The LRAC F1, officially called Lance-Roquettes AntiChar de 89 mm modèle F1 (89 mm anti-tank rocket launcher model F1) is a French reusable rocket launcher developed by Luchaire Défense SA, and manufactured in cooperation with Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint-Étienne and was in the 1970s marketed by Hotchkiss-Brandt. It replaced the 89 mm M20A1 Super Bazooka in French Army service. Through the use of fiberglass and plastic in the launcher it is over 2 kg lighter when loaded than the M20A1 while having a greater effective range. The LRAC FI is sometimes referred to as the STRIM 89mm antitank rocket launcher from the abbreviations for the private firm Société technique de recherches en industries mécaniques that was contracted in 1964 by the French Ministry of Defence, to research a replacement for the M20A1 Super Bazooka. In the early 1970s, two antitank weapons were placed in production for evaluation by the French Army to replace the M20A1: the 80mm ACL-APX, a recoilless cannon with a rocket assist projectile, and the 89mm LRAC F1 STRIM rocket launcher. The STRIM design was chosen as the replacement for the M20A1 based on the higher penetration ability of its antitank ammunition and the much lower overall manufacturing costs compared to the 80mm ACL-APX system.
A LRAC launch tube pictured during an open day in 2009
|Type||Shoulder-launched missile weapon|
|Place of origin||France|
|Designer||Société technique de recherches en industries mécaniques|
|Manufacturer||Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint-Etienne the launcher and Luchaire SA the rocket projectile|
|Mass||5 kg, with sights |
|Length||1.17 metre |
|Rate of fire||3 to 4 rounds per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||295 m/s|
|Effective firing range||300 to 500 metres |
|Maximum firing range||2300 m (at 45° angle)|
|Sights||APX M 290 and passive night telescope|
|LRAC F1 STRIM|
|LRAC F1 Early Photo|
|LRAC F1 with Rocket Projectile (top) AC300 Jupiter (bottom)|
|Details of LRAC F1|
|Cut-Away of 89mm antitank rocket|
|Drawing of antitank rocket and storage/launcher container|
The launcher is normally operated by a crew of two, a loader and a gunner. The launcher is loaded by attaching a rocket container to the rear of the launcher. When the container is attached, the electrical firing circuit is connected. The rocket container is 626 millimetres long and weighs approximately 3.2 kilograms. On the left side of the launcher is the 3× APX M 309 optical sight, which is graduated between 100 and 1,000 metres. The launcher has a shoulder rest and left hand forward grip, both of which may be adjusted to suit the firer. The right hand pistol grip contains a mechanical safety switch and the firing mechanism. When the safety is off, pulling the trigger generates a charge which fires the rocket.
The watertight rear plug of the rocket container is removed just before firing, which closes the firing circuit and allows the rocket to be fired. The rocket is propelled by a large number of long sticks of tubular propellant that produce a constant pressure while burning, providing constant acceleration. The engine burns out before the rocket leaves the launcher at a velocity of approximately 300 metres per second. As soon as the rocket leaves the launcher, nine fins fold backwards from the rear. These fins provide stability for the rocket while it is in flight. There are two safeties. The first is a bore-riding pin located mid-body of the projectile that blocks the warhead firing circuit. After the projectile leaves the tube, the bore-riding pin falls out releasing the second safety which prevents detonation until the rocket has traveled at least 10 metres from the launcher. The rocket reaches a range of 330 metres in about 1.25 seconds, and 360 metres in 1.36 seconds.
The rocket itself weighs 2.2 kilogrammes and has an 89 millimetre diameter shaped charge warhead. The warhead can penetrate 400 millimetres of armour or one metre of concrete at 0 angle impact of the armour plating, and is capable of penetrating NATO single heavy, double medium and double heavy targets while still having enough energy to penetrate multiple 10 millimetre thick steel witness plates.
After firing the rocket container is removed, and a fresh one is reinserted. The launcher has a life of approximately 130 firings, after which the optical sight is removed and the launcher is discarded. The optical sight can then be fitted to a fresh launcher.
A number of other rockets were developed for the launcher, including a dual purpose anti-personnel/anti-vehicle rocket whose warhead contains 1,600 steel balls along with a smaller HEAT antiarmour warhead. The steel balls have a lethal radius of approximately 20 metres and the shaped charge is capable of penetrating up to 100 millimetres of steel plating. A smoke round was developed, that produces smoke for approximately 35 seconds; and an illumination round that produces 300,000 candela for 30 seconds.
Besides the French Army and the Hellenic Army, numerous other armies have the LRAC F1 in service, especially former French colonies in Africa. During the French intervention in Lebanon in 1982-83 many journalists in error reported the LRAC F1 as being the MILAN wire guided antitank missile. Since 2008, the Swedish AT4-CS (confined space) individual antitank weapon and the 600m range ERYX wire guided antitank missile has been replacing the LRAC F1 as the standard French military's short range and ultra-short range anti-tank and assault weapon. However, a few LRACs were used during the Operation Serval in 2013.
- Suermondt, Jan (2004). Illustrated Guide to Combat Weapons. Kent: Grange Books. p. 10.
- Hogg, Ian (1991). Jane's Infantry Weapons 1991–1992. Jane's Information Group. pp. 370–372.
- De 1945 à 1958 : La création de l’industrie missilière Archived 2013-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
- TTA 150 Archived 2010-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, p. 63
- note - AC300 Jupiter was a mid 1980s development of MBB of Germany and Luchaire of France where a MILAN 2 warhead was mounted to an Armbrust launcher, but never placed in production
- Luchaire produces the different rocket projectiles for the LRAC F1 and Manufacture Nationale-d'Armes de Saint Etienne the launcher - both firms are now part of GIAT Industries
- Archer, Denis H R, ed. (1976). Jane's Infantry Weapons (Second Edition) 1976. London: Macdonald and Jane's. pp. 576–578. ISBN 978-0354005319.
- The sight developed for the ACL-APX was adopted for the LRAC F1.
- Jane's Infantry Weapons 1991–1992 gives detail of the penetration as a single heavy target at 65 degrees from the horizontal followed by seven 10 millimetre witness plates, a double heavy target followed by four witness plates, and a double medium target followed by eight witness plates.
- Luchaire in the mid 1980s developed a new antitank rocket that had the astonishing penetration of 600 millimetres of armour plating. But it was not placed in production, as that was still insufficient to defeat the Russian T-62/T-72 main battle tanks in a frontal engagement
- Capdeville, Thibault (Spring 2014). "Infantry units fires during OP Serval" (PDF). Fantassins. No. 32. pp. 55–58.
- Shea, Dan (February 2010). "LRAC F1: 89mm Shoulder Fired Launcher". Small Arms Review. Vol. 13 no. 5.
- Allam-Mi, Ahmad (April 2014). Autour du Tchad en guerre: Tractations politiques et diplomatiques 1975 - 1990 (in French). L'Harmattan. pp. 328, 367. ISBN 978-2-343-03157-6.
- Small Arms Survey (2005). "The Central African Republic: A Case Study of Small Arms and Conflict" (PDF). Small Arms Survey 2005: Weapons at War. Oxford University Press. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-19-928085-8.
- Conboy, Kenneth (24 Jan 1991). South-East Asian Special Forces. Elite 33. Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9781855321069.
- Anthony Cordesman (2016). After The Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle East. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4742-9257-3.
- "World Infantry Weapons: Niger". 2007–2014. Archived from the original on 24 November 2016.CS1 maint: date format (link)
- this Israel-US weapon is similar to the LRAC F1 in concept and design
- while this Russian weapon looks similar to the LRAC F1 in design and concept it is not -- the rocket projectile is loaded like the bazooka of WW2 and Korea
- this former Yugoslavian antitank weapon is the most similar in concept and design to French LRAC F1. Being used by insurgents in Syria in large numbers
- A South African anti-tank weapon derived from the LRAC-F1