AML-245 (Auto-Mitraileuse Legere-245)
Panhard have the world's longest record in the development of wheeled armored vehicles. In different versions this light armored car was used by about 40 Armies worldwide. Since 1960, Panhard produced the 4-wheeled AML. The AML was used not only by the French Army, but by several others, due largely to its combination of light weight and effective armament. Numerous options of modernization were offered (diesel engines, fire controls, armament, conditioned air, etc.).
Experience gained with test beds saved the French Army from wasting its resources on the further development of very light combat vehicles, exemplified by the two-man ELC which was armed either with a low-pressure 90 mm gun or two 30 mm automatic cannon. Vehicles of the ELC kind represented an attractive novel concept during the 1950s when the emerging threat of shaped charge weapons appeared to herald the obsolescence of heavily armored vehicles. Trials with test bed vehicles proved that the concept of very light combat vehicles was far less attractive than it appeared at first, and work on it was discontinued around 1961
Nevertheless, the construction of the light combat vehicle test beds had a positive outcome in advancing the development of low pressure guns firing fin-stabilised, shaped charge projectiles. These 90 mm weapons were successfully passed on to wheeled armored vehicles and did much to increase their effectiveness. The first successful example of their use was in the French Panhard AML 90 light armored car, which was armed with the same 90 mm gun as the ELC tracked light combat vehicle. The AML 90 version was armed with a 90-mm gun, although its weight was only 5.5 tonnes (12,128 lb). This gave it more gunpower in relation to its weight than any other armored vehicle and it set a worldwide trend in the use of 90-mm low-pressure guns in light armored vehicles. Subsequently, several other wheeled armored vehicles weren armed with similar 90 mm guns which were produced not only in France, but also in Belgium by Cockerill and in Brazil by Engesa.
The South African Army?s Ratel Mk 2 was an improved version of the French Panhard AML armored car and mounted a 90mm semiautomatic quick-firing gun. Various improvements have been made to the vehicle based on operational experience in Namibia and long-range penetration raids in Angola. The AML Eland Mk IV was a South African version of the French. Panhard AML) armed with either 90mm guns or 60mm mortars.
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