraq, but due to protectionist laws in the US, it was to be partly made and distributed in the US through MACK Defense, now AM General.

Design of the Bastion

Hull and general layout

The basic vehicle was based on the ACMAT VLRA tactical 4x4 truck. So it's basically a truck chassis, with a rigid mechanical-welded frame, in Cold-stamped HEL steel sheet plus U-shaped side members, and simple armoured hull wrapped around. Not designed for high-intensity combat, NBC is not proposed and smoke dischargers are optional, but not air conditioning and even optional windshield defrosting. The vehicle keep the same caracteristic flat nose hood of the previous models in the range, but with a sloped all around hull and a simple single hatch for a main weapon in turret or simple mount.


Inside the steel hull shielded in High hardness armoured steel, there is a two front forward driving cabing and unseparated from the rear, 10 infantrymen can be seated in a generous 8.5 m3 space, with classic rear door, plus two alongside the front cabin. The basic hull receives an add-on armour, bolted on. Armor and ballistic glass are level 2-3 STANAG 4569, with limited anti-mine/IED protection levels 2a and 2b. Two banks of four smoke projectors are proposed in option, they can be fitted in that case on either side's roof sponsons at the rear.

Powerplant and performances

The Bastion is powered by a 5.0-litre Turbo Diesel Intercooler at Euro 2 or Euro 5 norm for European theaters, with a power output of 215 hp (158 kW) at 2300 rpm and a peak torque of 815 Nm @ 1200 rpm. The diver uses Hydraulic powersteering and a manual 6-forward, 1-reverse (or autolmatic) gearbiox, with a long gear and low gear Manual inter-axles locking differental. It is capable of a full turn on 7.25 m.

Both its front and rear axles (Track 1,83 m, wheelbase 3,6 m) are rigid, with hub gear Positive locking differental and suspended by parabolic multi-leaves springs doubled with Hydropneumatic shock absorbers; The Brake is an hydropneumatic system with air dryer Front, rear disc brakes and optional ABS. The tyres are military grade, large Michelin 365/80 R20XZL Runflat Anti-mine FINABEL A20A type. In addition, the electric supply consists in a 24-volt circuit. The engine is also setup for Electro Magnetic Compatibiity.

Based on the power output of 215 hp (others sources 180 hp/130 kW), and max torque of 815 nm, it is capable, governed, of 110 km/h (68 mph) down to 60 km/h off-road. Range is 1,400 km (870 mi) max on flat, 1,000 km on varied terrains, thanks to two 150 liters fuel tanks and the same 120 liters drinkable water tank as other ACMAT vehicles make it handy for operating in Africa. The vehicle has a 2-ton payload and could ford up to 1.10 m of water, but is not marketed s amphibious. For tactical transport, it is rated as MIL-STD-1791, thus, could be carried by a C130 Hercules, C160 Transall, A400M or even heli-towed by the CH47 Chinook.


Outside the 10 crew's personal weapons (with space aboard, which can comprises ARGMs, MANPADS and mortars), the main armament consists in a single heavy machine gun, pintle/rail mounted forward center in the gunner's hatch, just behind the cab. It can receive add-on bolted shields on the frontal arc, STANAG 4569, back hatch, but not overhead protection. The machine gun differs from user. France tested it with the M2HB browning 0.5 inches, but Chinese SVT and Soviet equivalents are also seen in use, since the mount is adjustable. It was also proposed with a remote weapon system option. With the additional rear roof hatches, two articulated arms are located on the rear corner for 2 LMG swivel stations.

The French evaluation and marketed version even came with sixteen smoke dischargers/antipersonal grenade launchers between the hull and semi-turret. The vehicle depending of the options could provided with up to ten pistol ports, on the two side and two rear doors and under the three rear side armoured glass windows. There is also inside the troops compartment, 8 seats, 10 storages for assault rifles and lockers and bins for extra ammo and gear.


The vehicle comes with front and rear lights with blackout function and optional Grids for protection, as well for the windows in police variants. There is a basic rear towing hook with brake hoses, a pioneer tool kit for unditching (Shovel, axe, pickaxe) under the chassis, a simple tool box for 1st Level maintenance, and in option, a 24-volt pre-equipment kit for the radio, a front electric winch setup on the transmission with 6.8-tonne pulling force and automatic central tyre inflation system.


Fortress APC

Official Arquus photo

The Fortress is an evolution, at first marketed as the Bastion HM (for High Mobility), and share most component, but is up-armored and with a larger engine capable of 340 hp plus independent suspension in order to preserve mobility. It is marketed both in APC and armored logistic vehicle, bvut share the same armament as the Bastion, with smoke dischargers, and a weight over 13.5 tonnes. The Mark 2 had been revealed in 2020, at 14.5 tonnes, same engine, extra spaced armour, better belly protection against mines/IEDs, better protected gunner position, but still STANAG 4569. A dedicated article is on its way. Video. So far it had been adopted by the Swedish Police (2021) src.


Spec Ops PATSAS at Satory

The PATSAS (For "PATrouille SAS") is designed for special forces operations, and most of the armour is removed to reach 10 tonnes, with five soldiers all provided with three pintles and gun points plus the usual center heavy machune gun, which can be swapped with a grenade launcher. A dedicated article is on its way.


Dimensions (l-w-h):6 x 2.2 x 2.4 m (19 ft 8 in x 7 ft 3 in x 7 ft 10 in)
Total weight, battle ready:12 tonnes
Propulsion:Volvo 5.0-litre TD 215 hp
Suspensions:Leaf springs + schock absorbers
Top Speed110 kph governed, 60 off-road
Range (road)300L fuel, 1000-1400 km see notes
Armament7.62 (0.3 in) or 12.7 mm (0.5 in) MG, see notes
ArmourSTANAG 4569 lvl 1-3
Total Productionc400 as of 2023 by compilation

Exports & Combat records

U.S. military forces delivered nearly 20 vehicles and two storage containers to members of the Uganda People’s Defence Force at Mogadishu International Airport, Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept., 25, 2017. U.S. forces’ mission in the Horn of Africa is to assist partner nations of AMISOM strengthen Somalia’s defenses against local violent extremist organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

The Bastion had been supplied to the following: Armenia: 50 (24 delivered in November 2023 with 26 in production), Burkina Faso (10 Bastions in 2012, plus 8 Bastion PATSAS and 100 according to Jane's), Cameroon (23 received in 2015–2016, via U.S. DoD, +15 Bastions late 2017), Congo-Brazzaville (2 for the National Police), Chad (22 received in 2013), Ethiopia (12 received in 2016 via U.S. DoD), Gabon (5), Ivory Coast (9 in 2018), Kenya (12 received in 2018 via U.S. DoD), Kosovo Police: 3 Bastion by AM General, Mali (5 received in 2016), Saudi Arabia (71 received in 2016, Saudi special forces), Senegal (36 APCs, 2 PATSAS from December 2017, 7 to Senegalese Gendarmerie, 29 procured 2019 for the Army with Saudi Arabia aid), Somalia (13 received in 2016, via U.S. DoD), Sweden (some supplied from 2016 for the Särskilda operationsgruppen), Tanzania (24 to 36 leased from the UN), Togo (30 PATSAS received in 2014), Tunisia (4 APCs received in 2016 via U.S. DoD.), Uganda (19 APCs received in 2017, via U.S. DoD, 31 reportedly). Note all vehicles supplied by the US DoD via AM General are not confirmed by Jane's. The only variant used by France is currently the Patsas, three avluated by the special forces in Africa.

In West Africa, the Chadian détachement d'action rapide (rapid action detachment) was provided the PATSAS, used in the 2013 intervention in Mali, and Bastions in the 2015 intervention against Boko Haram in North Cameroon and Nigeria. Cameroonian Bastion are named there "Cyclone", fought in Northern Cameroon alongside. Burkina Faso also deployed its own in peacekeeping operations, Northern Mali under MINUSMA. They served for internal security. PATSAS were fielded by the presidential guard until disbanded in 2015. On was reported destroyed by Ansar ul Islam in the 2016 Nassoumbou ambush.

In Mali, the 134th Recce Squadron used iys Bastion APC with EUTM Mali and for East Africa, most vehicles were provided by the United States Department of Defense (purchased 62 Bastion APC distributed by Mack Trucks). Those fielded by Uganda were active under AMISOM. Saudi Arabian PATSAS saw also combat in Yemen.


Standard NATO pattern Camouflage, French Army evaluation, 2012

Bastion used by the UN in Africa, 2010s

UNAMID, United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, 2012-2020

Bastion in sand livery, Burkina Faso Army, 2022 coup

Bastion of the Kosovo Police

A serie fof Mack Bastions to be delivered vua UPDF

Burkina Bastion in front of the Pdt. Palace

Loyalis Malian Bastion 2015

Bastion of the MINUSMA in Goundam 2015

Coup in Burkina, Bastion of the army, rear view

Resources & Further Reading

From twitter (src), non-standard 4-tone camouflage variant for a French demonstrator.


Bastion on
Fortress II on
Patsas on on Bastions Bastions proposed to Ukraine


ACMAT Bastion: Modern French Armored Personnel Carrier - European Defense | Dung Tran Military. See also the official arquus video.

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