JR Potts, AUS 173d AB (Updated: 7/22/2016):
Development of the AMX-10RC began in 1970 and the first prototype was made available in 1971.Production began sometime in 1976 with the first systems completed by 1978. This culminated in over 540 examples being produced for the French Army and Foreign Legion as well as overseas customers. Deliveries to the French military began in 1981. The French military were involved in worldwide conflicts such as those in Chad during Operation Manta (1983) the Ivory Coast, Morocco, the Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm (1991) and in support of UN operations in Kosovo and the then-new AMX-10RC was readily deployed to these hotspots.
The vehicle is operated by a standard crew of four personnel made up of the commander, driver, gunner and loader. With the exception of the driver the crew is housed in the turret which itself is covered over in reinforced aluminum and fits the primary weapon - a GIAT 105mm main gun. The commander is seated with the gunner to the right while the loader is to their left. The driver is conventionally situated at the front left of the forward hull under the glacis plate and is afforded good vision to the front quarters of the vehicle.
Six large, equal sized rubber tires characterize the AMX-10RC design and give the AMX-10RC the off-road performance comparable to that of a tracked vehicle. When traversing cross-country, the soil consistency undoubtedly changes so the AMX-10RC's wheels are designed to be adjustable "on-the-fly" by way of variable air pressure system afforded to each individual tire system and controlled by the driver. Additionally, if two of the tires are destroyed in subsequent actions, the vehicle can continue to function on the remaining four - albeit at less than the listed 53 mile per hour maximum speed. The vehicle's range (under optimum conditions) is a reported 559 miles on two internal fuel tanks carrying up to 520 gallons. The AMX-10RC sports an excellent turning radius for a vehicle of this class thanks to the anti-skid steering system and individual tire turning control. An automatic transmission helps the driver switch gears quickly in rough terrain as well as during combat situations. The engine is mounted in the rear of the hull with the transmission system.
On the modern battlefield, the AMX-10RC can cross over a 1.7 meter ditch and traverse vertical obstacles up to 0.8 meters tall. With an upgraded hydropneumatic suspension, a 50% vertical slope can be overcome as can a 30% side slope. When approaching a river she can switch to two integrated waterjets to help with traction and propulsion when fording rivers and streams - this constitutes her adequate amphibious capabilities.
Primary armament is centered on the GIAT 105mm main gun. This large caliber weapon is of note for many armored cars seldom feature such an offensive punch. In comparison, the first production versions of the American M1 Abrams main battle tank was fitted with a similar 105mm main gun before updating to the more potent 120mm system. The fact that the AMX-10RC makes due with a 105mm main gun is trouble for other armored cars, armored vehicles and even main battle tanks she might cross in action. The muzzle is capped by a double-baffle muzzle brake.