On January 4, French President Emmanuel Macron had a phone conversation with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he announced that France would provide Ukraine with the AMX-10 RC armoured vehicle manufactured in France. The Ukrainian armed forces will, for the very first time, take delivery of a tank that was developed in Western nations.
Since the 1980s, the AMX 10 RC has been in use by the French army, where it is classified as a light tank. The AMX 10 RC is currently in the process of being retired from service. The decision to donate will represent a significant shift in France’s military support for Ukraine.
No information is available regarding the quantity of AMX 10 RCs that will be given or the delivery timeframe. In addition, France offered to give training as well as maintenance. During a conversation between the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu and his Ukrainian counterpart, all issues will be handled.
AMX 10 RC light tank
The wheeled and armoured vehicle known as the AMX-10 RC first appeared in French service in the 1980s. Even though this tank is quite old, it has not become obsolete and is still put to good use today. In addition to that, it was active in every foreign conflict in which France was a participant.
The French Ministry of Defense says that the AMX-10 RC is a heavily armed and protected reconnaissance vehicle that is amphibious, has outstanding road mobility, and provides protection against light infantry weapons. It can fight despite being in a contaminated environment.
The Moroccan and Qatari armed forces field these AMX-10 RC light battle tanks. The AMX-10RC is a fifteen-ton wheeled tank designed in the 1970s and armed with a 105 mm F2 BK MECA L/48 cannon (38 rounds) and an AA 7.62 NF1 machine gun.
As part of the Scorpion programme, the AMX-10 RC tank, which has been in service ever since 1981, would be gradually replaced with the EBRC Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle.
The gearboxes on the AMX-10 RC tank fleet were the source of the technical troubles. Recent problems are on the cusp of being resolved, but the structure’s age and the restricted availability of spare components will ensure that structural concerns will continue to be a problem.
The crew is led by a commander and consists of a gunner, loader, and driver. The weight of the tank is around 16 tonnes and is 20 tonnes in battle order.
Not a tank
However, traditionalists do not recognise it as a tank because it does not have tracks. On the other hand, its six-wheel drive allows it to accommodate a 105-millimetre cannon with a range of two kilometres. A 7.62-millimetre machine gun that can hold up to 38 rounds of ammunition is mounted on the roof above the cockpit. Being mobile and quick, it quickly covers itself to avoid being shot at in return. The AMX-10RC is renowned for its durability in the industry. Although the army officially possesses 247 AMX-10 RC vehicles, a significant number of them need to be more serviceable.
Putting pressure on Germany
After France’s announcement to supply reconnaissance tanks to Ukraine, SPD leader Saskia Esken remained discreet on the issue of the delivery of German battle tanks.
“The German government and the German chancellor are always in close consultation on this with partners, with friends – especially of course with the Americans,” Esken said on Thursday on RLT/ntv’s “Frühstart” program, in answer to the question of when Germany would deliver Leopard 2 type tanks.
Ukraine continues to seek combat tanks and other Western weaponry and has been requesting German Leopard 2 tanks for months. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) does not wish to give them alone and has frequently emphasised that no other nation has supplied comparable weapon systems. The French tank offered is not a combat tank like the French Leclerc or the Leopard, say the Germans.
Concerning the French Leclerc tanks, the Ukrainian request is dated, but France claims that maintaining them would make it difficult for them to be deployed to the front lines of the conflict with Russia.
After finishing production, the French are now using 222 Leclerc in their military. It is estimated that there are 184 more in storage. The French are planning to upgrade them to new XLR standards. Other than France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently operates 388 Leclerc tanks.
Before this, France mostly supplied Ukraine with trucks carrying Caesar artillery systems, which have performed average.