The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1952 to 1987. It served with the French Army, as the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51, and was exported to more than 26 other nations. Named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes, and featuring a tough and reliable chassis, it was fitted with an oscillating turret built by GIAT Industries (now Nexter) with revolver type magazines, which were also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. Including prototypes and export versions, over a hundred variants exist, including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions.
The tank was designed at the Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) in 1946 to meet a requirement for an air-portable vehicle to support paratroopers. The first prototype ran from 1948. The compact chassis had torsion bar suspension with five road-wheels and two return rollers; the engine runs the length of the tank on the right side, with the driver on the left. It features an uncommon two-part FL-10 oscillating turret, where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. The turret is set to the rear of the vehicle and holds the commander and gunner.
The original 75 mm SA 50 gun was loaded by an automatic loading system fed by two six-round magazines located in on either side of the automatic loader in the turret’s bustle. The 12 rounds available in the drum magazines meant that the crew could engage targets quickly; however, once those rounds were expended, the vehicle commander and gunner could either manually refill them from within the turret or retreat to cover and reload shells from outside the vehicle through hatches above.
Production began at ARE (Atelier de Construction Roanne) in 1952, with the first tanks delivered the following year. In 1964, production was transferred to Creusot-Loire at Chalon-sur-Saône, as ARE switched to the production of the AMX-30 MBT, and the numbers produced declined significantly.