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Eryx short-range anti-armour missile system
Eryx is a short-range anti-armour missile system for use by forward infantry and special forces on all terrains and in confined spaces, eg. urban areas. It is produced by MBDA (formerly Aerospatiale-Matra Missiles) of Chatillon, France and by Aerospatiale Canada.
In 1989, France and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to co-produce the Eryx missile system as a joint venture and it entered service in 1994.
Over 50,000 missiles and 3,200 firing posts have been ordered with 25,000 missiles and 1,600 firing posts produced.
The system is in service with the armies of France, Canada, Norway, Brazil and Malaysia.
Eryx anti-armour missile orders and deliveries
Canada has received 435 firing posts and 4,500 missiles, France has more than 400 firing posts and 4,700 missiles and Norway 424 firing posts and 7,200 missiles. Eryx has also been ordered by an undisclosed member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates). Deliveries began in April 1999.
In 1999, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with France for licensed production of 10,000 Eryx missiles for the Turkish army, over a ten-year period. In May 2004, the Turkish Ministry of National Defence announced a decision to cancel the project.
In December 2006, MBDA received a contract from the French DGA defence procurement agency for the delivery of a number of Eryx missiles for the French Army and Marines. The missiles are top be delivered between 2008 and 2011.
Eryx is effective against static and moving tanks fitted with all types of armour including ERA (explosive reactive armour) from 50m up to a maximum range of 600m. It is also capable of defeating structures such as concrete bunkers and earthworks. MBDA state that the missile has hit 95% of targets over the last 1,000 practice firings.
Eryx missile system
The Eryx system consists of the missile and launch tube and the firing unit. The system can be either shoulder-launched or from a prone position when mounted on the tripod.
The Eryx missile is wire-guided, optically tracked with semi-automatic command to line-of-sight (SACLOS) guidance. Fitted in the tail of the missile is an infrared beacon, which emits pulses detected by the sight unit. Course corrections are sent via the wire, which is unspooled as the missile is in flight. The missile is thrust vector controlled, which is efficient even at low speed and allows the launching to be achieved using a small propulsion unit. This allows ‘soft launch’ in enclosed spaces. The rocket motor is manufactured by Roxel France (formerly Celerg), jointly owned by MBDA and SNPE and based at Le Plessis, France.
The missile is ready to fire in under five seconds. During flight (4.3 seconds to 600m), the gunner only has to maintain the sight on the target. Missile speed is 18m/sec at launch, accelerating to 245m/sec at 600m. Up to five missiles can be fired in two minutes. The missile is armed with a 137mm tandem, shaped-charge high-explosive (HE) warhead capable of penetrating up to 900mm of explosive reactive armour.
The Mirabel thermal imager has been developed for the Eryx missile system by Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF) Optronique of Guyancourt, France, and AlliedSignal Aerospace Canada Inc (now Thales Optronics Canada), of Montreal, Canada.
Mirabel’s modular design allows it to be clipped on to the system’s existing direct view optic sight without any need for boresight alignment.
The thermal imager has a field of view of 8 x 6° and it operates in the long-wave (8-12 microns) infrared spectral band. Weight is 3.5kg.
In June 2008, MBDA placed an order with Sagem Defense Securite for 300 new-generation thermal imagers for Eryx firing posts. The new long waveband sight uses uncooled micro-bolometer technology and has a 320×240 focal plane array with a recognition range of more than 600m. It weighs 2.8kg.
Basic training for the Eryx can be conducted using the Eryx Interactive Gunnery Simulator (EVIGS), produced by Simtran, Montreal, Canada.
For advanced training, Solartron Systems, a division of Lockheed Martin Information Systems, Orlando, Florida, have developed the Eryx Precision Gunnery Simulator (EPGS), an outdoor laser-based trainer. EPGS has been selected by the Canadian Army to provide precision gunnery training for the Eryx system, with a requirement for 54 systems.
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