Chad Table of Contents
FANT's unique combat requirements have dictated equipment policies. These requirements include the capability to shift troops and equipment across vast distances over rough desert tracks, along with the need for cross-country movement to avoid mines and to achieve surprise. In 1987 superior maneuverability and swiftly applied firepower enabled FANT to offset Libya's heavier armor and to reduce the danger of counterattacks from the air. To achieve mobility, FANT favored light armored vehicles and four-wheel drive pickup trucks. The main armored vehicles were French-manufacture Panhards mounted with 90mm guns and supplemented by several V-150 Cadillac Gage Commandos manufactured in the United States. The principal antitank weapons were 106mm and 112mm recoilless rifles and the French Milan missile mounted on trucks especially designed for desert operations. The FANT arms inventory was greatly augmented in late 1986 and early 1987 by military aid from France and the United States. The aid included additional Panhard armored vehicles, two-and-one-half ton all-terrain trucks, fresh stocks of French and American antitank missiles, and American-built jeeps. Toyota pickup trucks were purchased separately (see table 8, Appendix A).
Surface-to-air missile defense consisted primarily of the United States-supplied shoulder-launched Redeye and Soviet SA-7s captured from Libya. In late 1987, it was reported that the United States planned to supply the more advanced Stinger as well. In the late 1980s, France had provided equipment and training for an air defense platoon of Panhard armored vehicles mounted with radar and 20mm cannons.
Small arms carried by individual soldiers had been obtained from a variety of sources. The weapons included Soviet-origin Kalashnikov rifles, the American M-14, the Belgian FAL, the Swiss SIG-Manurhin, the French MAT-49, and some Israeli Uzis, as well as many rifles of World War II vintage.
The series of victories over Libyan forces in 1987 resulted in a vast accumulation of armor, weapons, and aircraft, much of it in good operating condition. The captured matériel included tracked and wheeled armored vehicles, rocket launchers, antiaircraft radar systems, light aircraft, helicopters, and pickup trucks (see table 9, Appendix A). It was uncertain to what extent this arsenal could be effectively introduced into FANT in view of the operating expense and maintenance burden, not to mention the need for training personnel in the use of a variety of complex weapons systems. Some Chadian army commanders were opposed to employing heavy armored equipment because of its unsuitability to combat conditions in Chad and to the tactics that had proved so successful for FANT. Others were said to be intrigued with the idea of developing an armored element based on tanks.
Data as of December 1988