Wire-Guided Anti-Tank (AT) Missile Launcher
The MBDA ERYX emerged during the mid-1990s as a frontline anti-armor weapon for forward-operating infantry elements.
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Because of the proliferation of stubbornly-armored combat vehicles on the modern battlefield, it behooved world powers to stay one step ahead in developing armor-defeating solutions. This was the case with the French Army which adopted the ERYX short-ranged, man-portable/vehicle-mounted Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system. The tripod-supported weapon was introduced in 1994 and maintains an ongoing presence in the French Army inventory (and elsewhere) today.
Design work on the ERYX spanned from the early 1980s into the early 1990s with production following under the MBDA brand label. The system was developed as a successor to the aging LRAC F1 series of reusable, shoulder-launched systems which fired an 89mm rocket. The ERYX was developed with a larger 137mm missile in mind that featured a tandem HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) warhead with penetration up to 900mm of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA). The detonating component of the missile was seated at the rear section of the missile's body allowing it the proper detonation distance from the impacting nose cone, particularly when dealing with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks. The missile was also given a "dual-role" battlefield capability that allowed it to be used against concrete fortifications as a "bunker buster", defeating walls up to 2.5 meters thick.
The ERYX missile holds an operational range out to 600 meters and is restricted by the wire-guided design which requires the operator to "guide" the missile to the target for the missile's entire flight envelope (through line-of-sight only). This arrangement is known as "SACLOS" - Semi-Automatic Command to Line-of-Sight and does away with the expense and complexity in design of self-guided missiles favored by other militaries.
Despite its entry in 1994, was not operationally fielded until the United Nations commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban government. French forces have fielded their ERYX units in their ongoing commitment in Mali against Islamist extremists.
Currently (2015), the ERYX maintains an active presence in the inventories of Brazil, Canada, France, Malaysia, Norway, and Turkey. Canadian examples are set to be removed from service in 2016. The product is produced in Turkey (under license) by MKEK and has been used to succeed an aging stock of rocket launchers that included the Soviet-era RPG-7 series.
An enhanced version - known simply as "Enhanced ERYX" was showcased in late 2009 to potential export parties.