The Belgian John Cockerill Défense joins forces with the French Arquus to create a European leader in land armaments in 2026

The Belgian specialist in armored turrets, John Cockerill Defense, has entered into exclusive negotiations with the Swedish Volvo, for the acquisition of the French Arquus, specialist in medium and light armored vehicles, to create a new major defense industrial player in Europe . This would then be, without the slightest doubt, one of the most coherent European consolidations in the field of the defense industry, undertaken in recent years.

In the field of the defense industry, there are mergers or takeovers which can leave one perplexed, or at least which appear to be driven more by political considerations than industrial or operational ones.

John Cockerill Defense and Arquus, two perfectly complementary land weapons specialists

The announced takeover of French Arquus, belonging to the Swedish Volvo and specialist in the design and construction of armored vehicles, including the famous VAB and the new Griffon and Serval of the SCORPION program, by the Belgian John Cockerill Défense, recognized worldwide for its combat turrets arming the armored vehicles of numerous armed forces, seems, for its part, to flow naturally.

Arquus Scarab
The Belgian John Cockerill Défense joins forces with the French Arquus to create a European leader in land armaments in 2026 4

Not only do the activities of the two manufacturers complement each other perfectly, but both are major stakeholders in the CaMo program, having led the Belgian armies to acquire 60 EBRC Jaguars, 382 VBMR Griffon and 28 CAESAR guns, to achieve optimal interoperability with the French Army.

Other collaborations, within the framework of the CaMo program, arise for the future, whether it concerns the acquisition by the Belgian Army of VBMR-Léger Serval armored vehicles, and especially concerning the design of the Light armored vehicle VBAE (Armored Engagement Assistance Vehicle), intended to replace the VBL, the common design of which was launched within the framework of OCCAR, a few months ago, and which is largely based on these two companies.

In addition, although the company is mainly located in Belgium, in particular around Liège, John Cockerill Défense is a French company, since it has been owned since 2002 by the Frenchman Bernard Serin, through Ebenis SA.

Promising negotiations after the failed sale of Arquus to Nexter in 2017

For now, according to press releases issued by the two European companies, they have entered in exclusive negotiations regarding the purchase of Arquus by JCD, from Volvo. The process must still go through numerous stages, particularly with the companies' social partners, to be validated.

Light tank / armored reconnaissance vehicle EBRC Jaguar
The Belgian John Cockerill Défense joins forces with the French Arquus to create a European leader in land armaments in 2026 5

The resulting group would become one of the major players in land armaments in Europe, aiming to exceed one billion euros in turnover and 6 employees by 000.


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