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The AMX-13 was a Frenchmarker light tank produced from 1953 to 1985. It served with the French Army and was exported to over twenty-five other nations. Named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes, and featuring a tough and reliable chassis, it was fitted with an unusual and troublesome tilting GIAT turret with revolver type magazines which was also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. Including prototypes and export versions there are over a hundred variants including self-propelled gun, anti-aircraft systems, APC, and TOW/ATGM versions. It is estimated that total production of the AMX-13 family was 7,700 units, of which around 3,400 were exported.


The tank was designed at the Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux in 1946 to meet a requirement for an air-portable vehicle to support paratroopers, the first prototype ran from 1948. The compact chassis had torsion bar suspension with five roadwheels and two return rollers; the engine runs the length of the tank on the right side with the driver on the left. It features an uncommon two-part 'oscillating' turret where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. The turret is set to the rear of the vehicle and holds the commander and gunner. The original 75 mm gun, modelled on the German 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 gun (used, among others, in the Panther tank), was fed with an automatic loading system in two six-round magazines. A weakness of the small size meant the magazines were mounted externally (also for safety reasons), thus requiring them to be reloaded outside the vehicle.

Production began at ARE (Atelier de Construction Roanne) from 1952, with the first tanks delivered the following year. In 1964 production was transferred to Creusot-Loire at Chalon-sur-Saone, as the ARE moved to building the AMX 30 MBT, and the numbers produced declined significantly.

In 1966 the standard gun was increased to 90 mm (the AMX-13/90) and the French upgraded all existing base models to this specification. Although there were many variants on the turret the basic chassis was almost unchanged until 1985 when changes including a new diesel engine, fully automatic transmission and a new hydropneumatic suspension were introduced.

Production halted with the Model 1987. After sales support and upgrades are still offered through GIAT Industries.

The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1970s. Current French armoured vehicles with a similar role are the ERC 90 Sagaie and the AMX 10 RC.

Additional characteristics

  • Ground clearance: 370 mm
  • Fording: 600 mm
  • Vertical obstacle 650 mm
  • Trench: 1.6 m
  • Gradient 60%
  • Side slope: 60%
  • NBC system: None
  • Night vision: Optional



Char AMX-13 (2A): Prototype with 4 roadwheels and trailing idler
Char AMX-13 (2B): Prototype with 5 roadwheels and raised idler
Char AMX-13 (2C): Prototype with FL-10 turret and two support rollers
Char AMX-13 (2D): Prototype with 4 support rollers
Char AMX-13 (2E): Prototype with 3 support rollers and 90 mm gun
Char AMX-13 (2F): Prototype with 2 support rollers and, later, a thermal sleeve


AMX-13: Some initial vehicles were fitted with the turret of the M24 Chaffee
AMX-13 [DTT]: Initial vehicles with the turret of the M24 Chaffee converted into a driver training tank. Gun removed.
AMX-13/75 Modèle 51: High-velocity 75 mm Gun in FL-11 turret as installed in Panhard EBR armoured car and 2 top rollers
AMX-13/75 Modèle 51: High-velocity 75 mm Gun in FL-11 turret and 4 top rollers and revised stowage
AMX-13 T75 (Char Lance SS-11): Fitted with SS-11 ATGM launchers
AMX-13 T75 avec TCA: Fitted with an electronic guidance system for the missiles
AMX-13/90 Modèle 52: FL-10 turret refitted with the F3 90 mm gun
AMX-13/90 LRF: Fitted with laser rangefinder
AMX-13/105 Modèle 58: Fitted with 105 Gun mm in FL-12 turret (used by the Argentine Army and the Netherlandsmarker)
AMX-13/105: Upgraded export version of the Modele 58 with thermal sleeve and revised hull front
AMX-13 Model 1987: Late production version
AMX-DCA aka AMX-13/S530: SPAAG version armed with two HS 831 30 mm cannons
AMX-DCA 30 aka Bitube de 30 mm anti-aérien automoteur, Oeil Noir: SPAAG version with retractable radar fitted, 60 delivered between 1969 and late 80s
AMX-13 [Training Tank]: AMX-13 with turret removed and used for driver training
AMX-13 Modèle 55 (AMX-D): Recovery version
AMX-13 PDP (Poseur De Pont) Modèle 51: Scissors-type bridgelayer

Modernisation packages

Cockerill 90 mm Regunning Packaging: 90 mm upgunning package
Giat Industries upgrade with a Baudouin 6F 11 SRY diesel engine and an upgraded turret.
Giat Industries Add-on Armour package installed on turret front/sides and glacis plate
NIMDA Upgrade Package: Israeli retrofit package

National variants

AMX-13/FL-12 [Modernised] by the Netherlands: Fitted with searchlight and FN MAG machine-guns
AMX-13/FL-15: Dutch FL12 version refitted with an FL-15 Turret
AMX-13S: Rebuild of standard AMX-13 by Singaporemarker prior to SM-1 upgrade
AMX-13SM1 (Singapore Modernised 1): Singaporean upgrade with modern communications, original petrol engine replaced by a diesel engine, improved transmissions & suspensions system, laser range-finder and night vision elbow upgrade by ST Kinetics. The 75 mm main gun remain unchanged.
Leichter Panzer 51: Swiss Army version
AMX-13PA5 "Escorpion" and AMX-13PA8 "Escorpion-2": Rebuild of standard AMX-13/105 by Diseños Casanave a Peruvian Company, with modern communications, and 4 9M14-2T missiles; new version AMX-13PA8 with "DANTE FCS" (ballistic computer/laser range-finder/night vision/CCTV system) and four ucranian laser guided "Barrier R-2" antitank missiles, and 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine-guns for Peruvianmarker Army
AMX-13V: CLI upgraded AMX-13/90 for Venezuelanmarker Army
AMX-13 [LAR-160]: Venezuelan MLRS version armed with IMI LAR-160 mm. rockets
AMX-13M51 Ráfaga: Venezuelan Army's AA version armed with two 40 mm cannons mounted on an M-4E1 turret

Other prototypes

AMX-13 avec tourelle: A14 Fitted with German HS-30 turret
AMX-13: Fitted with 105 mm howitzer barrel
AMX-13/75 (AMX-13e): Experimental variant with short-barreled 75 mm in FL-11 turret
Char AMX-13 avec Canon 57 L/100: Prototype with special gun
AMX-13 Twin 20 mm in welded turret without bustle
Char 48FCM: AKA Char 12T FCM, DCA de Quatre Canons de 20 mm—4 x 20 mm cannon in FL-4 turret
DCA de 40 mm: AKA Char 13T DCA a 40 mm Bofors L/70 gun in large faceted turret
AMX-13 GTI: Improved suspension by Krauss-Maffei
AMX-13 THS: Prototype fitted with hydrostatic transmission
AMX-13: Fitted with Rapace 14 MBRL
AMX-13 HOT: Fitted with HOT ATGM launchers

APC Variants

The AMX-13 was the basis of a family of APCs beginning with the AMX-VTT and culminating with the AMX-VCI. The APC chassis was itself the basis of a number of variants.

105 mm Self Propelled Howitzer

AMX Mk 61 (AMX-105A), Automoteur de 105 du AMX-13 en casemate: 105 mm casemate SP
AMX Mk 61 [Netherlands]: Dutch Army version with 30 calibre howitzer and Browning commander's MG
AMX Mk 62 (AMX-105B): Prototype with 105 mm howitzer in a turret
AMX Mk 63 (AMX-105B, AMX Mk F2): Prototype of Mk 62 with MG cupola fitted to turret

155 mm Self Propelled Howitzer

AMX Mk F3 (Obusier de 155 mm sur affut automoteur AMX-13 T, AMX-155): 155 mm SPH


M24/AMX-13: AMX-13 turret on M24 Chaffee hull
M4 Sherman fitted with AMX-13 turret, used by Egyptmarker

Photo Gallery

Image:AMX-13 (SM-1).jpg|The Singapore Army's AMX-13/SM-1 (Singapore Modernised 1).Image:AMX-13 ALB.jpg|The Singapore Army's AMX-13 Armour Launched Bridge (ALB).Image:Amx13 dca 018.jpg|AA version of the AMX 13Image:Amx13 dca.jpg|AA version of the AMX 13Image:Amx13 ss11 010.jpg|anti-tank missile-launcher version of the AMX 13Image:Amx13 porte-pont 016.jpg|bridgelayer version of the AMX 13Image:Amx13-105 auto 122.jpg|Artillery version (105mm) of the AMX 13Image:AMX-VCI-latrun-2.jpg|AMX VCI.


Current Users

  • - 24 AMX Mk F3 155 mm self-propelled howitzer version
  • - 12
  • - 5
  • - 12
  • - ?
  • - 102
  • - 275
  • - ?
  • - 409 AMX-VCI
  • - ?
  • - 110
  • - 350 AMX-13/SM1 (ex-IDF machines, locally upgraded and modernised)
  • - ?
  • - 36 AMX-13C.90

Former Users

  • - ?
  • - ?
  • - 58 tanks not in use, to be replaced by the VC Patagon (a tank with an AMX turret mounted on a SK-105 Kurassier chassis).
  • - ?
  • - ?
  • - 15
  • - ?
  • - 12 ordered, but no evidence that they were ever delivered.
  • - The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1970s.
  • - 12
  • - ?
  • - Retired and sold to Singapore in 1969.
  • - 35
  • - Replaced by SK-105 Kurassier.
  • - 131
  • - Four howitzer variants purchased for trials in 1962-64; not introduced into service.

See also

Notes and References

  1. The complete guide to tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, ISBN 978-1-84681-110-4
  2. Panzermuseum Thun, informational plaque, 2008.

Further reading

  • Armour in Profile No.12 - AMX.13 by Colonel E. F. Offord, Profile Publication Ltd., 1967.
  • The AMX-13 Light Tank, Volume 1: Chassis by Peter Lau, Rock Publications, 2006.
  • The AMX-13 Light Tank, Volume 2: Turret by Peter Lau, Rock Publications, 2007.

External links

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