ENTAC (ENgin Teleguided Anti-Char, char=tank)
French activity in missiles began in two establishments which had each received an important group of German specialists, technicians and scientists. After the abandonment of the reconstruction of the V 2, in 1947, the staff of Army fixed, in 1948, the guidelines: an anti-tank 1,500 m of scope, a surface-to-air liquid propellant engine having 15 km range (CTCB) and artillery ground - derived from the program. Each institution developed a missile program.
Laboratory research of Saint - Louis (LRSL) had defined, in 1946, a project of (ENgin Teleguided Anti-Char, char=tank), based on the idea of a German, Mr Bender, who had probably known the X 4. The basic principles were similar to those selected for SS 10. The feasibility was dmonstrated in tests in 1952. The program was transferred to the APX (Atelier de construction de Puteaux - construction de Puteaux workshop) for industrialization. A series production was decided by the EMAT in 1956. But, given the advance of the SS 10 (operational in 1955) and to avoid their competition on foreign markets, mass production and the marketing of the ENTAC were entrusted, under license, to Nord-Aviation by the decision of January 19, 1960 signed by general Lavaud, Chief of staff General of the armies.
The ENTAC (ENgin Teleguided Anti-Char, char=tank) was a solid propellant, wire-guided missile for use against enemy tanks, armored combat vehicles, and certain defensive installations, such as bunkers and enemy emplacements. The ENTAC is a remote-controlled guided missile designed specifically for ground-to-ground firings. Weighing less than half as much as the SS-11, ENTAC missiles with associated launching and guidance equipment are relatively easy to transport and prepare for firing from ground positions. The ENTAC had a range of 400 to 2,000 meters. The maximum practical range and velocity of flight are somewhat less for the ENTAC than for the SS-11. Both missiles, however, are based on the same guidance principles and both may be employed against armored vehicles, gun emplacements, roadblocks, and fortifications.
Its features are similar to those of the SS 10 with the following differences: a design more 'ammunition '. a lower mass (12 kg); most important departure acceleration and a range slightly higher (1800 m); a gyroscope to launch cable. This was a excellent missile, compared to the SS 10, but less than the SS 11. The main handicap, compared to SS 10, was the delay of the DEFA for serializability and the marketing. It replaced SS 10, with a production of 120,000 copies from 1958 to 1974, and it was exported to the United States.
Developed by the French Government and produced by Nord Aviation of Paris, France, the ENTAC was especially suitable for use by the infantry since it weighed 37.5 pounds complete with its launcher. The missile was armed with a high explosive shaped charge warhead designed for maximum effectiveness against medium armored vehicles. After firing it from a simple box-like launcher, the infantryman optically tracked the missile, directing it to the target by maneuvering a swivel stick on a control device to give correction command. The commands were transmitted through fine wires played out from the missile as it sped to its target.
In the early 1960s the 90-mm recoilless rifle, M67, was the primary medium antitank assault weapon in the US Army. It was a lightweight portable weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder or from a tripod ground mount. The ENTAC system, when transported by helicopter, furnished the opportunity of establishing mobile ambush points against fluid targets at ranges between 400 and 2000 m; the air-delivered recoilless-rifle crews provide a similar capability against targets at engagement ranges of less than 400 m. The ENTAC system was a sophisticated weapons requiring highly developed skills to operate effectively; the 90-mm recoilless rifle, on the other hand, was a relatively simple weapon requiring little crew training. The ENTAC system was also comparatively bulky, requiring about twice as much helicopter payload space as each 90-mm recoilless rifle team.
After years of experimenting with a series of foreign-made antitank missiles in 1963, the US Army accepted and type classified Standard A the French produced ENTAC (ENgin-Telemechanique - Anti - Char). Subsequently, the Department oT-Army-approved a requirement for a series of antitank weapons of light, medium, and heavy classifications. (At the time, the 3.5-inch rocket launcher was considered the light weapon; the 90-mm recoilless the medium; and the 106-mm recoilless rifle and the ENTAC heavy). By 1970 the light antitank weapon (LAW) was the M72, 66-mm rocket, and a new heavy antitank (HAW), tube-launched, optically tracked, wire command link guided missile (TOW) had replaced the ENTAC. A medium antitank weapon (DRAGON), a wire-guided missile similar to the TOW but man-portable, was service tested in 1972. Once DRAGON was approved type classified, the bulk of the Infantryman's antitank capability will have passed to tube-launched, optically tracked, wireguided missile systems.
- In 1961, the U.S. Army decided to buy the ENTAC to replace another French-built missile, the SS-10. The Missile Command had responsibility for procurement, testing, evaluation, and management of the U.S. ENTAC program. Used by American troops in Vietnam, the ENTAC remained in the U.S. Army inventory until 21 April 1969 when it was declared obsolete. It was replaced by the TOW missile system.
- 15 September-20 October 59 French ENTAC T581 missiles were flight tested by the U.S. Army Rocket & Guided Missile Agency (ARGMA) to determine if further Ordnance interest in the system was warranted.
- 5 April-20 May 60 Phase I limited engineering tests of the ENTAC were conducted at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
- June 60 The ENTAC was recommended to the Office, Chief of Ordnance (OCO) and DA as an antitank system to be procured in FY 1961 for use by the U.S. Army Infantry.
- August 60 The ENTAC evaluation report was completed.
- March 61 Chief of Staff approved the Materiel Requirements Review Committee's recommendation to procure the ENTAC for the Army; the finalized license agreement for the ENTAC; and a comparative cost study of off-shore procurement versus U.S. production.
- 22 March 61 DA decided to procure the ENTAC for the Infantry.
- 13 April 61 The ENTAC system in the ground launch mode was type classified Standard A.
- May 61 Army officially decided to buy the French-designed ENTAC to replace the French SS-1O. The U.S. Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) was given responsibility for the procurement, testing, evaluation, and management of the U.S. ENTAC program.
- 3 May 61 The license agreement covering the U.S. production of the ENTAC was signed with the French government.
- 1 June 61 The completed cost study of off-shore procurement versus U.S. production was forwarded by ARGMA through AOMC to the OCO.
- 16 June 61 A contract with the French government for the procurement of ENTAC missiles, launch/guidance sets, and simulators was signed.
- 19 June 61 ENTAC missiles were launched by ARGMA in preliminary firing tests to determine the launch feasibility from a forward moving vehicle.
- 14 September 61 OCO informed AOMC that the ENTAC system would be mounted on the M-151 quarter-ton truck.
- January 62 New equipment training on the ENTAC for key military and civilian personnel began at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
- 4 April 62 OCO approved a research and development program to standardize the ENTAC mounted on the M-151 Jeep.
- 1963 ENTAC missiles were scheduled for delivery to high-priority U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard units.
- 16 October 63 AMC informed MICOM that further planning for ENTAC procurement after the FY 1964 buy was canceled. This decision was based on the projected availability of the TOW system during the second quarter of FY 1968. Procurement of the M-151 Jeep adaption kits was also deleted from the program.
- 26 July 65 The first 3-week ENTAC guided missile class was initiated at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
- June 66 France completed delivery of all ENTAC missiles under provisions of the 16 June 61 contract with the United States. No further procurement of ENTAC hardware was planned.
- 1968 The ENTAC was prepared for phaseout. A brochure was designed to advertise excess materiel for any Government use prior to disposal
- 19 June 68 MICOM forwarded a request for type classification of the ENTAC as obsolete.
- 21 April 69 ENTAC system type classified as obsolete. It was replaced by the TOW missile system.
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