User:MFIreland/Panhard M3

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Panhard M3
Type Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin  France
Service history
Used by see users
Production history
Designed 1969
Manufacturer Panhard
Produced 1971-1986
No. built 1200
Variants see variants
Weight 6,100 kilograms (13,400 lb)
Length 445 centimetres (175 in)
Width 240 centimetres (94 in)
Height 248 centimetres (98 in)
Crew 2
Passengers 10

Armor 8-12 millimetres
see armament
Engine Panhard 4 HD
90 horsepower
Power/weight 14.75 hp/t
Payload capacity 1,360 kilograms (3,000 lb)
Ground clearance 35 centimetres (14 in)
Fuel capacity 165 litres (44 US gal)
600 kilometres (370 mi)
Speed 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph)

The Panhard M3 VTT (Véhicule Transport de Troupes), armoured personnel carrier was designed as a private venture with the first prototype completed in 1969. The prototype had a single door in each side of the hull and twin doors in the hull rear. Mounted on the top of the hull was a Giat Industries one-person manually operated turret armed with a 7.5 mm AA-52 machine gun.

The first production vehicle, had a redesigned hull incorporating three hatches on either side of the troop compartment, and was completed in 1971. The Panhard M3 armoured personnel carrier shares 95% of its working parts with the Panhard AML armoured car, encouraging many countries to employ both the M3 and the AML in order to reduce operational costs. The M3 APC was subsequently replaced in production by the Panhard Buffalo.


The hull of the Panhard M3 is made of all-welded steel armour. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle and has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right in which there are three day periscopes, the centre one can be replaced by an image intensification periscope for night driving. The Panhard 4 HD engine is behind the driver.

The suspension at each wheel station consists of coil springs and hydropneumatic shock-absorbers acting on the suspension arms of the wheel mechanism. The tyres have puncture-proof Hutchinson inner tubes.

There are four doors in the M3, one in each side of the hull and two in the rear. The rear doors both have a circular firing port. Along the upper part of each side of the hull are three hatches hinged at the top that can be locked open. The Panhard M3 has can carry 10 troops in addition to its crew of two, or it can carry 1,360 kg of cargo.

There are two circular hatches in the roof, one behind the engine compartment and a second one at the rear with a single-piece hatch cover. A wide range of armament installations could be mounted on the forward position; typically these are a 7.62 mm or a 12.7 mm machine gun, but some users have fitted a turret-mounted 20 mm cannon.

The basic M3 is fully amphibious without preparation. It is propelled in the water by its wheels at a speed of 4 km / h, but it can operate only in lakes and rivers. Steering, when afloat, is by turning the front wheels as on land. Optional equipment includes an air conditioning system and smoke grenade dischargers.


  • M3 VTT: The VTT (Véhicule Transport de Troupes), is the main armoured personnel carrier variant.
  • M3 VDA anti-aircraft vehicle: The VDA (Véhicule de Défense Antiaérienne) is a modified M3 chassis fitted with a turret armed with twin 20 mm cannon and a day sight, with the option of an RA 20 series radar on the turret rear. One M3 VDA with the radar can control two other systems without the radar. In service with Côte d'Ivoire (6), Niger (10) and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) (48).
  • M3 VAT repair vehicle: The VAT has a crew of five (commander, driver and three mechanics) and equipment fitted includes a pulley block with struts and tackle, cutting equipment, a generator, benches, a vice, towbars, tow cables and a complete range of tools.
  • M3 VPC command vehicle: The VCP has additional communications equipment, two additional batteries and map tables. Its basic crew consists of commander, assistant commander, driver and two radio operators plus command staff.
  • M3 VLA engineer vehicle: The VLA is fitted with a removable hydraulically-operated dozer blade at the front of the hull and has a crew of six consisting of commander/gunner, driver, pioneer section commander and three pioneers.
  • M3 internal security vehicle: Is fitted with a front-mounted obstacle clearing blade and other equipment for use in the internal security role.
  • M3 VTS ambulance: The VTS has a crew of three (driver and two orderlies) and can carry four stretcher patients, six sitting wounded or two stretcher patients and three sitting wounded. It is unarmed and has a large single-piece door in the rear of the hull.
  • M3 VSB radar: The VSB is fitted with a variety of radar systems such as the RASIT battlefield surveillance radar RA-20S air surveillance radar. The latter is used with the M3 VDA twin 20 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun system when this is not equipped with its own individual radar.
  • M3 VPM: Turret with breach loaded 81mm mortar.
  • M3 VTT 60 B: Armed with 60mm Hotchkiss-Brandt CM 60 A1 smooth bore breach loaded mortar.


Saymar M3 APC[edit]

The Israeli company of Saymar have completed development and testing of a new automotive upgrade package for the Panhard M3. Saymar have replaced the old petrol engine with a more fuel efficient Toyota 2L-T diesel engine developing 102 hp. Other sub-systems upgraded include the manual transmission, new engine cooling system, new and improved electrical system, new disc breaking system all round, hydraulic powered steering, new turret electrical system, communications and intercom system. All new electrical components include more reliable electrical wire bundles, electric voltage regulator, 24 V 65 A generator, 24 V starter, new drivers panel and new instrumental panel. This upgrade can be carried out in the user's own facilities with the aid of kits provided by Saymar or the company could carry out the work in its own facilities. This upgrade package could also be combined with a general overhaul of the vehicle to bring it up to an almost new build standard.

Irish army upgrade[edit]

In 1983 Irish army tested a M3 fitted with a 140 hp Peugeot V6 petrol engine. The test was successful and 14 Irish Panhard M3s were rebuild with the new engine aswell as a new Citroen bracking system, a 6 speed manual gearbox and new electrics.


  • TL.2.1.80 turret with twin 7.62mm FN MAG machine guns.
  • TL.52.3.S turret with one 7.62mm machine gun & three LRAC F1 anti-tank rocket launcher.
  • TL.52.S turret with one 7.62mm machine gun & one LRAC F1 anti-tank rocket launcher.
  • CB.127 ring mount for 12.7mm M2 Browning machine gun.
  • STB ring mount where hatch opens forward to form a shield with one 7.62mm machine gun.
  • CB.20 M621 ring mount with 20mm Auto-cannon.
  • HOT: Equiped with four HOT long-range anti-tank missile.
  • MAS T 20.13.621 turret with AME 20mm Auto-cannon.