The ERC 90 is an 8.3 tonne vehicle mounted with a 90 mm weapon, which is a reconnaissance 6 wheeled armoured all-terrain vehicle. ERC translated from its French meaning to English means ‘Gun-armed Reconnaissance Vehicle’. In December 1980 the vehicle was chosen by the French Defence Force (FDF) to go ahead and purchase the ERC 90. This was due to weight reasons, as the other competing vehicle for the role of reconnaissance was the AMX-10 RC.
However, this vehicle weighed too much for NATO (Hercules C-130) and French (Transall C-160) forces planes to carry; thus the decision was to purchase the much lighter ERC 90 Sagaie for this role. (GRV)
There was also an issue with the French military deploying in former colonies in Africa. The military needed a military vehicle that didn’t weigh over 8 tonnes as many of the bridges could only support from 6 – 8 tonnes.
(In no particular order)
- Ivory Coast | Purchase of 5
- Argentina | Purchase of 14
- Chad | Purchase of 4
- Côte d’Ivoire | Purchase of 7
- France | Purchase of 192
- Gabon | Purchase of 14
- Mexico | Purchase of 120
(ERC 90 Sagaie)
- 90 mm cannon produced by GIAT industries. (Now Nexter) Panhard the original creators of this vehicle recognised the need for a vehicle which could engage effectively modern tanks, thus they chose a 90 mm cannon which could also fire armour piercing rounds (APFS-DS) as well as HEAT rounds. This was to combat the main threat of exported tanks by the Russians; the T-72 main battle tank (MBT). However because the vehicle is so small, it can only carry 20 in total of either of these 90 mm rounds.
- 1 x 7.62 mm (2,000 rounds) coaxial MG for suppression and infantry contacts.
- The turret can also have an additional mounted 1 x 7.62 mm MG for anti-air (AA) purposes.
- 2 x 2 smoke grenade discharges for covering effect.
The vehicle only has 10 mm of steel, which is lightly armoured for a vehicle carrying such a heavy weapon to try and combat main battle tanks. The vehicle has a crew of three, gunner, loader and driver/commander. The vehicle was originally built for export to try and thwart the seriousness that involved the hugely popular T-72 MBT. The vehicle can ford rivers 1.1 meters deep as well as transverse at maximum speeds on smooth ground at 90 k/m as well as having the ability to travel 100 k/m using only 25 litres of oil.