In 1956, it was proposed that France, West Germany and Italy should join forces to produce a standard tank for use by their respective armys to replace the American M47 tanks wqhich had been supplied under the Mutual Defence Aid Programme. The two main contenders in the competition were the German design that was to result into the Leopard 1, and a French design for the lighter AMX-30. After disagreement between the parrners however both France and Germany decided to adopt their own design to equip their own Armys,


Designed by the Atelier de Construction d'issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) which had designed most French AFVs since World War II, the first prototypes were completed in 1960, ans the first production tanks were constucted by the Atekler de Construction (now GIAT Industries) in Roanne in 1966. Production continued until 1982 by which time some 2,000 tanks had been built of which half, commencing in 1966-67) have gone to the French Army, the remainder being sold to export customers.

Gun and Ammunition

The main armament of the AMX-30 is the French designed C-105-F1 rifled gun with a calibre of 105mm, a co-axial 20mm cannon was introduced in 1968 as an option to a HMG. This cannon which is standard issue in French Army tanks is unusual in that it is independent of the main gun and can elevate to +40 degrees to enable it to be used against low flying aircraft. A 7.62mm(.3 inch) machine gun is usually carrried on the Commander's cupola, and smoke dischargers are fitted to the turret side.

A total of 47 rounds of ammuinition is the normal load of which the most commonly employed is the OCC (HEAT) round which can penetrate 400mm ofarmour at 1000 metres with a veocity of 3280ft/sec. This is an unusual hollow-charge shell in which the explosive filling is carried in a seperate liner which is mounted on ball bearings, thus the explosive does not deteriorate within the spinning shell and therefore creates a more lethal effect on detonation.

Other types of ammunition include HE, Smoke, and Illuminating, and during the 1980s APFSDS (known as OBUS-FLECHE) was also introduced. This round can penetrate 150mm of armour ayt 5,000 metres with a muzzle velocity of 15,005 ft/sec.

Powerplant and Performance

The AMX-30 is powered by a Hispano-Suiza HS-110 12 cylinder horizontally opposed, water cooled multi-fuel engine built in France by Saviem which is coupled to a ENC 200 transmission. The engine can develop 700 bhp at 2,400 rpm allowing a maximum road speed of 65 kph (40 mph) and a range of 500-600 km (311-373 miles). A Diesel engine is offered by the manufacturer as a cheaper option for the export market.


No major changes to the AMX-30 took place until 1982 when the much improved AMX-30B-2 entered service with the French Army. This model differed from its predecessor in having an improved powerplant and upgraded suspension, spaced armour, computerised COTAC integrated fire contol system, laser rangefinder,night driving image intensifier equipmenyt for the driver, fire detection and suppression system, full NBC protection, and the option for the fitting of a snorkel for deep fording. For servce during the Gulf War of 1991, the AMX-30B-2s were modified with the addition of a low light Television system (LLTV), Thermal Imaging equipment and improved smoke dischargers. In 1995 the AMX-30B-2s belonging to the French rapid reaction force were given Explosive Reaction Armour.

Exports and Service

Though not as widely exported as its counterpart, the Leopard I, the AMX-30 has stll found customers in the Armies of Chile,Cyprus (54 AMX-30B-2 delivered in 1990),Greece, The United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Spain has built the AMX-30 under license-upgraded in 1989 with a thermal imaging system, ands image intensifier equipment for the driver under the designation AMX-30EM2, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have purchased the AMX-30S hot climate version specifically developed for the Middle East export market. This model is fitted with larger engine air filters, laser rangefinder, infra-red and image intensifier night fighting equipment, but dispenses with the NBC protection system.


A number of specialist vehicles have been constructed on the chassis of the AMX-30 tank, the most important being the AMX-30D ARV, AMX-30 Bridgelayer, the AMX 155mm GCT self propelled howitzer and the AMX-30EBG Combat Engineers Vehicle. Other specialist vehicles include launch vehicles for the Pluton SSM tactical nuclear missile, Roland AA missile system, or for six Crotale AA misiles (Shanine). There is also the AMX-3O-401A self propelled AA tank armed with twin 30mm cannon, a mine clearing tank and a driver training tank.

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