First Western tanks for Ukraine: France will deliver AMX-10RC

France will send AMX-10RC armored combat vehicles (also classified as light tanks) to Ukraine, as President Emmanuel Macron informed the Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. It was reported by the French media and by the Ukrainian President’s office.

This announcement comes a week after French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu’s visit to Ukraine.

First Western tanks for Ukraine

“These will be the first Western-made tanks for Ukraine,” the French President said, Le Figaro reports. The number and time of delivery of these machines are currently unknown.

The AMX-10RC has been in service with the French army since 1981 and participated in the first war in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and the Sahel. The machines have proven themselves perfectly in the role of a mobile anti-tank reserve. 

An extensive range (800 km) and a reliable chassis made it possible to carry out long marches. These vehicles can be highly mobile for reconnaissance missions and fire support during combat.

The French Army currently has 247 AMX-10s, which will be phased out due to wear and replaced by the new EBRC (Armored Reconnaissance Combat Vehicle) Jaguars, which are already beginning to arrive in the French army’s units.

The AMX-10RS can fight the T-62 tanks and combat vehicle

The AMX-10RS can effectively fight the T-62 tanks and another combat vehicle. It has the subcaliber OFL 105 F3 armor-piercing projectile with a mass of 3.8 kg and an initial speed of 1400 m/s in its ammunition. It can penetrate 365 mm of homogeneous steel armor mounted at an angle of 60˚. Ammunition consists of 38 shells (as a rule, 10 subcaliber, 9 cumulative, and 19 high-explosive fragments).

Photo: AMX-10RC (source: chars-francais.net)

AMX-10RC: combat capabilities

The sixteen-ton machine has a “tank” layout: in front is the control compartment with the driver’s workplace, behind it is a combat compartment with a three-seater turret, and in the stern of the machine, there is an engine and transmission compartment.

The AMX-10RC is armed with a 105-mm F2 rifled cannon with a semi-automatic shutter, capable of firing at a range of up to 2,000 meters. The length of the barrel is 47 calibers. A serious drawback is a need for a stabilization system. 7.62 mm AAN F1 machine guns represent auxiliary weapons. 

One is paired with a gun, and the second (optionally) is installed on the tower near the loader’s hatch. The ammunition of machine guns consists of 4,200 bullets.

The AMX-10RS became the first French model of an armored vehicle to receive a fire control system. The Safran M401 COTAC UAV, combined with the APX M550 laser rangefinder (range measurement range 4000-10000 m, accuracy 5 m), provides firing at moving targets at any position of the turret, as well as an automatic calculation of corrections. 

The data calculation time for shooting is 1.5 seconds. Although the gun is not stabilized, its guidance drives allow automatic guidance of the weapon based on the data of the anti-aircraft missile system.

Ukrainian President’s gratitude

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said:

“Today we have new and powerful results of our diplomatic marathon. France takes European defense support for Ukraine to a new level, and I thank President Macron for this leadership. We will receive more armored vehicles and, in particular – wheeled tanks of French products. This sends a clear signal to all our other partners – there is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western-type tanks. And this is very important to restore security for all Ukrainians and peace for all Europeans.”

Germany’s reaction

The announcement prompted a reaction in Germany. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the head of the Bundestag’s defense committee, tweeted:

“The other partner countries are once again leading the way. We can finally get started in the spirit of Franco-German friendship, right? @Bundeskanzler? The ball is now in Berlin. Now we just have to push it in.”

The West is ready for more robust military support of Ukraine

France’s decision to deliver to Ukraine light tanks is a sign that the West is ready for more robust military support of Ukraine to counter Russia’s war of aggression. It comes after Moscow invading troops intensified their assaults on Ukrainian positions on the frontlines and bombardments on civil energy infrastructure. 

Berlin might follow Paris soon; at least the pressure on the German government mounts. Ukraine has asked Germany for Leopard-2 tanks. With tanks and armored vehicles, Ukraine’s Armed forces will significantly enhance the battlefields and capabilities to liberate more territories that Russia has invaded since February. One thing is sure, with the Ukrainian heroic defense and unity of the West, Russia is gradually losing the war it has started.

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