Country of origin
1 168 mm
1 600 mm
Rate of fire
1 000 m
Range of effective fire (against moving tanks)
Range of effective fire (against static tanks)
The LRAC F1
("Lance-Roquettes AntiChar de 89 mm modèle F1") is a French
anti-tank rocket launcher developed in the 1960s by Luchaire (which
is now part of Nexter). It is a trend-setting weapon system for its
class, which remains in widespread service to this day. The LRAC F1
has also been referred to by various publications as the LRAC 89,
LRAC-89 F1, and STRIM 89, which often leads to confusion.
Development of what would become the LRAC F1 began in 1964,
when the French Minister of Defense assigned the STRIM (Societe
Techique de Recherches Industrielles et Mechanique) organization to
develop a new man-portable anti-tank weapon to replace the M20A1
Super Bazooka. STRIM devised two potential candidates, and submitted
them to the French Army; the LCD-APX 80 mm recoilless rifle, and the
LRAC 89 mm rocket launcher. The LRAC was clearly the better
performer, as it proved both much cheaper and more powerful, and was
it was quickly selected as the winning design. Development of the
production model was contracted to Luchaire Defense SA, who
eventually became the manufacturer of the weapon's ammunition, while
the launcher was produced by Manufacture Nationale of arms of
Saint-Etienne (both of these firms later merged into what is now
Nexter). Production of export model LRACs was delegated to
Hotchkiss-Brandt. Deliveries to the French armed forces began in the
early 1970s, and the weapon was formally adopted as the LRAC F1 in
The LRAC F1 was the first anti-tank rocket launcher to
incorporate a launch container into its design. Essentially, the
containers in which the projectiles are transported in the field
themselves are the ammunition, and attaching the launch container to
the breech of the forward section of the launcher forms the complete
weapon; when fitted as such, the launch container is effectively the
aft half of the barrel, with a fresh round already loaded into it.
This enables a single soldier to operate the weapon quickly and
easily, and with a high rate of fire, as the launcher is simply
tipped forward in front of him, the launch container is plugged into
the breech and screwed-in, and the launcher is shouldered. This
innovation was adopted many subsequent anti-tank rocket launchers,
such as the
RPG-29, and the M79 (which should not be confused with the
grenade launcher), and allows such weapons to be easily employed
by forces for whom volume and weight are at an even greater premium
than with regular infantry, such as paratroopers and special forces.
The launcher is cylindrical, with a shallow bracket on the
muzzle, and much heavier brackets on the midsection and breech. The
rear section of the launcher has a shallow conical shape, which is
easy to overlook, and is sometimes wrapped with a black insulation
sleeve. The main pistol grip, trigger group, and sight mounting
aperture are located on the middle bracket; the sight is mounted on
the left side of the weapon, though it is not always fitted to the
weapon while it is being carried. The shoulder rest is L-shaped with
a curved rubber pad on the underside, and extends below a rail
located between the middle and rear bracket. A retractable A-shaped
monopod is built into the vertical post of the shoulder rest, which
provides additional stability to the launcher while aiming it from a
sitting, kneeling, or prone position. The foregrip is shaped vaguely
like a pistol magazine, and is folded against the launcher when not
in use. The muzzle is covered with a black rubber cap when while the
weapon is being transported. Two sling swivels are mounted on the
right side of the barrel, one directly between the middle and breech
brackets, and one directly between the middle and muzzle bracket.
The launcher's color is usually dark green, olive, or sand, but they
have sometimes been produced in custom colors for export, or
construction of the LRAC F1 consists primarily of lightweight
materials, with a reinforced fiberglass launch tube, an aluminum
bore liner, an aluminum monopod, and grips consisting mostly of
plastics and hollow stamped metal structures. It is still a
relatively hefty weapon though, weighing-in at 5.5 kg unloaded,
though it is also 2 kg lighter than the M20A1 Super Bazooka it was
developed to replace. The ammunition containers are made mostly of
fiberglass, with plastic protective caps and removable covers.
The ammunition containers are cylindrical and usually painted
the same color as the launcher. They have black hard rubber shock
absorbers that are octagonal in shape; one each on the removable
covers on each end, and one on the middle that is bonded directly to
The projectile itself is cylindrical, with a slightly flared
warhead, and a steep conical nose. It is 600 mm long (the container
is 626 mm long), has a diameter of 89 mm, and weighs 2.2 kg, 0.3 kg
of which is its fuel. A radial cluster of 9 short and narrow fins
are located around the base of the projectile, each of which
springs-out from its own slot when the projectile is launched. A
flat circular rivet on top serves as a guide pin as the projectile
travels the barrel, to prevent it from rotating (as the projectile
is entirely drag-stabilized, and angular momentum from rotation
would disrupt its accuracy).
The primary sight for the LRAC F1 is the APX M 309, a 3x
telescopic sight. The APX M 309 has a ladder-style reticule and a
sighting range of 100 m to 1 000 m, in 100 m increments. The APX
M290 sight has the same range, but also a passive night vision
capability. A simple pop-up sight is also built into the launcher,
as an emergency measure for when the optical sights are damaged or
To operate the weapon, the user must first remove the plug
from the breech of the weapon, which also doubles as a container for
the sights; the sight is then attached to its mounting bracket, a
firing position is assumed, and the plastic cover for the muzzle is
removed. The front cap is then removed from the ammunition
container, and it is loaded into the breech until firmly seated,
then rotated clockwise until it locks into place. Simply loading the
container connects the rocket to the electrical launch circuit,
which is completed by then removing the rear cap from the container.
The safety is disengaged by squeezing the front and rear halves of
the pistol grip together, and the weapon is then fired by pulling
the trigger. The projectile's fuel burns quickly, and is expended by
the time it leaves the launcher; it covers a distance of 330 m only
1.23 seconds after launch. The standard rate of fire for a 2-man
team is 2 rounds per minute. Maximum rate is up to 4 rounds per
may be fired from a standing, kneeling, or prone position. When
firing from prone, the LRAC F1 must be turned 60 degrees off-axis
from the user and spotter, to avoid injuring them with the backblast.
The first combat use of the LRAC F1 was by French forces
during their mid-1970s interventions in Chad and Zaire, and they
later employed it in combat during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
International troops operating in Africa have occasionally been
attacked by paramilitary forces armed with LRAC F1s. Little
information had been published on the actual combat actions the LRAC
F1 was used in, but it is considered combat-proven.
As the LRAC F1 is an anti-tank weapon first and foremost, its
production was phased-out in the early 1990s, and it was gradually
removed frontline service with the French armed forces in favor of
short-range anti-tank guided missile and the
recoilless rifle. Attempts were later made to re-purpose the LRAC F1
for avalanche removal, but its range was found to be insufficient.
and present operators of the LRAC F1 include Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti,
France, Gabon, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Malaysia,
Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, and
Zaire. Though due to its age, the ammunition stocks in several of
these nations has already exceeded its expiration date. Several LRAC
F1s stored in South African National Defense Force's armories were
found to be missing in 2010, and are still missing.
The LRAC F1 and its ammunition are no longer in production or
development, but both are readily available as they have widely
charge anti-armor warhead, capable of penetrating 400 mm RHAe or 1
300 mm of concrete. It arms at a distance of 9-11 m from the muzzle.
MP: Multi-purpose HE warhead, loaded with 1600 steel pellets.
Has a lethal radius of 20 m, and also penetrates up to 100 mm RHAe.
Smoke: White phosphorous round that emits a billowing, opaque
smoke cloud for up to 35 seconds.
Illum: Illuminating warhead containing a flare, which burns
with a brightness of 300 000 candela for 30 seconds.
More powerful 105 mm version of the LRAC F1, developed as a private
venture by Thomson-Brandt.
Israeli rocket launcher with an extremely similar layout. It has
often been reported to be a copy of the LRAC F1, but while it could
be said that the design philosophy is identical, there are no common
components in the B-300 (its ammunition is also a very different 82
Mk.153 SMAW: Licensed US variant of the B-300, which also
proliferated to other nations. The numerous design alterations
entail that while it looks almost identical to the B-300 at first
glance, its parts and ammunition are not interchangeable; this may
be why its ammunition is officially designated as "83 mm".
FT5: South African anti-tank rocket launcher developed by
ARMSCOR, as a hasty successor to the LRAC F1. This weapon has also
been falsely assumed as a "knock-off" of the LRAC F1, but it has a
much larger 99 mm bore.
DARD 120: This obscure French anti-tank rocket launcher is a
scaled-up 120 mm version of the APILAS, but in a reloadable
configuration similar to the LRAC F1. It is significantly larger
than the LRAC F1.
M79 Osa: Yugoslav anti-tank rocket launcher with a
conspicuously similar design. It looks almost exactly like the LRAC
F1 at first glance, but fires a different 90 mm rocket.
RPO Rys: Soviet rocket-propelled flamethrower with a similar
layout to the LRAC F1, but a much larger overall size, an 89 mm
bore, and a very different rocket with an incendiary warhead.
RPG-29 Vampir: Soviet anti-tank rocket launcher with a similar
layout to the LRAC F1, but a much larger 105 mm bore.
Chinese anti-tank rocket launcher with a 120 mm bore. Currently its
one of the world’s largest shoulder-fired rocket launchers.
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