|Manufacturer:||Societe de Constructions Panhard et Levassor|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Wheeled armoured personnel carrier|
The M3 armoured personnel carrier was designed as a private venture by the now Panhard General Defense with the first prototype completed in 1969. This had square-cut sides with a single door in each side of the hull and twin doors in the hull rear. It was intended that each door would have a single circular firing port. Mounted on the top of the hull was a Nexter Systems (previously Giat Industries) one-person manually operated turret armed with a 7.5 mm machine gun.
The first production vehicle, with a redesigned hull incorporating three hatches either side of the troop compartment, was completed in 1971. The automotive components of the M3 are 95 per cent identical to those of the AML series of light armoured vehicles of which over 4,800 have been built. The M3 APC was subsequently replaced in production by the Buffalo fully described in a separate entry.
By mid-2007, total production of the Buffalo and M3 APC amounted to 1,222 vehicles, all of which were for export. There has been no recent production of this vehicle.
Bosnia-Herzegovina has taken delivery of a quantity of Panhard General Defense VAT, VTS and VPC vehicles from an existing user rather than direct from Panhard General Defense. Recent information indicated that these vehicles were supplied from a country in the Middle East. Description
The hull of the Panhard General Defense M3 is made of all-welded steel armour with the driver seated at the front of the vehicle. He has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right in which there are three day periscopes, the centre one replaceable by an image intensification periscope for night driving.
The Panhard General Defense Model 4 HD engine is immediately behind the driver with the air inlet louvres above and to the rear of the driver, air outlet louvres on either side of the roof and the two exhaust pipes running along the top of the hull, one on each side.
The gear casing is crosswise and consists of two gearboxes in one coupled on both sides of the bevel pinion. The low-range gearbox comprises two low gears, top and one reverse for use in rough country and the high-range gearbox has three low ranges and one overdrive. When the low-range gearbox is in direct drive, the four ratios of the high-range box command the four upper gears of the range (6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd). Drive is transmitted from the main gearbox to the two lateral boxes, which transmit power to the front wheels by pinions and to the rear wheels by drive shafts that run along the inside of the hull.
Ball-type differentials in the gearbox and in each of the rear lateral transfer boxes prevent wheel slip. The suspension at each wheel station consists of coil springs and hydropneumatic shock-absorbers acting on the suspension arms of the wheel mechanism. The tyres have puncture-proof Hutchinson inner tubes.
There are four doors in the M3, one in each side of the hull and two in the rear. The rear doors both have a circular firing port. Along the upper part of each side of the hull are three hatches hinged at the top that can be locked open. When being used as an APC, a maximum of 10 men can be carried in addition to the crew of two, or it can carry 1,360 kg of cargo.
There are two circular hatches in the roof, one behind the engine compartment and a second one at the rear with a single-piece hatch cover that opens forwards and is normally fitted with a Nexter Systems STR rail armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun. A wide range of armament installations could be mounted on the forward position; typically these are a 7.62 mm or a 12.7 mm machine gun, but some users have fitted a turret-mounted 20 mm cannon.
The basic M3 is fully amphibious without preparation. It is propelled in the water by its wheels. Steering, when afloat, is by turning the front wheels as on land. Optional equipment includes an air conditioning system and smoke grenade dischargers. Variants
The M3/VDA (Véhicule de Défense Antiaérienne) was a joint development for the export market by Panhard (responsible for the chassis) and the now Thales. It consists essentially of a modified M3 (4 × 4) chassis fitted with the now Thales turret armed with twin 20 mm cannon and a day sight, with the option of an RA 20 series radar on the turret rear. One M3/VDA with the radar can control two other systems without the radar.
The first prototype of the M3/VDA was completed in December 1973 and, following trials, production commenced in April 1975. It is known to be in service with Côte d'Ivoire (6), Niger (10) and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) (48).
Full details of this system are given in Jane's Land-Based Air Defence. This system is no longer marketed.
This model has a crew of five (commander, driver and three mechanics) and equipment fitted includes a pulley block with struts and tackle, cutting equipment, a generator, benches, a vice, towbars, tow cables and a complete range of tools.
This model has additional communications equipment, two additional batteries and map tables. Its basic crew consists of commander, assistant commander, driver and two radio operators plus command staff. Armament normally comprises a 7.62 mm machine gun on a Nexter Systems STB mount.
This model is essentially the M3 APC fitted with a removable hydraulically-operated dozer blade at the front of the hull and has a crew of six consisting of commander/gunner, driver, pioneer section commander and three pioneers.
This is fitted with a front-mounted obstacle clearing blade and other equipment for use in the internal security role.
This model has a crew of three (driver and two orderlies) and can carry four stretcher patients, six sitting wounded or two stretcher patients and three sitting wounded. It is unarmed and has a large single-piece door in the rear of the hull that is hinged on the left. Medical equipment carried includes oxygen, blood transfusion and a complete first aid outfit.
The M3 can also be used to carry electronic warfare equipment. This model is called the M3/VSB, being fitted with a variety of radar systems such as the RASIT battlefield surveillance radar or the now Thales RA-20S air surveillance radar. The latter is used with the M3/VDA twin 20 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun system when this is not equipped with its own individual radar.
The Israeli company of Saymar have completed development and testing of a new automotive upgrade package for the widely deployed French Panhard General Defense M3 (4 × 4) APC.
As originally built the M3 was fitted with a Panhard 4HD 4-cylinder air-cooled petrol engine developing 90 hp coupled to a manual transmission.
Saymar have replaced this old petrol engine with a more fuel efficient Toyota 2L-T diesel engine developing 102 hp which also has reduced operational costs and maintenance.
It is also claimed to provide a higher power-to-weight ratio, increased acceleration and improved mobility. The power pack also incorporates specially designed engine anchors, leak free oil tube joints and electrical disconnects which enables rapid engine replacement in the field.
Other sub-systems upgraded include the manual transmission, new engine cooling system, new and improved electrical system, new disc breaking system all round, hydraulic powered steering, new turret electrical system, communications and intercom system.
The reinforced transmission features new dampened flywheel, new engine supports, new transmission ratio in the gearbox and engine gearbox adapter.
A new and improved cooling system is installed based on a closed liquid cycle. The system includes a surge tank, radiator, hydraulic operating and controlling system and new fan.
All new electrical components include more reliable electrical wire bundles, electric voltage regulator, 24 V 65 A generator, 24 V starter, new drivers panel and new instrumental panel.
This upgrade can be carried out in the user's own facilities with the aid of kits provided by Saymar or the company could carry out the work in its own facilities. This upgrade package could also be combined with a general overhaul of the vehicle to bring it up to an almost new build standard.
Optional equipment for the M3 upgrade depends on the variant but includes an air conditioning system, auxiliary power unit, navigation system, communications, siren and roof-mounted flashing light, winch, additional lights and other specialised equipment.