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AMX 40 prototype at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur

The AMX 40 was a French prototype main battle tank.

The development of the AMX 40 began in 1980 as a clean sheet design. In 1983 the first prototype was finished and presented at the Satory Exhibition of that year. Two further prototypes were produced in 1984; the last, fourth, was fabricated in 1985. The design was not intended for service in France, but as a successor to the AMX 32, the improved export version of the AMX 30. However the efforts to obtain foreign orders failed, the most serious potential customer to have considered the design being Spain. In 1990 it was no longer offered for export.

The tank was of fairly standard configuration, with the driver at the front, the turret in the center, housing a gunner, commander and loader, and the engine at the rear. Its armament consisted of a 120 millimetre calibre smoothbore gun, with an optionally coaxial 20 millimetre calibre F2 autocannon. The fire control system was the COTAC also used for the AMX 30 B2. As its dimensions were rather small: 6.8 m long, 3.36 m wide and 2.38 m high at the turret roof, the ammunition load was limited to just 35 rounds. The tank was powered by a 1,100 horsepower (820 kW) Poyaud V12X diesel engine coupled to an automatic ZF transmission. The number of road wheels per side was increased from five to six, compared to the AMX 32.

The weight was limited to 43 metric tonnes. Though this, in combination with the powerful engine, ensured an excellent mobility, with 70 km/h maximum speed and 50 km/h terrain speed, and a low operating cost, it limited protection. The front armour utilised laminated and perforated steel and protected against 100 mm HEAT and APDS ammunition. Such 400 – 450 mm RHA equivalency would have been considered quite formidable in 1980; in the late eighties it had become substandard due to missile and ammunition developments.

The type should not be confused with the prewar experimental Char Moyen AMX 40.

See also


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