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Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Thu May 04, 2006 12:07 pm Post subject: French APILAS - Super Heavy LAW type antitank weapon
In 1983 I was commissioned to write an article on the French APILAS for a publication called Amphibious Warfare Review. It was one of those times I had to write what my convictions were not. When it comes to individual antitank weapons for a soldier the APILAS had almost all disadvantages: Its Effective Range was terrible; it was extremely heavy (9kg) and bulky; and had a launch signature (ie backblast and flash) that was unbelievable. But in 1983 it has one advantage that the other individual antitank weapon did offer: It could kill any main battle tank from any angle. And in 1983 almost all the NATO nations were worried sick about the Russian T-72.
The French Army in 1983 actually adopted the APILAS as an interim weapon till the Aerospatiale mini-antitank missile could be placed in production. Many nations adopted the APILAS based on its penetration ability. It saw combat in 1991 in the Gulf War against Iraqi fortifications. The French Army stated it was devestating. It is the one weapon that the Insurgents in Iraq would like to have (ie Jordan has the APILAS). While it might not be able to totally defeat the US Army Abrams a hit by an APILAS against a Bradle or other US armored vehicles would be devestating to the crew and infantry squad -- ie the RPG-7 can penetrate those vehicles but it has to use all its power to penetrate and has little behind the armor effect.
Jack E. Hammond
Photo above shows early APILAS launcher. It was discovered that the launch motor was so powerful that the gunner could get burned. So a face shield was added later. Effective range was claimed to be 325 meters. Although against a moving target that would be drastically reduced. And once an APILAS is fired it may destroy its target, but the gunner would most likely die because his position would be immediately revealed to the enemy.
below is a thumbnail. Please click to see full size
Last edited by jackehammond on Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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