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Panhard AML (Auto Mitrailleuse Legere)

Wheeled Light Armored Scout / Reconnaissance Car

Armor / Land Systems

1 / 1
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

A low-cost export favorite - the French-designed AML 90 Scout Car.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 9/21/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Panhard AML ("Auto Mitrailleuse Legere", translating simply to "Light Armored Car") was a light armored car of French design and taken on by the French Army to replace an aging stock of British-originated Daimler "Ferret" cars in same battlefield role. The type was well-received, particularly on the export market, where over forty nations found value in the product. Operators eventually ranged from Algeria and Argentina to Venezuela and Yemen. The French Army maintains about 100 of the cars in reserve (2017) while Saudi Arabia, currently the second largest operator, has purchased 300 of two variants and keeps about 235 operational.

After World War 2 (1939-1945), the depleted French Army operated with vehicles mostly of foreign origination. The war had shown the value of such armored, fast-moving and agile cars, particularly in the reconnaissance and local security role, and, with the Daimler Ferret having seen its best days, the Panhard AML was developed as a private venture successor - it was heavily influenced by the French experience with the British design. A pilot vehicle was made ready in 1959 and, following the requisite trials and evaluation period, it was adopted for service in the French inventory. Serial production was started in 1960 and over 4,800 examples were completed from there.

As built, the car featured a 4x4 wheeled arrangement which excellent ground clearance and a suspended chassis for cross-country travel. The crew numbered three - driver, commander, and dedicated gunner. A turret was set over the hull superstructure and could be outfitted with anything from machine guns to automatic cannons. A mortar was also carried as standard primary armament on most models. Drive power was from an in-house Panhard 1.99I Model 4 HD flat 4-cylinder air-cooled gasoline-fueled engine. Road speeds reached 100 kmh and operational range was out to 600 kilometers.

Economical to procure and operate, the Panhard AML saw service in notable conflicts of the latter 20th Century including the Algerian War (1954-1962), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), and the Falklands War (1982). They were ever-present across Africa and saw much action in local rebellions and civil wars on the continent. Its lightweight nature made it relatively easy to transport by rail, road, or air and, if outfitted with the 90mm turreted main gun, made the car one of the most powerful of its kind - firepower comparable to a light tank of the period. Beyond its armor-defeating capability, a High-Explosive (HE) shell meant that the gun could easily be brought to bear against softer targets like dug-in infantry. The onboard mortar provided indirect fire support and the machine gun added an anti-infantry measure.

Major variants to emerge were the AML-60 and AML-90. The AML-60 (also "AML HE 60-7" or "AML-245B") was the original production form and fitted a turret with rounded sides as well as 2 x 7.62mm machine guns coaxially. With the AML 60-20, the two machine guns were replaced by a single 20mm automatic cannon. The AML-60-20 "Serval" carried the Hispano-Suiza Serval turret and retained the 20mm autocannon fit and modernized the mortar installation. The AML-60-12 replaced the autocannon with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).

The AML-90 (or "AML-245C") carried a 90mm DEFA main gun (rifled) which gave it exceptional firepower against lightly-armor vehicles. The AML-90 "Lynx" was a modernized form that added a ranging and sighting system for the main gun. Night sights were also offered.

The AML S530 was developed as a Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft (SPAA) system with 2 x 20mm automatic cannons. The AML-20 fitted a 20mm automatic cannon in a new powered turret. The AML-30 was a prototype fitting the Hispano-Suiza HS.831 30mm gun in a powered turret. The AML-NA-2 was a proposed Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier. The Panhard M3 became an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) model sporting up to 95% commonality of parts with the original AML offering.

South Africa produced the car under license under the Sandock-Austal brand label. It was known locally as the "Eland".


Panhard - France
4,800 Units
National flag of Algeria National flag of Argentina National flag of Bahrain National flag of Benin National flag of Burkina Faso National flag of Chad National flag of Djibouti National flag of Ecuador National flag of Egypt National flag of El Salvador National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of Iraq National flag of Ireland National flag of Ivory Coast National flag of Kenya National flag of Lesotho National flag of Malawi National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mauritania National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of Nigeria National flag of Portugal National flag of Rwanda National flag of Saudi Arabia National flag of Senegal National flag of South Africa National flag of Sudan National flag of Togo National flag of Tunisia National flag of United Arab Emirates National flag of Venezuela National flag of Yemen National flag of Zimbabwe Algeria; Argentina; Bahrain; Benin; Bosnia; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Chad; Djibouti; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; France; Gabon; Iraq; Ireland; Ivory Coast; Kenya; Lebanon; Lesotho; Malawi; Malaysia; Mauritania; Mexico; Morocco; Nigeria; Polisario; Portugal; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Djibouti; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Togo; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; United Nations; Venezuela; Yemen; Zimbabwe
- Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
- Anti-Tank / Anti-Armor
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- Security / Defense / Law Enforcement / Convoy Escort
- Support / Special Purpose |
13.62 ft (4.15 m)
6.46 ft (1.97 m)
6.79 ft (2.07 m)
6 tons (5,500 kg; 12,125 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Panhard AML 60 production model)
1 x Panhard Model 4 HD 4-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine developing 90 horsepower at 4,700 rpm.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Panhard AML 60 production model)
Maximum Speed:
56 mph (90 kph)
Maximum Range:
373 miles (600 km)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Panhard AML 60 production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 90mm GIAT F1 main gun (AML 90)
1 x 60mm Mortar (AML 60)
1 x 30mm autocannon
1 OR 2 x 20mm autocannon(s)
1 OR 2 x 7.62mm machine guns
1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)
4 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers in two banks of two launchers.

Dependent upon armament fit:

20 x 90mm projectiles
53 x 60mm mortar rounds (if equipped)
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
4 x Smoke Grenades
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Panhard AML 60 production model)
AML 60 - 60mm mortar and 1 x 7.62mm machine gun.
AML 60 HE60-7 60mm mortar and 2 x 12.7 mm machine guns .
AML 60 HE60-12 - 60mm mortar and 1 x 12.7 mm machine gun.
AML 60 HE60-20 - 60mm mortar and 1 x 20mm cannon.
AML 60-20 "Serval" - Serval turret by Hispano-Suiza.
AML 60 S530 - anti-aircraft version with 2 x 20mm cannons (Venezuela).
AML 90 - 90mm main gun
AML 90 "Lynx" - Hispano-Suiza turret with 1 x 90mm GIAT F1 main gun, nightvision and laser.
Eland 60 - South African production of AML 60 HE60-7.
Eland 90 - South African version of the AML 90 Lynx.

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