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The AMX-13 was a French 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, the complete guide to tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, ISBN 978-1-84681-110-4, 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, APCs, and ATGM versions. Total production of the AMX-13 family is approximately 7,700 units, around 3,400 of which 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 road-wheels 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, allegedly modelled on the German 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 gun (used, among others, in the Panther tank) but firing very different ammunition from a shorter barrel, was fed with an automatic loading system in two six-round magazines located in the turret's bustle. The twelve rounds available in the loaders meant that the crew could engage targets quickly, however once those rounds were expended the vehicle had to retreat to cover and the crew reload them form 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-Saône, as the ARE moved to building the AMX 30 MBT, and the numbers produced declined significantly.

From 1966 the 75mm high-velocity gun was replaced by a 90 mm (the AMX-13/90) medium velocity gun firing more effective HEAT ammunition, with the French upgrading all existing base models to this specification. By the early 1970s export models were available with an even more potent 105mm gun. 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 new hydropneumatic suspension were introduced.

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

The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1980s. Current French armoured vehicles with a similar role are the ERC 90 Sagaie and the AMX 10 RC.

Additional characteristics

  • Ground clearance: 370 mm (15 in)
  • Fording: 600 mm (24 in)
  • Vertical obstacle 650 mm (26 in)
  • Trench: 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)
  • 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
Prototype with 2 support rollers and, later, a thermal sleeve
Char AMX-13 (2F)


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 Netherlands)
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
Scissors-type bridgelayer
AMX-13 PDP (Poseur De Pont) Modèle 51

Modernisation packages

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

National variants

AMX-13/FL-12 [Modernised] by the Netherlands
Fitted with searchlight and FN MAG machine-guns
Dutch FL12 version refitted with an FL-15 Turret
Rebuild of standard AMX-13 by Singapore 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 75mm 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 Ukrainian laser guided "Barrier R-2" antitank missiles, and 7.62mm and 12.7 mm machine-guns for Peruvian Army
CLI upgraded AMX-13/90 for Venezuelan Army
AMX-13 [LAR-160]
Venezuelan MLRS version armed with IMI LAR-160 mm. rockets
Venezuelan Army's AA version armed with two 40 mm cannons mounted on an M-4E1 turret
AMX-13M51 Ráfaga

Other prototypes

AMX-13 avec tourelle
A14 Fitted with German HS-30 turret
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;;Char 48FCM
DCA de 40 mm
AKA Char 13T DCA a 40 mm Bofors L/70 gun in large faceted turret
Improved suspension by Krauss-Maffei
Fitted with Rapace 14 MBRL
Fitted with HOT ATGM launchers
AMX-13 Twin 20 mm in welded turret without bustle
AKA Char 12T FCM, DCA de Quatre Canons de 20 mm—4 x 20 mm cannon in FL-4 turret
Prototype fitted with hydrostatic transmission

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
Prototype of Mk 62 with MG cupola fitted to turret
AMX Mk 63 (AMX-105B, AMX Mk F2)

155 mm Self Propelled Howitzer

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


M24 Chaffee fitted with AMX-13 turret, used by Egypt
AMX-13 turret on M24 Chaffee hull


Current Users

  • Argentina - 24 AMX Mk F3 155 mm self-propelled howitzer version
  • Cambodia - 12
  • Côte d'Ivoire - 5
  • Cyprus - 12
  • Djibouti - ?
  • Ecuador - 102
  • Indonesia - 500
  • Kuwait - ?
  • Mexico - 409 AMX-VCI
  • Nepal - ?
  • Peru - 110
  • Singapore - 350 AMX-13/SM1 (ex-IDF machines, locally upgraded and modernised)
  • Tunisia - ?
  • Venezuela - 36 AMX-13C.90

Former Users

  • Algeria - ?
  • Austria - ?
  • Argentina - 60 AMX-13/105 FL-12 received currently in storage
  • Belgium - ?
  • Chile - 12 AMX Mk F3 155 mm self-propelled howitzer version
  • Dominican Republic - 15
  • Egypt - ?
  • El Salvador - 12 ordered, but no evidence that they were ever delivered.
  • France - The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1970s.
  • Guatemala - 12
  • India - ?
  • Israel - Retired and sold to Singapore in 1969.
  • Lebanon - 35 in service with th6e Lebanese Army in 1976, passed on to the Kataeb Militia, Tigers Militia (Lebanon), Amal Movement, Al-Murabitun, Lebanese Arab Army, Lebanese Forces, South Lebanon Army.
  • Morocco - Replaced by SK-105 Kurassier.
  • Netherlands - 131
  • Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - ? (Captured to Morocco in the Western Sahara War)
  • Switzerland - Four howitzer variants purchased for trials in 1962-64; not introduced into service.


General Caracteristics

Crew: 4

Length: 6.36M (Including Cannon)

Height: 2.3M

Width: 2.51M

Empty Weight: 1300 kg

Weight Embattled: 14800 kg


Traction System: Caterpillars

Engine: 8cyl Sofam 8Gxb

Power: 270 hp

Maximum Speed: 6 km/h

Speed Over Rough Terrain: 25 km/h

Fuel Tank: 410 Liters


Main Weapon: GIAT CN-50 L-61 75mm

See also


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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