The Véhicule de Combat Anti-Char, or MEPHISTO () was a pivotal chapter in the French military's anti-tank capabilities. Developed and introduced in the 1970s, with the first prototypes emerging around 1978, the MEPHISTO represents a significant leap forward in anti-armour warfare. Armed with the formidable HOT (Haut Subsonique Optiquement Téléguidé Tiré d'un Tube) anti-tank missile, the MEPHISTO serves as a versatile and potent anti-tank armoured platform. The integration of the HOT missile system onto the turret provides precise and long-range engagement capabilities against armoured threats, ensuring the protection of the platform. This historical timeline showcases France's commitment to arming its military with cutting-edge technologies, enabling it to effectively counter armoured adversaries and adapt to evolving battlefield dynamics.
It was introduced in Update "Danger Zone". The MEPHISTO is a powerful combat asset with advanced capabilities tailored for anti-armour warfare. Armed with the potent HOT anti-tank missile system, it possesses a long-range precision-strike capability against armoured targets, neutralizing threats from a safe distance. The platform's elevated panoramic observation system grants unmatched situational awareness through advanced targeting equipment, facilitating precise target identification even in challenging conditions. With a fully rotatable turret, the MEPHISTO adapts to dynamic combat scenarios by engaging threats from various angles. The synergy of the HOT missile system and panoramic observation ensures accurate engagement. Its modular design allows integration onto diverse armoured vehicles (such as the SANTAL), this version enhancing anti-armour capabilities while prioritizing crew safety with unmanned weapon systems. In combat, the MEPHISTO empowers the commander to confidently engage enemy armour, maintaining a tactical edge through its combined range, flexibility, and precision. This comprehensive system embodies France's dedication to sophisticated anti-armour platforms, bolstering the success of modern warfare operations.
Survivability and armour
As with all French wheeled vehicles, the armour is little to none, and the MEPHISTO is no an exception. The hull barely has the armour to survive hits from 12.7 mm machine guns and in some places even 7.62 mm. The armour is not to be relied on due to the fact that even artillery fragmentation can pose a significant threat to the platform. However, due to the crew spacing, the first half of the crew being at the front and the other half far behind, both pairs being separated by the engine block, makes the MEPHISTO capable of surviving more than one hit from the side as long as the shot is not placed in the centre of mass with explosive filler. However, the best armour is to not be seen in the first place.
The optics are located on top of a pole in the middle, the turret shifts and turns around it. Although the launcher itself is a bit curvy and may bounce extremely inaccurate shots, the pole isn't. The sheer size of the launcher provokes many enemies to use HE shells on it. During reload, the optics remain exposed, so the MEPHISTO requires tall cover at all the times to avoid being annihilated by chemical shells.
The smoke launchers on the MEPHISTO fire in every direction and the grenades explode mid-air, effectively hiding it from anything immediately, allowing the operator to use them as a panic button. They can be used twice.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Front (Slope angle)
| 8 mm (27°) Top
8 mm (74°) Upper glacis
8 mm (45°) Lower glacis
| 8 mm (28°) Top
8 mm (12°) Bottom
|8 mm (7°)
|5 mm Turret front
|8 mm (cylindrical)
Mobility-wise, the MEPHISTO leaves nothing to be desired. It is a fast and agile platform with a very high top speed. However, like other wheeled vehicles, it lacks traction in muddy and snowy terrain, draining the speed significantly. It can reach up to -14 km/h in reverse. It holds a significantly amazing acceleration and an amazing turn rate as the short length and both axle turn make it capable to do a full 360° turn in ~4-8 seconds depending on terrain. The MEPHISTO is also fully amphibious, meaning it can cross and reach specific places in the maps inaccessible to other vehicles.
|Max Speed (km/h)
|Engine power (horsepower)
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Modifications and economy
The MEPHISTO ('Module Élévateur Panoramique Hot Installé Sur Tourelle Orientable', French for "elevated panoramic HOT launch module on rotating turret") is the primary weapon mount. It is able to fire four HOT or HOT-2 missiles in a rapid succession. HOT missiles are nothing new to French commanders, and they have proven to be very capable in combat. It is a similar system as the TUA ('TOW Under Armour') seen in the M901 but with differences. While it is able to hold double the amount of much more capable missiles, the reload rate can be considerably slower due to the slower turret traverse and reload rate. However, the turret will start reloading immediately after launching the last ATGM (preventing it from being a liability as well), as the optics are not bound to it, so it balances out at a long range. Unfortunately, it's impossible to guide multiple missiles at once with this carrier, so it is preferable to hide the launcher behind something during combat.
The HOT-2 is significantly stronger than missiles of light tanks when it comes to penetration, but lacks tandem charge or utility. It will likely still fail to penetrate the turrets of NERA or ERA protected tanks, unless angled into them at the last moment, but anything else has a significantly lesser chance of miraculously surviving a direct hit.
The MEPHISTO has an advantage over some missile carriers, as the missile launcher does not have to be deployed before firing and it, as well as the optics, is two-plane stabilized, meaning it is possible to quickly brake and engage a target without the need of reacquiring the target, or to threaten enemy tank with a missile launch and to continue moving while guiding the shot, unlike with the AMX-30 ACRA. The stabilizer also proves to be beneficial when on water, as the waves can make the launcher bounce.
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)
|Reloading rate (seconds)
The HOT-2 has a larger warhead and a higher penetration than the HOT. It should be the preferred ammunition as soon as it has been unlocked.
| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
Usage in battles
The only reliable playstyle for the MEPHISTO is hull-down. In a battle, this vehicle is best played behind a rock, so that rounds won't dip and hit the main chassis. If this is not possible, try to find a ridge to hide behind or a depression in the terrain. Since your launcher is the only thing exposed, expect for your launcher to get hit and receive a 10-second repair. (Note for stock vehicles, you will still be able to fire). Some players will be smarter and will shoot HESH rounds at you, the splash damage will be enough to either overpressure or knock out the rest of the tank. Since you only have 12 missiles (4 in the launcher, 8 stowed away) you will have to be patient and skilled at using this missile. If in the right hands, it is incredibly strong and can hold an important spot and single-handedly deny the enemy any chance of taking an area. This will reward you numerous targets destroyed, as well as gaining numerous points from people shooting at the launcher.
However, there are a couple of issues. The missile can only be fired when stationary, though the launcher remains deployed even if moving at very high speeds. The reload also requires the launcher to traverse round towards the rear of the vehicle and further lengthening the reload. One way to combat this is to have the rear end of the vehicle towards the target, therefore reducing the time taken to traverse the launcher back to the firing position.
Pros and cons
- Amazing mobility and handling
- Stronger than average ATGMs
- 4 shots per reload
- Gen 2 thermals
- Amphibious capabilities
- 360 degrees aerosol smoke protection with two uses
- Long reload, can only reload after spending all 4 missiles (but reloads all of them at once)
- Paper-thin armour, very tall and is always exposed to explosive shells
- Can be jammed by IRCM
- The HOT-2 is just a bit short of power to penetrate turrets of tanks like IPM1 reliably
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- AFT09 - a very similar missile carrier from China
|France tank destroyers
|Lorraine 40t derivatives
|CA Lorraine · Lorraine 155 Mle.50
|AMR.35 ZT3 · Lorraine 37L · SAu 40 · ARL-44 · ELC bis · AMX-50 Foch · AuF1
|▄M10 GMC · ▄M36B2