The Amx-30 Tank

French | medium

The French AMX-30 Tank model AMX-30A Prototype

The French AMX-30 Tank model AMX-30A Prototype

The AMX-30 Tank, is a former medium tank, developed and manufactured by the French State company Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX).

Production was swapped in 1971 to the newely formed state company “Giat”.

The AMX-30 is a generic name given to the AMX-30B, which was the main production model. It served with the French Army well into the 1990’s in upgraded models and was well exported.

Its chassis/hull was used to form a family of vehicles.

AMX-30 Tank Development


In the post war 1940’s and 1950’s, France had successfully developed the Light AMX-13 Tank, but had struggeled to finalize the design of the AMX-50 medium/heavy tank.

In 1953 a French led program to jointly develop a new medium tank was established with Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg under the acronym “FINBEL”. When Germany later joined the program in 1954, this was changed to “FINABEL” (the “A” standing for Allemagne or rather “Germany” in French).


Known as the “Europa-Panzer” (European Tank), the common design requirements of the new tank was completed in 1957. The principal designers were Germany and France, with design input from the specialists of the other member countries.

This mean’t France would no longer pursue the Auto-Loader concept and return to a 4xman crew. The new tank would focus on the attributes of firepower and mobility. The main gun would be a rifled 105mm calibre and the overall weight would be just 30 tonnes, due to relativly thin steel armour.

This low weight would increase the power-to-weight ratio and with its low silhoutte, afforded the tank a high level of mobility compared to the British Centurion or other meduim tanks.

Both countries built several prototypes of their version of the proposed Europa-Panzer, which each country hoped would be selected as the final design by all members of the program. The 1st French prototype was completed in 1960, followed by several more.

1963 was a critical year in the Europa-Panzer project. The relationship and status of France in NATO had changed, France also wished to use its own 105mm main gun, where as West Germany had already purchased the British L7 105mm main gun and ammunition, which the French did not want to use.

Germany formally withdrew from the program in the later part of 1963, with both it and France pursing their own national tanks as further developments of their Europa-Panzer designs.

French AMX-30 tank prototype

French AMX-30 tank prototype


The French design was now known as the AMX-30. The initial prototypes had a larger dome shaped turret, but this was later changed for a less blotted, slicker shape currently used by the AMX-30 series, on later prototypes.

These have been reffered to as the AMX-30A in some publications. Its understood that these prototypes were trialled not only by France, but were used in comparitive trialls against Germany’s design, which was now called “Leopard”. Results of these trialls showed that the Leopard had slight improvements in mobility.

AMX-30 Tank Models


French AMX-30B Pre-modernization

The AMX-30B was the finallised design and production model. It was selected for service in 1963 by the French Army and entered service in 1966. Using the slicker second turret, the prototype’s SOFAM engines were replaced by a Hispano-Suiza HS 110. TALK ABOUT FCS

AMX-30B Modernized

During the AMX-30B production, a stabalization system was added to the 105mm main gun and the coaxial Machine Gun was replaced with a 20mm chain gun. All earlier AMX-30B were upgraded.


AMX-30 B2 Tank

The second production model, it was unveiled in 1979 and featured signifacnt improvements to the Fire Control System as well as a more reliable powerpack (engine & transmission).

The AMX-30B2 new powepack consisted of the SESM ENC 200 semi-automatic transmission and an improved version of the original engine, the HS-110-2. Read More …


AMX-30B2 FORAD FORAD tanks are AMX-30 series tanks modified to resemble Russian tanks for training purposes. They are used as part of the mock opposing force and fitted with the DX175 Combat Fire Simulator System. This is made up of sensors and lasers to replicate tank fire.


AMX-30B Master Image AMX-30B2 Gulf War #1 AMX-30B2 Gulf War – Modified for the French Army as part of their contribution to the Coalition during the 1991 Gulf War, this version was fitted with additional side skirts and soft kill activation protection system. Read More … AMX-30B2 Brenus AMX-30B2 BRENUS – BRENUS is a post Gulf War upgrade implemented in limited numbers for French Army rapid deployment forces. It focused on increased protection with the applique Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) and improved soft kill Active Protection. Other minor external modifications to accommodatethe the applique ERA. Read More … AMX-30B2 Repower – From 1998 onwards, the French Army aquired 500 Renault Mack E9 750 hp engines. The number employed and those kept in reserve is not clear.

AMX-30 Stealth Tank

AMX-30 Stealth Tank An experimental tank based on the AMX-30B2 commisioned by the French DGA. Using radar absorbing materials to form a new external shape that resembled the now Leclerc Main Battle Tank.

AMX-30 Tank Export Models





AMX-30 Tank Firepower

The AMX-30 tank series uses the French 105mm Modèle F1 Rifled main gun. Also known as the CN-105-F1, it is a rather unique rifled main gun, in that France developed a HEAT round for it, where as the British L7 (including those built under licence) used HESH rounds.

This is because the imparted spin from the rifling breaks up the shaped charge of the HEAT round on impact. The OCC 105 F1 HEAT round overcame this by suspending the shaped charge from the shells outcasing using ball bearings. It could penetrate between 360 to 400mm of steel. NEXTER (formly Giat) still produce modern 105mm HEAT rounds. The main gun can also fire APFSDS, HE and illumination rounds.

The main gun had a thermal sleeve to regulate the barrels temperature, but is missing the fume extractor in the centre of the barrell.

The  commander has a Machine Gun mounted on his cupola that can be traversed and operated from with inside the turret. It has a spot light and a curved ammuntion box that runs along the top edge of the cupola.

The AMX-30 series has a coaxial mount that can be fitted with either a .50 cal Machine Gun or a 20mm chain gun. The adoption of a 20mm chain gun mean’t the gunner could successfully engage lighter armored vehicles and APC’s without having to waste 105mm rounds.

The mount has an additional 20 degree elevation over the main gun, theoretically allowing it to engage low flying anti-tank helicopters.

AMX-30 Tank Protection

During the Europa-Panzer program, it was established that due to the high effectivness of modern (at the time) shaped charge weapons (including HEAT rounds) that the design of the tank would not require thick heavy armor, but rely on improved mobility and a low silhoutte.

The AMX-30 tank series has a basic sloping steel armor. The turret is a cast section, whilst the hull is welded sections of rolled steel, with the upper glacis set at an angle of no less than 70 degrees and sides at 24 degrees. The frontal armor is just 80mm thick.

A Nucluer Biological Chemical (NBC) system is also fitted as standard.

The AMX-30B2 would be later upgraded with a French Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) designated “BRENUS”.

AMX-30 Tank Mobility

The AMX-30B tank was powered by a Hispano-Suiza HS-110 generating 720hp. This multi-fuelled, 12 cylinder, water-cooled diesel engine was coupled to a G.H.B.200C centrifugal clutch type transmission.

The engine and transmission were replaced during the AMX-30B2 upgrade with the SESM ENC 200 semi-automatic transmission and an improved version of the original engine, the HS-110-2. This was fitted with new turbochargers resulting in changes to the HP (Horse Power) output, which varies from publication to publication.

The final engine model adopted by the French Army was the 750hp Renault Mack E9. Only 500 engines were purchased by the Army as the Leclerc Main Battle Tank was entering service. The AMX-30 series uses  torsion bar suspension and x2 exhausts located on either side of the hull rear.

Like the Leopard 1, the AMX-30 series was fitted with a deep wading snorkel kit for river crossings. Two distinct plates were kept secured to the hulls front that were used to cover the engine air vents on the rear of the engine deck when the snorkel kit was added.

AMX-30 Tank Variants



AMX-30 Tank Operators

France The first of 50 vehicles initially ordered for the French Army were delivered in January 1982. The Army recieved a total of 166 newly built AMX-30B2 and 493 upgraded AMX-30B upgraded to the B2 standard.

AMX-30B Tank Specifications

Main Gun 125mm Smoothbore 2A46M-1 Elevation -5 to +14
Secondary Weapons x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG
Ammunition Storage x38 125mm, x1250 7.62mm, x300 12.7mm
Engine 1100hp GTD-1000TF
Transmission Manual (5 forward/ 1 reverse gears)
Top Road Speed 70 km/h
Road Range 335 km
Fuel Capacity 1840 Litres
Vertical Obstacle 1m
Water Capability 1.8m Fording, 5m with snorkel kit
Trench Crossing 2.85m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 40%
Length Gun Forward 9.65m
Length Hull ?m
Width 3.58m
Height 2.21m
Ground Clearance 0.45m
Weight 43,700kg aka 43.7 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Slope/Laminate/Explosive Reactive
Active Protection Systems No
Commander Yes
Gunner Yes
Driver Yes
Additional Crew
Troops Carried n/a