A few days after the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the first data on the efficiency of military equipment began to arrive. Mostly from the Ukrainian side, where the public is watching the performance of Western military equipment delivered in recent months.
French wheeled combat vehicles, often called “wheeled tanks” of the AMX-10 RC, received a negative evaluation from a Ukrainian soldier who spoke to a reporter for The Washington Post. He said that according to its direct participation in the first attempts to counterattack the Ukrainian forces, the French wheeled tank has weak armor and is easily penetrated after being exposed to Russian fire.
The soldier tells of the battle of the Ukrainian 37th Division near Velika Novoselka. The Russians fired a volley of shells, which penetrated the French AMX-10 RC tanks. The French armored vehicle, sometimes called a “light tank,” was not heavy enough to protect the soldiers, and had to be placed behind them instead of in front, the Ukrainian soldier claimed.
AMX-10 RC in Ukraine
Again, according to Forbes, the French AMX-10 RC tanks have been modified to meet Ukrainian requirements. For example, the Ukrainians wanted these combat vehicles to provide better awareness, speed and combat range of the 105mm gun.
Most likely, the French added more advanced optical systems [ليلًا ونهارًا وحراريًا] to achieve awareness. Also, to increase the range, the shells were different from the usual ones. As Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksey Reznikov described it, the AMX-10 RC “is a sniper rifle on fast wheels.”
However, the question arose why in the early days of the counterattack, it was the AMX-10 RC that was thrown into battle to break through the Russian defences?
There is also the possibility that timing is just a major factor. For example, Ukraine urgently needs armored fighting vehicles, and a possible armor upgrade may take longer than expected. However, this does not give an answer to the decision of the Ukrainian command to throw the AMX-10 RC into the front line.
Armoring the AMX-10 RC
The armor used on the AMX-10 RC is a combination of steel and aluminum. Steel should provide a high level of protection against small arms fire and shrapnel, while aluminum should help reduce the overall vehicle weight. The shield is also designed to be modular, meaning damaged parts can easily be replaced in the field.
While the AMX-10 RC’s armor is effective against small arms fire and shell splinters, it is not designed to withstand direct hits from heavy weapons. Vehicle armor is also vulnerable to certain types of projectiles, such as armor-piercing rounds. It is therefore important that the vehicle be used in conjunction with other armored vehicles and infantry support to minimize the risk of damage and casualties.
The AMX-10 RC’s armor thickness varies depending on the vehicle’s location. The frontal part of the hull and turret are the most heavily armored with a thickness of up to 40 mm. The sides and stern of the body are about 20 mm thick, while the bottom of the vehicle is about 10 mm thick.