|Type||Armoured Scout Car|
|Place of origin||France|
|Used by||See Operators|
|Weight||5.5 tonnes (6.1 short tons; 5.4 long tons)|
|Length||5.11 m (16 ft 9 in)|
|length||3.79 m (12 ft 5 in) (hull)|
|Width||1.97 m (6 ft 6 in)|
|Height||2.07 m (6 ft 9 in)|
|Crew||3 (commander, driver, gunner)|
|90mm GIAT F1 (20 rounds)
60mm Brandt mortar (53 rounds)
|7.62 mm MAS coaxial machine gun (2400 - 3800 rounds)|
|Engine||Panhard 1.99 l (121 cu in) Model 4 HD flat 4-cylinder air-cooled petrol
90 hp (67 kW) at 4,700 rpm
|Power/weight||16.36 hp/tonne (11.9 kW/tonne)|
|Fuel capacity||156 litres|
The Panhard AML-245 (Auto Mitrailleuse Légère, or "Light Gun Car") is a fast, long-ranged, and relatively cheap first-generation armoured car with excellent reconnaissance capability. Designed on a small, lightly armoured 4X4 chassis, it weighs an estimated 5.5 tonnes - much lighter than a tank - and is therefore more rapidly employable. Since 1959 AMLs have been marketed on up to five continents; several variants remained in continuous production for half a century. These have been operated by fifty-four national governments and other entities worldwide, seeing regular combat.
The AML-245 was once regarded as one of the most heavily armed scout vehicles in service, fitted with a low velocity DEFA D921 90mm (3.54 in) smoothbore cannon firing conventional high explosive and high explosive anti-tank shells, or a Brandt LR 60mm (2.36 in) breech loading mortar with 53 rounds and dual 7.5mm MAS AA-52 NF-1 machine guns with 3,800 rounds, all mounted coaxially in the turret. An AML is capable of destroying targets at 1,500 meters with its D921 main gun. In this configuration it is considered a match for second-line and older main battle tanks.
AMLs have appeared most prominently in Angola, Iraq, and the Falkland Islands, where they were pitted against British FV101 Scorpions by Argentine forces, as well as in the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990.
During World War II, the French Army and their Free French successors used a wide variety of vehicles for reconnaissance duties, ranging from the compact Laffly S15 to the Panhard 178, which could mount the same 75mm armament as contemporary heavy tanks, and multi-wheeled designs such as the Type 201. After the war it became less desirable to maintain this plethora of armoured cars. In July 1945 Paris issued a requirement for a postwar design combining those features of previous assets - especially the Type 201 - that had shown potential both during and prior to the Battle of France. This led to the 8x8 Panhard EBR (Type 212) which entered service in 1950. Similarly, in 1956 the French Ministry of Defense was persuaded to commission a replacement for the Daimler Ferret scout car. Also manufactured by Panhard, the successor was the AML (Type 245) which entered service in 1961.
As with much postwar hardware based on the experience of subsequent colonial theaters, the AML was recognized for its outstanding ruggedness, dependability, firepower-to-weight ratio, and adaptability to the numerous minor conflicts waged since 1945. This reputation has led to amazing export success in over forty countries, Africa being one of its biggest markets.
The Panhard AML was birthed as a private venture by the Société de Constructions Panhard et Levassor, a military subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroën. It was derived in part from the Daimler Ferret, offering important similarities in external design. The first prototype appeared in 1959 and the vehicle was put into production in 1960, with more than 4000 examples constructed by the time production ended.
In the late 1950s, the French Army successfully operated a number of Ferret scout cars in Algeria. Impressive as they were from a conventional standpoint, the rest of France's existing light armour - such as the Panhard EBR and M8 Greyhound - were not suitably equipped for counter-insurgency; battles of the Algerian War often involved short, sharp, skirmishes which required indirect fire support such as mortars rather than solid shot and shell. In addition, the North African conditions demanded a lighter, less sophisticated, vehicle which would be simpler to maintain and operate. As an interim measure France had purchased two hundred Ferrets from the United Kingdom. These were light enough but carried only a single general-purpose machine gun, which was inadequate for offensive purposes. Nevertheless, they were sufficiently successful that there was a possibility of producing the Ferret under licence in France. However, Saviem, Berliet, and Panhard petitioned for bidding on a home-grown vehicle, and in 1956 the Ministère de la Défense issued specifications for an indigenous wheeled armoured car of similar dimensions and layout to the Ferret but mounting a breech-loading mortar. By 1959, this had emerged as the Auto Mitrailleuse Légère, designated Model 245 by Panhard. Early prototypes were completed in mid-1959 and by the end of 1961 at least one regiment in Algeria was receiving them. The AML was equipped with a 60mm Brandt gun-mortar, which was directly inspired by the 2-inch Medium Mortar, and two medium MAS AA-52 NF-1 machine guns.
The AML was immediately successful, but as the Algerian conflict diminished so did the need for a light mortar carrier deployed in anti-guerrilla operations. A more primary concern was the conventional threat posed by Soviet airborne fighting vehicles in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion. Meanwhile, South Africa, an AML customer which had considered adopting the British Alvis Saladin, also charged Panhard technicians to look into the development of an AML variant with equal or superior fire support capability. This and the adoption of a highly effective 90mm smoothbore cannon led to all new AMLs being refitted with the H-90 turret sporting the new gun. It fires fin-stabilised, shaped charge, projectiles boasting a muzzle velocity of 760 m/s and more than capable of penetrating 320mm of rolled homogeneous armour. In consequence, the later AMLs could even engage main battle tanks. In addition to its HEAT shells the H-90 also carries fin-stabilised High-explosive projectiles, the total number of rounds stored being 20, compared with the 56 of the original 60mm mortar version.
To provide a complete family of wheeled armoured cars, Panhard used AML components to engineer a small personnel carrier, the Véhicule Transport de Troupes, better known as the Panhard M3. The M3 consisted of a boxy, all-welded, hull with an engine relocated behind the driver in order to provide a large troop compartment at its rear. Its wheelbase was also increased from the AML's 2.5m to a higher 2.7m. and the track from 1.62 to 2.5m. In spite of this, maintenance alongside the AML fleet is rather simplified, given that both vehicles share a 95% interchangeability in automotive parts.
Fitted with coil spring suspension and drum brakes, the AML lacks hydraulic assist on either brakes or steering; only front wheels steer. It also uses nitrogen-filled inner tubes (in this case Hutchinson V.P.-P.V.s), similar to the EBR, providing run-flat capability, on 16 in (41 cm)-diameter wheels; its 11 in (280 mm)-wide Michelin tires can be deflated to reduce ground pressure to as low as 70 to 110 kPa (10 to 16 psi).
At least 52 AML-90s were delivered to the Lebanese Army in 1970-72, and saw considerable action during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). AMLs of the Irish Army (under UNIFIL) were also involved in actions against Lebanese factions at Atiri in South Lebanon in 1980. Two crew members received one of Ireland's highest military honours, the Military Medal for Gallantry, for their actions at Atiri.
In the Falklands War, the Argentines deployed 12 AML-90s from Escuadron de Exploracion Caballeria Blindada 181 (181st Armoured Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron) and an unknown additional number from Escuadron de Exploracion Caballeria Blindada 10 near Port Stanley. During the Battle of Wireless Ridge the only armour versus armour engagement of the war was fought when these units encountered FV101 Scorpions and FV107 Scimitars of the Blues and Royals. The armoured cars were abandoned in Stanley after the conflict ended.
During the Toyota War, FANT's use of swift wheeled vehicles, including AML-90s, allowed Chadian forces to break through combined arms formations and cause severe damage before the slower Libyan tanks could track or engage their targets. The Panhards, deployed in concert with MILAN missile teams at strategic hill junctures, frequently ambushed T-55s at a range of under three hundred metres.
All the versions have a common configuration: the driver is seated in front with a two-seater turret on top. There is a door on each side and the power unit in the back.
- AML 60: 60 mm breech loading mortar and a 7.62 mm machine gun
- AML 60 HE 60-7: 60 mm breech loading mortar and 2 × 7.62 mm machine guns
- AML 60 HE 60-12: 60 mm breech loading mortar and a 12.7 mm machine gun
- AML 60 HE 60-20: 60 mm breech loading mortar and a 20 mm cannon
- AML 60 S530: self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon with dual 20 mm cannons used in Venezuela
- AML 90: Giat Industries' smoothbore 90 mm F1
- AML 90 Lynx: Hispano-Suiza designed turret with a rifled 90 mm GIAT F1 gun, night equipment of vision, and telemeters laser
- Eland 60: South African version of the AML 60 HE60-7
- Eland 90: South African version of the AML 90
- AML 20: Irish Army version which replaced the AML 60 armament with a 20mm cannon.
- Panhard M3: An armoured personnel carrier variant of the Panhard AML.
This section is about operators of the Panhard AML. For operators of the South African variant, see Eland Mk7.
- Algeria: 54 AML-60
- Argentina: 50 AML-90
- Bahrain: 23 AML-90
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 10 AML-90
- Burkina Faso: 15
- Burma: 50
- Burundi: 30
- Cameroon: 31; ex-Bosnian Army
- Chad: 85; likely replaced by the Eland
- Côte d'Ivoire: 20
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic: 20 AML-90
- Djibouti: 24
- Gabon: 18
- Ecuador: 27
- El Salvador: 12 AML-90
- France: Over 1,000
- Iraq: 170 delivered between 1967 and 1976; 10 operational.
- Kenya: 82; refurbished by an Israeli firm in 2007.
- Lebanon: 74
- Lesotho: 6 AML-90; 4 operational.
- Mauritania: 60, 39 AML-90 and 20 AML-60
- Morocco: 210
- Niger: 36
- Nigeria: 137
- Pakistan: AML-60
- Rwanda: 15
- Sahrawi Republic
- Saudi Arabia: 235; purchased from France in 1967 for $95,000,000.
- Senegal: 54
- Somalia: 15 AML-90
- Sudan: 6 AML-90
- Togo: 10
- Tunisia: 18
- United Arab Emirates: 90 AML-90
- Venezuela: 10
- Yemen: 15
- Amal Party: Inherited from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
- Angola: Likely captured from Portugal.
- Cambodia: 15 AML-60s in service between 1965 and 1975.
- FNLA: 1 AML-90; now on display at the Museu das Forças Armadas, Luanda.
- Ethiopia 56 AML-60
- FNLC: 1 AML-60, some AML-90s
- Ireland: All of the Irish Defence Forces' AML-90s were retired in 2013.
- Israel: 29 AML-90
- Lebanese Forces: 12 AML-90 inherited from the LAF.
- Libya: 20 AML-90
- Malaysia: 140 AML-60 and AML-90s
- Portugal: 56 AML-60, some AML-90s
- South Africa: 100 AMLs procured in 1962, swiftly replaced by Eland Mk2.
- Spain: 140 AML-60 and AML-90s
- UNITA: 4 AMLs acquired clandestinely through Zaire; saw service during the Angolan Civil War.
In popular culture
The Panhard AML has made some major film appearances, most notably in The Living Daylights, when two Moroccan army AML-90s were mocked up as Soviet reconnaissance vehicles pursuing Afghan Mujahadeen. These examples included mounted RPK machine guns and communications not dissimilar to those in the BRDM-2.
AMLs were first portrayed in the 1973 French thriller The Day of the Jackal, and 1974 Italian war film Finché c'è guerra c'è speranza, which featured an AML-90 of the Portuguese Armed Forces during the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence.
- Defence Update (International), 1984, Volume 1 Issue 48-58 p. 8.
- Tony Cullens. The Encyclopedia of World Military Weapons (1988 ed.). Crescent Books. p. 96. ISBN 978-0517653418.
- Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 252. ISBN 978-0004724522.
- Christopher F. Foss. Jane's World Armoured Fighting Vehicles (1976 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 133. ISBN 0-354-01022-0.
- Ogorkiewicz, R. M. AFV Weapons Profile 039 Panhard Armoured Cars (Windsor, Berks: Profile Publications).
- David Miller. Conflict Iraq: Weapons and Tactics of the US and Iraqi Forces (2003 ed.). Salamander Books, Ltd. p. 88. ISBN 0-7603-1592-2.
- Henk, Daniel. South Africa's armaments industry: continuity and change after a decade of majority rule (2006 ed.). University Press America. p. 164. ISBN 978-0761834823.
- Based on adding together all operators in the map and those listed below.
- David Jordan. The History of the French Foreign Legion: From 1831 to Present Day (2005 ed.). Amber Books Ltd. p. 181. ISBN 1-59228-768-9.
- Christopher F. Foss. The illustrated encyclopedia of the world's tanks and fighting vehicles: a technical directory of major combat vehicles from World War I to the present day (1977 ed.). Chartwell Books. p. 93. ISBN 978-0890091456.
- Tokarev, Andrei; Shubin, Gennady. Bush War: The Road to Cuito Cuanavale : Soviet Soldiers' Accounts of the Angolan War (2011 ed.). Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd. pp. 128–130. ISBN 978-1-4314-0185-7.
- Morse, Stan. Modern Light Tanks and Reconnaissance Vehicles. War Machine, 1983, Volume 2 Issue 19 p. 373-374.
- Ogorkiewicz, R. M. Design and development of fighting vehicles (1968 ed.). Macdonald Publishers. p. 181. ISBN 978-0356014616.
- L'AUTOMITRAILLEUSE LEGERE PANHARD
- Bruce Quarry & Mike Spick. An Illustrated Guide to Tank Busters (1987 ed.). Prentice Hall Press. pp. 120–125. ISBN 978-0134511542.
- Zaloga, Tank battles of the Mid-East Wars (2003), p. 52.
- Otto Lehrack. America's Battalion: Marines in the first Gulf War (2005 ed.). The University of Alabama Press. pp. 188–89. LCCN 2004016593.
- Van der Bijl, Nicholas (2005) , Argentine Forces in the Falklands, Osprey Publishing, p. 23, ISBN 1-85532-227-7
- John Guzman. Reflections behind the Retina (2011 ed.). Xlibris Corporation. pp. 1–612. ISBN 9-781-4653-0943-3.
- Mario J. Azevedo. The Roots of Violence: A History of War in Chad (1998 ed.). Gordon and Breach Publishers. p. 90. ISBN 90-5699-583-9.
- "Trade Registers". Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
- Wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicles
- Double Misfortune - Deepening Human Rights Crisis in Chad
- "Panhard AML 60/90 Light Scout Car". militaryfactory.com. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- AML-90 Véhicule blindé léger (Egypte)
- Quelques Idees, Plus Ou Moins Non-Conformistes, Sur Les Far/FDR
- Israeli arms transfers to sub-Saharan Africa
- Lesotho defence force gets new chief
- Pakistan: Military takes security of Airports, Prisons and Defence Installations
- Panhard AML 60/90 Light Armored Scout Car (1960)
- IISS Military Balance 1989-90, Brassey's for the IISS, 1989, 113.
- "Panhard AFV Family". Jason W. Henson. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
- Richard Lobban, Jr. Global Security Watch: Sudan (2010 ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-313-35332-1.
- Micheletti, Bataille d'artillerie, RAIDS magazine (1989), p. 34.
- Collelo, Thomas. Angola: A Country Study. pp. 237–317.
- Culture Clash: The Influence of Behavioural Norms on Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts
- Selected Short Stories from Billy
- Gilbert, Adrian. Voices of the Foreign Legion: The History of the World's Most Famous Fighting Corps. Skyhorse Publishing 2010. ISBN 978-1616080327
- Nachum Baruchy: The Hare'l (10th) Armoured Brigade In The Six Day War. Ariel Publishing, Jerusalem. 2010 (In Hebrew). Baruchy States that the 10th Brigade had one company (9 vehicles) of Panhard AML's.
- Military Operations in Selected Lebanese Built-Up Areas, 1975 - 1978
- Willem Steenkamp. Borderstrike! South Africa Into Angola 1975-1980 (2006 ed.). Just Done Productions. p. 35. ISBN 1-920169-00-8.
- Stephen Zaloga. T-34-85 Medium Tank 1944-94 (2011 ed.). Osprey Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 1-85532-535-7.
- Nortje, Piet (2003). 32 Battalion. Zebra Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-86872-914-2.
- Christopher F. Foss, Jane's Tank and Combat Vehicle Recognition Guide, HarperCollins Publishers, London 2002. ISBN 0-00-712759-6
- Peter Gerard Locke & Peter David Farquharson Cooke, Fighting Vehicles and Weapons of Rhodesia 1965-80, P&P Publishing, Wellington 1995 ISSN 0-473-02413-6
- Steven J. Zaloga, Tank battles of the Mid-East Wars (2): The wars of 1973 to the present, Concord Publications, Hong Kong 2003. ISBN 962-361-613-9
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