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AMX 40

The AMX-40 tank was developed in France especially for export deliveries. Experimental models of the AMX-32 and AMX-40 tanks (the latter outfitted with a 120-mm smooth-bore cannon) were introduced at France's annual arms display early in the 1980's. A prototype of the tank designated the AMX40 was represented at the French arms exhibit organized in 1983 in Satory (near Paris). Designated for export, production of these tanks never began.

The AMX 40, which incorporated the AMX 30 B2 advances (COTAC automatic firing system) and those of the AMX 32 (mechanically welded turret permitting firing while in motion) and had other major advantages. In contrast to the AMX-30 and AMX-30B2 main battle tanks in the inventory, which had a 105-mm rifled gun with a muzzle velocity of 1,525 m/sec for an armor-piercing projectile and an effective range of fire or 2,000 meters, the new tank was armed with a l20mm smoothbore gun of French manufacture. The unit of fire included 37 fixed rounds consisting of a semi-combustible shell case (with metal sabot) and projectiles of two types: fin-stabilized armor-piercing discarding sabot, and combination (shaped charge-HE effect). The muzzle velocity of the first projectile is 1,650 m/sec and its effective range of fire against,tanks' reached 2,400 meters. The gun also could fire ammunition from the West German Leopard-2 tank's 120-mm gun. The gun is mounted in a 360-degree traversing welded turret. A mechanism for facilitating loading (a rammer) is located in its rear portion.

The tank was equipped with a coaxial 20-mm gun for combating light armored vehicles and airborne targets is paired with the main gun. The 20-mm gun was capable of firing against airborne targets (elevation is from -8 to +40). A7.62-mm antiaircraft machinegun is mounted on the commander's cupola. There are three smoke grenade launchers located on each side of the turret along the front.

Its hull and turret are welded, with the front sections having multilayer armor. Composite armor was used in frontal projections of its hull and turret. The AMX-40 is equipped with the COT AC (Conduite de Tir Automatique pour Char) fire control system. The fire control system includes a gun stabilizer, electronic ballistic computer, laser rangefinder and night vision devices, among which there is also a commander's television camera used under conditions of poor illumination. The gunner has an M581 sight and M550 laser rangefinder. An M527 gyro-stabilized panoramic sight is above the commander's cupola and is used for 360 surveillance, target designation, gun-laying and firing. A television camera is fixed to the gun mantlet.

The AMX-40 tank had a combat weight of 43 tons. The V12X V-12 12-cylinder diesel engine with turbo-supercharging develops 1,100 hp. The tank transmission has a torque converter connected with a West German ZF automatic transmission. It is also possible to install the ESM 500 transmission. The running gear uses six pairs of rubber-covered road wheels (and not five as in the AMX-30).

It has torsion-bar suspension and four track support rollers on each side. Maximum highway speed is 65km/hr, with a range of 550 km. Accommodation of two mounted tanks on the rear permits increasing the range to 850 km. A disassembled bulldozer blade is attached to the forward armor plate. It is assembled and mounted on the tank by one of the crew members. The AMX-40 can negotiate a vertical obstacle up to 1 meter high and a ditch 3.2 m wide. It can cross fords no more than 1.3 meter deep without preparation, but a certain amount of preparation is required to negotiate water obstacles to 2.3 meters deep. Installation of an underwater kit permits assaulting water obstacles 4 meters deep.

In the estimate of specialists, the AMX-40 was developed with consideration of demands placed on tanks of the 1990's. It is envisaged that it will be produced for export, primarily for countries of the Near East. Series production may be begun in 1986. It was expected that the AMX-40 tank chassis might be used by French specialists to develop experimental models of future lighter (turretless) tanks with an external main gun mounting.

At Satory in June 1987, the Land Weapons Manufacturing Group (GIAT), which includes 10 arsenals, displayed the AJ1X-40 combat tank. This armored vehicle, weighing 43 metric tons, had not been ordered by the French Armed Forces, which chose to replace its AMX-30's with the new Leclerc tank. On the other hand, the AMX-40, baptized "the desert tank" by its producer, interested the Saudis, and ongoing discussions with Riyadh involved the acquisition of 250 tanks of this model, designed, according to GIAT, for open spaces and hot climates.

In contrast to the case of the Mirage 4000, the army's technical services, which form part of the General Directorate for Armament, have supported the builder of the AMX-40 in the effort to impress the Saudis, providing assistance with demonstrations and thereby conferring a quasi-official status upon the tank. In principle, the Saudis were to make their decision in the summer of 1987. In 1987, the M1A1 Abrams, the Brazilian Osorio, the French AMX-40, and the British Challenger were evaluated in the Saudi desert. As a result of that test, the Saudis have expressed an interest in buying 315 Abrams tanks. The AMX-30 was not selected [the Saudis bought the American Abrams], and did not enter production.

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Page last modified: 20-04-2019 18:50:13 ZULU