Panhard AML

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Panhard AML-245
Panhard AML-90 img 2308.jpg
Panhard AML at the Musée des Blindés, Saumur.
Type Armoured Scout Car
Place of origin France
Service history
Used by See Operators
Production history
Designed 1959[1]
Manufacturer Panhard
Produced 1961 – 1987[2]
Number built 4,000[3]
Variants See Variants
Weight 5.5 tonnes (6.1 short tons; 5.4 long tons)[4]
Length 5.11 m (16 ft 9 in)[5]
 length 3.79 m (12 ft 5 in) (hull)[5]
Width 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in)[5]
Height 2.07 m (6 ft 9 in)[4]
Crew 3 (commander, driver, gunner)[5]

90mm GIAT F1 (20 rounds)
60mm Brandt mortar (53 rounds)[5]
7.62 mm MAS coaxial machine gun (2400 - 3800 rounds)[5]
Engine Panhard 1.99 l (121 in3) Model 4 HD flat 4-cylinder air-cooled petrol[6]
90 hp (67 kW) at 4,700 rpm[4]
Power/weight 16.36 hp/tonne (11.9 kW/tonne)[4]
Suspension Wheeled 4x4
Ground clearance 0.33mm[4]
Fuel capacity 156 litres
600 km[5]
Speed 100 km/h[5]

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.[7] 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 deployable. Since 1959 AMLs have been marketed on up to five continents; several variants remained in continuous production for half a century.[8] These have been operated by fifty-four national governments and other entities worldwide, seeing regular combat.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11][12]

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.[6] 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.[13] 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.[14]

As with much postwar hardware based on the experience of subsequent colonial theatres, the AML was recognized for its outstanding ruggedness, dependability, firepower-to-weight ratio, and adaptability to the numerous minor conflicts waged since 1945.[6] This reputation has led to amazing export success in over forty countries, Africa being one of its biggest markets.[13]


Early model of the Panhard AML-60, one of several which entered service with the Mobile Gendarmerie.

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 4,000 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.[15] 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.[16] 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 "B" by Panhard.[17] Early prototypes were completed in mid-1959 and by the end of 1961 at least one regiment in Algeria was receiving them.[16] The AML was equipped with a 60mm Brandt gun-mortar and two medium MAS AA-52 NF-1 machine guns.[6] Until Panhard's acquisition by Citroën later in the 1960s, it was manufactured at a single plant near the Porte de Choisy in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.[18]

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.[15] This and the adoption of a highly effective 90mm smoothbore cannon led to all new AML-245 "C"s being refitted with the H-90 turret sporting the new gun.[17] It fired 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.[19][20] In addition to its high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells the H-90 also carries fin-stabilised high-explosive (HE) projectiles, the total number of rounds stored being 20, compared with the 56 of the original 60mm mortar version.[4]

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.[6]

Mass production of the AML likely ceased at some point prior to the early 1980s.[20] However, AMLs continued to be sold from French Army surplus stocks as late as 1999, when the final export orders were placed by Yemen and Tunisia.[21] They were also marketed by a number of other second-hand suppliers, including South Africa, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.[21]


Fitted with coil spring suspension and drum brakes, the AML lacks hydraulic assist on either brakes or steering; only front wheels steer.[6] Consequently, the steering wheel requires considerable strength to turn while the vehicle is in motion—while stationary it remains effectively locked.[22] Rear wheel drive is transmitted directly to epicyclic hub reduction gears, also known as bevel boxes.[23] The motor and gearbox have been harnessed via a centrifugal clutch with electromagnetic control, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal.[24] This type of clutch is automatically engaged by gripping the knob of the gearshift lever, which is located behind the driver's seat in the hull floor.[23] An AML's crankshaft is carried in three ball bearings to reduce motor friction.[23] Powerplant design was inspired by the Panhard EBR and incorporates an air-cooled, 156 litre, four cylinder engine developing 67 kW (90 hp).[25] AMLs may also be fitted with a variety of liquid-cooled engines, although as demonstrated by its Eland Mk7 counterpart this requires a costly rebuild of the rear hull to accommodate the new cooling apparatus.[24]

AML hulls are assembled from only 13 welded pieces, with a driver seated at the front of the hull and the turret to his immediate rear.[23] Above both doors the hull widens into a circular flange onto which the turret is bolted.[26] This makes the turret basket extremely cramped, and little space is available above an AML-90's turret ring due to the massive gun breech and somewhat haphazard ammunition stowage. There are optical ring sights in front of both turret seats for quick laying of the main armament.[26]

The AML uses nitrogen inner tubes (in this case Hutchinson V.P.-P.V.s) adopted from the EBR, providing run flat capability on 41 cm (16 in.)-diameter wheels; its 280mm (11 in.) wide Michelin tyres can be deflated to reduce ground pressure to as low as 70 to 110 kPa (10 to 16 psi).[6] These have been replaced in some Anglophone armies by the Dunlop Trak Grips also favoured in Bedford and Alvis military vehicles.[23]

Service history[edit]

Marine AML awaiting demilitarisation in a French scrapyard, 1999.


French military doctrine recognised two separate fields of armoured vehicle deployment, the first consisting of primary tasks such as manoeuvre and combat, while the second included other tasks such as rearguard defence, liaison, and deception. The latter was to be the responsibility of a mobile reserve which provided interior security during wartime - designated Défense Opérationnelle du Territoire (DOT) armoured cavalry regiments.[27] Initially equipped with AMLs and jeeps modified for scouting purposes, these units worked closely with the French police and National Gendarmerie. Their goal was to intercept hostile special forces or airborne units which specialised in deep penetration behind the front line. Secondary tasks included counter-insurgency, passive observation, and guarding static installations.[27]

Each DOT troop came to include three AML platoons.[27] As they were expected to remain faithful to the traditional mission of reconnaissance where observation had priority over combat, a number of the Panhards seem to have been stripped of their main armament, necessitating crew dependence on the vehicle's secondary automatic weapons. Nevertheless, as French reconnaissance theory also suggested the occasional need to engage hostile armour and force it to deploy, AML-90s were favoured as well. DOT regiments came to hold a generic pool of sixteen AML-90s and thirty-four other AMLs of varying configuration.[27]

As the AML was readily air transportable, it came to form the materiel strongpoint of the French Foreign Legion's rapid deployment force.[10] The Legion AMLs saw combat overseas, either as part of single deployments by the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment or to provide fire support for other Legion regiments. Crews perfected unique airfield assaults in which AML-90s were unloaded directly from Transall C-160s onto the objective, with infantry joining them by parachute.[10] These vehicles first saw combat against BTR-152s manned by FROLINAT rebels in Chad during Opération Tacaud. In the subsequent months, additional AML-90s rushed in by the Régiment d'infanterie-chars de marine (RICM) repelled a major offensive by the Chadian Democratic Revolutionary Council, which was backed by fifty Libyan T-55 tanks and EE-9 Cascavel armoured cars.[28]

The Mobile Gendarmerie operated over a hundred AML-60s and AML-90s, which were allocated to nineteen separate squadrons. In subsequent decades, a number may have been replaced by the much heavier Renault VBC-90.[29] France is still believed to possess three hundred AMLs in storage.[30]

Middle East[edit]

Plinthed Israeli AML-90 at Yad La-Shiryon.
Flat margin (turret race) between an Egyptian T-54/55's turret and angled glacis, one of the few areas on the tank vulnerable to 90mm HEAT munitions.[22][31]


An order of 29 AML-90s placed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1960 marked the first sale of AMLs to a foreign power, ushered in a new era of French arms sales to Tel-Aviv, and helped cement Panhard's success on the export market.[21] The IDF armoured cars had been received by the end of 1963 and were first displayed publicly on the eve of Yom Ha'atzmaut, 1966.[32] Israeli units were primarily impressed by their high mobility and ergonomic nature, which was deemed ideal for airborne operations.[33] Nevertheless, the AML-90's envisaged deployment by new Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelons also purchased from France did not materialise, as the helicopters could not handle its 5,500 kg combat weight.[17]

At least 9 AML-90s were in service with the 41st Reconnaissance Company of the Harel Brigade during the Six Day War under a Major Amnon Eshkol, participating in the capture of Ramallah in June 1967.[34][35] The AMLs were initially posted at Mevaseret Zion following the fall of East Jerusalem. They were among the first IDF armor to cross into the West Bank during the conflict, probing for Jordanian resistance. Major roads had been blocked by tank barriers although these could be easily bypassed in nimbler armoured cars.[36] The much more cumbersome Super Sherman and Centurion tanks tasked with leading the IDF's spearhead towards Tell el-Ful failed to reach their objective; most were forced to turn back in the face of difficult terrain. Joined by the surviving seven Shermans and eight M3 half-tracks, Major Eshkol's AML-90s later helped defeat a Jordanian counterattack with M48 Pattons.[36]

In the War of Attrition, Israeli AMLs faced Jordanian M48s again on the Damia Bridge during the Battle of Karameh.[17] Originally tasked with screening the IDF Shermans as they crossed the bridge, the lightly armoured AML-90 was at a unique disadvantage when confronted by entrenched Pattons. Moreover, the Jordan River was in flood and vehicle crews were unable to exploit their manoeuvrability in the muddy farmland. Several AMLs were knocked out by tank fire or towed anti-tank guns. They were withdrawn from service not long afterwards.[17]

The Arab–Israeli conflict marked some of the highest armour-to-armour kill ratios achieved with the AML platform to date, including the destruction of at least 13 Egyptian and Jordanian tanks.[37] Especially notable were several T-54 kills credited to an AML-90 platoon in the Sinai Peninsula: as late as the 1980s, military scholars continued to maintain that the 90mm DEFA cannon lacked the muzzle velocity to penetrate the thick steel hull of a T-54/55.[22] More well-documented cases have since verified this was possible, though only with multiple shots or a direct hit on the turret rim near the driver's hatch.[22][38] Israeli AML crews also sustained losses of their own during this engagement,[37] and some AML-90s may have been captured intact by the Egyptian defenders.[39]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

In 1964, the Royal Saudi Army issued a requirement for an armoured car proven in desert warfare and equipped with a large semiautomatic cannon.[40] Bids were accepted from three companies—Alvis, Cadillac Gage, and Panhard—which offered the Saladin, V-100 Commando, and AML, respectively, but the debate over which of the three to adopt was hamstrung by political considerations early on.[40] Saudi Arabia remained inhibited from seeking American assistance in devising suitable defence programmes by the criticism and hostility of other Arab states. Under these circumstances, only arms transactions with French or British firms could be entertained.[41] Despite longstanding diplomatic contacts, the French presence in Riyadh was rather limited compared to that of the United Kingdom, and the latter was in a better position to provide long-term logistical support for armoured cars to the Saudi military.[40] Alvis was initially awarded a contract for 83 Saladins with a ten-year option on spare parts.[40] Final negotiations for the delivery of the Saladins were underway[40] when Sultan bin Abdulaziz abruptly cancelled the purchase in favour of Panhard.[42]

The $95 million Panhard deal proved instrumental in breaking existing preconceptions that the Arabian arms market was well protected by the UK. Gaullist circles heralded it as a major business and political success.[43] In an interview in Beirut, Sultan bin Abdulaziz merely asserted that AMLs were selected as part of King Faisal's policy to strengthen the army with a greater infusion of modern arms.[44] Saudi Army officials had preferred the heavier Saladin and appreciated its worthiness in desert conditions, but conceded the AML-90 was much cheaper.[42] Panhard undertook the order amid much protest by pro-Israel lobbyists in France, who urged restraint in shipping arms to Arab bloc states likely to use them against Tel-Aviv. The sale was also challenged as a violation of Charles de Gaulle's Middle Eastern embargo, although the French government insisted it did not classify armoured scout cars as the same "heavy war materiel" covered by sanctions.[43]

Saudi AML-90s of the 20th Armoured Brigade were blooded near Daraa during the Yom Kippur War, having been airlifted to assist its Syrian defenders in Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft loaned from Iran.[45] The airlift was carried out on October 14, 1973; six Iranian C-130s were needed to convey the vehicles and about 2,000 motorised infantrymen from Saudi Arabia to Syria. AML crews were generally assigned to static guard duty, patrolling the Damascus-Daraa road and keeping lines of communications clear between the multinational Arab forces.[45] At least one AML-90 was captured by the Golani Brigade, likely while attempting to reconnoiter an IDF position after dark.[46] The Saudi contingent later participated in the fighting at Tel Maschara alongside the Jordanian 40th Armoured Brigade. They were halted by accurate tank fire from the IDF's 17th Reserve Armour Brigade and later forced to retreat.[46] Four AML-90s were destroyed, presumably during this action, although the Saudis claimed to have also knocked out 5 Israeli tanks and damaged 5 more.[45]

Saudi Arabia ordered between 200 and 220[43] AMLs from France in 1968, with deliveries completed by 1970.[21] Some sources have claimed a second order was placed in 1978 for another 250.[47] The Saudi Army has since retired much of its Panhard fleet and exported surplus stocks to various nations.[48] During the Gulf War, an estimated 200 AML-90s were phased from service.[49] Upon learning that the Senegalese units participating in Operation Desert Shield were also familiar with the Panhard type, General Khalid bin Sultan ordered a number retained for their use. The armoured cars were hurriedly serviced, then donated to Senegal.[note 1] Large quantities were also accepted by Morocco and Niger.[48]


AML-90 of the Lebanese Army in Beirut, 1982.

At least 74 AML-90s were delivered to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) between 1970 and 1975, and saw considerable action in the Lebanese Civil War.[21] As their crews often left them unguarded outside army compounds, several may have been stolen by LAF deserters on their way to join regional militias.[50] Others vanished during the disintegration of individual battalions, and by 1981 Lebanon's fleet had dwindled to 52.[51] The surviving AML squadrons remained plagued by chronic shortages of personnel; some crews even fought in their turrets without a trained commander and depended on inexperienced spotters outside the vehicles to guide their fire. This resulted in phenomenal inaccuracy.[52]

Following the Battle of the Hotels, Lebanese Front troops in the Port District of Beirut brought their Panhards into action for the first time in the civil war, engaging Charioteer tanks crewed by Amal and Lebanese Arab Army (LAA) militants. Having lost nearly all their heavy armour and tanks to the militias, the predominantly Christian remnants of the Lebanese Army appropriated three AML-90s and nine obsolete T17 Staghounds to stave off repeated assaults by LAA forces from the hotel district.[53] Due to the armoured cars' heightened vulnerability to RPG-7s, their crews began using debris as makeshift barricades. Muslim fighters failed in attempting to destroy the AMLs with RPGs, as well as B-10 and M40 recoilless rifles, since the projectiles lacked a clear trajectory in the rubble.[53] The AML-90s' immense firepower at close quarters soon resulted in great structural damage to portside Beirut; a number of fortified buildings were wrecked by 90mm HE shells, and those struck by multiple HEAT volleys demolished on their foundations. With truck-mounted ZU-23-2s covering their advance, the AMLs advanced on Allenby Street, flattening all resistance, and took the waterfront.[53] Although both the LAA and the leftist Lebanese National Movement hastily brought up Charioteers and M41 Walker Bulldog tanks, so much wreckage was blocking the streets they could not manoeuvre. It was impossible to shoot accurately through the debris, and tanks could only manage speculative fire to discourage the AMLs.[53]

In 1983, LAF tanks with AML-90s in support were sent to eliminate Amal militants then threatening elements of Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF) at the Lebanese University. Following the Siege of Beirut, the LAF again mobilised its AMLs to occupy positions vacated by withdrawing Israeli troops.[52]

Militia use[edit]

Panhard AMLs were favoured by the Lebanese militias due to their flexibility, especially in urban combat situations which saw them deployed against heavier Syrian armour.[54] A detailed analysis undertaken by the United States Army Research Laboratory in 1979 found the AML "operated effectively in Beirut" and noted that "the ease with which the Panhard is driven and repaired, and the absence of tracks, provide the mobility desirable in an urban environment."[53] Modifications to militia AMLs included replacement of the original Michelin tyres with an air-pocketed type more resistant to mortar shrapnel, as well as increased armour plate—fabricated after the appearance of Syrian tanks made it difficult ordering volunteers to man the lightly protected vehicles.[53]

Christian Phalangist militiamen deployed twelve AML-90s as assault guns during the Siege of Tel al-Zaatar, using their elevated 90mm cannon to knock out second or third storey fortifications shielding Palestinian guerrillas.[53] AML-90s of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) also swung into action against five Staghounds of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces during a raid on Fayadiyeh barracks in mid 1976. The armoured cars were incompetently handled by the leftist forces, and later abandoned near Kahale with an AMX-13 due to mechanical problems.[53]

Irish UNIFIL AML-90. AMLs have been deployed in support of eight UN-affiliated peacekeeping missions since UNFICYP in 1964.[55]

In April 1978, AMLs of the Irish Army were deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), where they saw considerable action against the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia.[56] Ireland had originally purchased 16 AML-60s in 1964 for its large United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) contingent.[57] The deterioration of the security situation led to its purchase of another 16 AML-60s and 20 AML-90s, which had been initially rejected due to their expense but were now deemed necessary for their significant offensive capabilities.[58] A reconnaissance company consisting of at least 4 UNFICYP AML-90s and 14 Panhard M3s were subsequently shipped from Cyprus to Lebanon alongside the 43rd Irish Battalion, which joined the newly formed UNIFIL.[58] As the most heavily armed of the national UNIFIL contingents, the Irish AMLs frequently functioned as a mobile force reserve.[58] They were also used for manning checkpoints between the belligerent SLA and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) positions.[59] By 1980 at least one AML had been damaged by a PLO RPG-7 aimed at the SLA lines. The armoured car caught fire, though all three crew members survived.[59]

On August 12, 1980 SLA militiamen attacked an Irish UNIFIL checkpoint at the village of At Tiri in southern Lebanon,[59] having been antagonised by a statement made by Brian Lenihan Snr, Ireland's minister for foreign affairs, which they perceived as supportive of the PLO.[60] One peacekeeper was mortally wounded, nine others taken prisoner, and the checkpoint overrun.[60] The SLA then deployed four M9 Half-tracks equipped with Browning HB heavy machine guns, which they used to harass UNIFIL convoys. Two days later, Irish AML-90s counterattacked and retook the village. One half-track was immobilised, and a second destroyed after receiving a direct hit from a 90mm shell.[59] A third was abandoned when its Browning was disabled by warning fire from an AML's coaxial machine gun.[60] The armoured cars also held a tense standoff with SLA M50 "Super" Sherman tanks on the outskirts of At Tiri, although the latter ultimately declined to intervene in the fighting and were not engaged by Irish forces.[54] They withdrew upon the arrival of Dutch UNIFIL reinforcements armed with BGM-71 TOW missiles.[60]

At least one AML-90 crew commander was awarded Ireland's highest military honour, the Military Medal for Gallantry, for actions during the At Tiri engagement.[60] Irish AMLs may have seen action again in 1996 during Operation Grapes of Wrath.[61]

Iraqi AML-90 Lynx abandoned during Operation Desert Storm.


In 1991, AML-90s were deployed, somewhat ineffectually, by Iraqi reconnaissance units against USMC and Saudi National Guard forces during the Battle of Khafji.[62]

South America[edit]

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.[63]

At least one AML-90 was destroyed by FMLN insurgents with rifle grenades and an M67 recoilless rifle in the Salvadoran Civil War.[64]


During the Portuguese Colonial War, the Portuguese Army operated AML-60s in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau. Approximately 50 were ordered in 1965 to replace the heavier Panhard EBR.[21] Severe maintenance problems were encountered in the corrosive African environment, and custom air intakes cannibalised from utility vehicles had to be installed accordingly.[65] Local engineers also copied several modifications applied to the Eland Mk7 for improved performance in this theater.[65] In Portuguese service, the AML-60 equipped reconnaissance platoons, mainly used in convoy escort.[66]

In 1987, 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.[67]

In mid-December 2010, AMLs manned by Laurent Gbagbo's supporters were used to intimidate Ivorian civilians in Abidjan and the western countryside.[68]

The Ecole de Formation et d'Application des Troupes Blindes, at Mbanza-Ngungu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was originally established by French Military Cooperation Mission to instruct African AML crews. Today, the academy can host 70 trainees; ten African armies are currently participating in the program.[69]


AML variants; US military recognition plate
Bottom: Original H-90 turret.
Top: Lynx 90 turret incorporating a new commander's cupola, new sights, larger searchlight, and a laser rangefinder mounted on the gun mantlet.

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: Known simply as the AML HE 60-7, this was Panhard's initial production model and included a rounded turret with twin 7.62mm machine guns on the left and a breech-loaded 60mm (2.36 in.) Hotckiss-Brandt CM60A1 mortar on the right, with 3,800 rounds of 7.62mm and 53 mortar projectiles, respectively.[25] The mortar can still be muzzle loaded from outside the vehicle in conventional manner, but is unique in its opening breech locked by a falling block much like direct fire artillery. The AML-60's reload time can be slow for inexperienced vehicle crews, as multiple ranging and ordnance calculations must be made by the commander to ascertain firing angles.[22] In several armies it has been replaced or complemented by the AML HE 60-20, a variant which replaces both 7.62mm machine guns with a 20mm autocannon and 500 stored rounds.[25] An upgraded model, the AML HE 60-20 Serval, is also available. The AML HE 60-12 replaces the twin general-purpose machine guns with a single 12.7mm heavy machine gun.[25]
  • AML-90: Known simply as the AML H-90, the vehicle was engineered for fire support and aggressive reconnaissance. Its turret includes a single 7.62mm machine gun on the left and a low-velocity 90mm (3.54-in.) DEFA D921 cannon on the right, with 2,400 rounds of 7.62mm and 20 High explosive or High explosive anti-tank shells, respectively. The turret is manually powered, the main gun lacks stabilisation in elevation and azimuth, and there is an optical fire control system.[25] With upgrades, it fires a complete range of 90mm cartridges in shell and projectile form, from atypical discarding SABOT kinetic energy rounds to canister and a variety of smoke rounds. Armoured targets can be successfully engaged at up to 2,000 metres.[22] There is a large double baffle muzzle brake which reduces the recoil force exerted by the gun on the small Panhard chassis. An upgraded model, the AML-90 Lynx, incorporates night vision features, a laser rangefinder, and superior turret controls.[25]
  • AML S530: Designed as a self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon, the AML S530 was developed solely for export and is operated by the Venezuelan Army. It carries two 20mm autocannon, with 600 stored rounds.[25]
  • Eland-60: South African production model of the AML 60 HE 60-7.[22]
  • Eland-90: South African production model of the AML H-90.[22]


This section is about operators of the Panhard AML. For operators of the South African variant, see Eland Mk7.

Map of Panhard AML operators in blue, with former operators in red and operators of the related Eland Mk7 in teal
UNMIL peacekeepers on patrol with an AML-90 in Liberia, July 2006.

Current operators[edit]

Former Operators[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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 While There's War There's Hope, which featured an AML-90 of the Portuguese Armed Forces during the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence.

Two AML-90s erroneously presented as German scout cars serving with the Afrika Korps appear in the 1984 French war film Les Morfalous.


See also[edit]

Panhard series[edit]

Vehicles of comparable role, performance, and era[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Per Khalid bin Sultan: I recalled we were phasing out of our armed forces over 200 French-built AML-90 Panhard armored fighting vehicles of a type with which the Senegalese were familiar. "How many can you make operational?" I asked. "As many as you want." "Fine. Hold on to them." In due course, we issued these vehicles to the Senegalese, and also to the contingents from Niger and Morocco, and at the end of the war, on Prince Sultan's instructions, we gave the armored cars to them in gratitude for their help.[49]


  1. ^ Defence Update (International), 1984, Volume 1 Issue 48-58 p. 8.
  2. ^ "Mobile firepower for contingency operations: Emerging concepts for US light armour forces" (PDF). Defense Technical Information Center. 1993-01-04. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  3. ^ Tony Cullens. The Encyclopedia of World Military Weapons (1988 ed.). Crescent Books. p. 96. ISBN 978-0517653418. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 252. ISBN 978-0004724522. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Christopher F. Foss. Jane's World Armoured Fighting Vehicles (1976 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 133. ISBN 0-354-01022-0. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Ogorkiewicz, R. M. AFV Weapons Profile 039 Panhard Armoured Cars (Windsor, Berks: Profile Publications).
  7. ^ 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. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • 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 ISBN 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

External links[edit]