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ERC 90 Sagaie
ERC-90 Sagaie 008 FR.JPG
Place of origin  France
Specifications
Weight 8.3 tonnes
Length 7.7 metres
Width 2.50 metres
Height 2.25 metres
Crew 3

Armour 10 mm
Primary
armament
90 mm Cannon
Secondary
armament
2× 7.62 mm machine gun
Engine Peugeot V-6 Petrol
155 hp at 5,250 rpm
Operational
range
730 km
Speed 90 km/h

The Panhard ERC 90 Sagaie (Engin de Reconnaissance à Canon de 90 mm) is a French six-wheeled armoured vehicle. It is mobile, amphibious and NBC-proof.

Contents

Background

Developed by French defense firm of Panhard as private project. Developed by Panhard in the last half of the 1970s as successor to it's highly successful four wheel AML and M3 armored vehicles, the ERC and VCR are a family of six wheel armored reconnaissance vehicles, the ERC being the cannon armed turret model and the VCR being the armored personnel version. ERC is the French abbreviation of term Engin de Reconnaisance Canon, or Gun-armed Reconnaissance Vehicle. The ERC shares many components of the VCR vehicles. Two main versions of the ERC were developed: the first model being the ERC F1 90 Lynx and later the ERC F4 90 Sagaie. The Lynx appearing about 1977 and the Sagaie approximately 1979. The Lynx was developed primarily as armored reconnaisance vehicle. The Sagaie also had a primary armored reconnaissance vehicle, with the added secondary role of tank-killer. Panhard purposed in 1977 both the ERC and the VCR to the French Army but lost to wheeled armored vehicles offered by Saviem (now Renault) VAB and the VBC-90 for the French Gendarmerie and the GIAT AMX-10RC, but Panhard later found success for both VRC and ERC family of armored vehicles as a private project in the export market, and later with the ERC version with orders from the French Army which had at first reject the Panhard contender.[1] [2]

The ERC 90 F1 Lynx was first going into production, with an order for 36 in October 1979 from Argentina, for its Marines to patrol the long border between Argentina and Chile. The second large order was Mexico in early 1981 for 42 for the Lynx also. Both countries ordered the Lynx version, because of its ability to elevate or depress its 90mm cannon over a wider range for operations in mountain terrain. Further export orders followed. Both nation also appreciated all terrain mobility of the ERC 90 F1 Lynx which is enhanced by the capability to raise or lower the central pair of wheels depending on terrain condition, especially sand or muddy ground. It is also equipped with two hydrojets and requires no preparation for amphibious operations. [2]

Shortly after the ERC 90 F1 Lynx had been built for export, Panhard recognizing the need for a cost effective light armored vehicle that could defeat more modern main battle tanks (MBT), like the Russian T-72 which was being exported to many nation. To this end they developed a turret in which mounted the long barrel F4 90 mm smooth bore cannon recently defense firm GIAT, a defense firm owned by the French government, designated the ERC 90 F4 Sagaie. Unlike the Lynx version which could only fire HEAT rounds in the anti-tank role, which lacked the penetration to defeat the more modern MBTs, the Sagaie could fire armor piercing fin stabilized discard sabot rounds (APFS-DS) at a much higher velocity than the Lynx's F1 90 cannon and which at 2000 meters GIAT and Panhard both claimed would enable the Sagaie to defeat the armor threat of the 1980s. For a while, GIAT engineers, were vexed with finding a suitable muzzle brake for the Sagaie which would not interferer with the firing of APFS-DS rounds, but finally found a suitable solution with the fitting of a muzzle brake design from the older AMX-13 light tank. [2]

The army of the Ivory Coast was the first export customer, ordering five Sagaies to replace its outdated AMX-13 light tanks. And at this time period, the French Army was organizing the Fast Deployment Force (FDF) for overseas military missions. Mainly in Africa or the Middle East. The main core of the FDF would be French Army's 9th Marine Infantry Division and the French Armies 11th Parachute Division (Note> French Marines are part of the French Army note to be confused with naval marines). To enable the new FDF to be "more muscular" a new unit was activated, the 31st Heavy Half Brigade (31 DBL) of two regiments. One regiment was to be armed with armored vehicle mounting the HOT wire guided missile and the other a cannon armed light armored vehicle that could provide both reconnaissance and a limited tank killing role. The French Army had first planned on later regiment with the AMX-10RC, but were told that this vehicle was not suitable due to weight and size for transport by the French Air Force Transall C-160 or its allies Hercules C-130 aircraft. In addition most of the bridges in Africa had only a 6 to 8 ton load bearing ability. So instead of the larger AMX-10RC, which was already in service with the French Army, the French Army Staff took the surprise step in December 1980 of ordering the Panhard ERC 90 F4 Sagaie for the future FDF. [2] And the Sagaie has proved very useful for the French Army in its African bases and even in urban conditions during the Siege of Sarajevo. The last known combat use of the Sagaie was with French Forces station in the Ivory Coast on a peace keeping mission, between the two rival factions. In 1982 the ERC 90 F1 Lynxs of Argentina Marines saw combat in the Falkland Islands in the defense of Port Stanley.

Variants

French ERC 90 Sagaie of the reconnaissance squadron of the 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion near Djibouti in 2005
  • EMC 91: Fire support version armed with 81mm mortar in an Hispano-Suiza EMC turret.
  • ERC 20: Anti-aircraft version with 2× 20 mm autocannons.
  • ERC 60-20: Fitted with Hispano-Suiza 60-20 Serval turret armed with a 60 mm mortar and a 20 mm autocannon.
  • ERC 90 (Diesel): Fitted with a diesel engine.
  • ERC 90 F1 Lynx: Fitted with the Hispano-Suiza Lynx 90 turret as fitted to the Panhard AML.
  • ERC 90 F4 Sagaie: Fitted with GIAT TS 90 turret with long barrel high velocity cannon that can fire APDS-FS anti-tank rounds.
  • ERC 90 Sagaie 2: Slightly larger version fitted with twin engines and improved turret.
  • VCR: APC based on ERC.

User countries

Mexican Army ERC 90 F1 Lynx during the Independence day Parade.

Characteristics

External images
ERC 90 Sagaie-Lynx
Lynx Characteristics
Sagaie Characteristics
Argentine Marine Corps ERC 90 F1 Lynx Recon. Vehicle
  • Armament: 1 x 90 mm, 1 x 7.62 mm coaxial MG, 1 x 7.62 mm AA MG AA (optional), 2 x 2 smoke grenade dischargers
  • Ammunition: 20 x 90 mm, 2,000 x 7.62 mm
  • Armour: maximum 10 mm steel
  • Crew: 3
  • Weight:: 8,100 kg
  • Length: 5.10 m hull, 7.69 m overall
  • Width: 2.49 m
  • Height: 2.25
  • Wheelbase: 1.63 + 1.22 m
  • Engine: Peugeot V-6 petrol, 155 hp (116 kW) at 5,250 rpm
  • Maximum speed: 95 km/h
  • Fuel capacity: 242 L
  • Range: 700 km
  • Fording: Amphibious
  • Water speed: 4.5 km/h wheels, 9.5 km/h hydrojets
  • Ground clearance: 0.34 m
  • Vertical obstacle: 0.8 m
  • Trench: 1.1 m
  • Gradient: 60 %
  • Side Slope: 30 %
  • NBC system: Optional
  • Night vision: Optional (passive)

External links

References

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Notes

  1. ^ Jane's AFV Recognition Handbook, author Christopher Foss
  2. ^ a b c d Light Armored Vehicles for French Rapid Deployment Force, by R. Furlong, International Defense Review May 1981

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