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AMX-40 prototype at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originFrance
Production history
ManufacturerAMX-APX and GIAT
Mass43.7 t (43.0 long tons; 48.2 short tons)
Length10.04 m (32 ft 11 in) (with gun barrel), 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) hull
Width3.18 m (10 ft 5 in) 3.36 m (11 ft 0 in) (with side skirts)
Height2.38 m (7 ft 10 in)

Armourlaminated steel
120 mm GIAT G1 smoothbore gun (L/52) (40 rounds)
1 x 20 mm M693 autocannon with 578 rounds 2 x 7.62 mm ANF1 machine guns (2170 rounds)
EnginePoyaud V12X diesel engine
1,100 horsepower (820 kW)
Power/weight25.6 hp/ton
TransmissionZF LSG 300
Suspensiontorsion bar with rotary shock absorbers
Fuel capacity1300 L
600 km (370 mi)
Speed70 km/h (43 mph)

The AMX-40 was a French prototype main battle tank developed by GIAT during the latter stages of the Cold War as an export tank to replace the failed AMX-32. Designed to be an inexpensive tank orientated towards militaries with smaller defence budgets, the AMX-40 featured a lightly armoured hull and good mobility reminiscent of previous French MBTs with a powerful 120 mm cannon. It however failed to attract interest and sales, rendering the project a failure, being discontinued in 1990.[1]


Early history[edit]

As the AMX-32 had failed to attract any potential sales, GIAT decided to produce yet another upgrade, the AMX-40 Main Battle Tank. The development of the AMX-40 began in 1980 as a clean sheet design. In 1983, the first prototype was finished and presented at the Satory Exhibition that year. Two further prototypes were produced in 1984; the fourth and last one was fabricated in 1985. The design was not intended for service in France, but as a successor to the AMX-32, the improved export version of the AMX-30. However, the efforts to obtain foreign orders failed, the most serious potential customer to have considered the design being Spain. It ceased being offered for export in 1990.



The tank was of standard configuration, with the driver at the front, the turret in the center, housing a gunner, commander and loader, and the engine at the rear. Its armament consisted of a GIAT 120 mm CN120-25 G1 smoothbore gun, with an optional coaxial 20 mm M693 autocannon, a derivative of the GIAT designed F2 autocannon. The commander had access to a 7.62 mm AAN-F1 light machine gun, a 7.62 mm NATO conversion of the AA-52 machine gun, that was attached to the commander's cupola, allowing the commander to fire the weapon while inside the vehicle, preventing him from being at risk from small-arms fire. 12 smoke dischargers grouped in two packs of six were located on either side of the turret. The fire control system was the COTAC also used for the AMX-30 B2. As its dimensions were rather small: 6.8 metres (22 ft 4 in) long, 3.36 m (11 ft 0 in) wide and 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) high at the turret roof, the ammunition load was limited to 40 rounds, with 19 rounds stored in the turret bustle of the tank, under a blowout panel that would allow the tank to survive an ammunition detonation by venting the explosion upwards and out of the tank through the panels. The rest of the rounds were stored in a large rack to the right of the driver. The tank could fire a variety of ammunition loads, including the OCC 120 G1 HEAT round and the OFL 120 G1 APFSDS round. The tank was powered by a 1,100 horsepower (820 kW) Poyaud V12X diesel engine coupled to an automatic ZF transmission. The number of road wheels per side was increased from the five used on the AMX-32 to six.


The weight was limited to 43 metric tonnes. Though this, in combination with the powerful engine, ensured an excellent mobility (with 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) maximum road speed and 50 km/h (31 mph) cross country speed) and a low operating cost, it featured limited protection. The front turret armour utilised a pure steel construction, featuring spaced armour consisting of a frontal plate of high hardness rolled armour and a rear plate of rolled homogeneous armour separated by an air gap. The purpose of spaced armour was to allow for the projectile to be deformed by the frontal initial plate and lose kinetic energy while traversing the air gap, reducing its effect against the rear plate. This provided equivalent protection to much thicker plates of steel at a great weight reduction. The frontal hull armour was composite. Despite the armour afforded to the AMX-40, it was still considered light by late Cold War standards, especially when compared to NATO contemporaries such as the M1 Abrams, Leopard 2 and Challenger 1. The armour could not effectively stop Soviet munitions fired by tanks such as the T-72 and T-80.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AMX-40 Main Battle Tank (MBT)". Military Factory. Archived from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. ^ "AMX-40 Prototype main battle tank". Military Today. Retrieved 11 November 2018.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]