Panhard M3 Armored personnel carrier
|Panhard M3 from 1971 to 1986|
|Type||Armored personnel carrier|
|Place of origin||France|
|Weight||6,100 kilograms (13,400 lb)|
|Length||445 centimetres (175 in)|
|Width||240 centimetres (94 in)|
|Height||248 centimetres (98 in)|
|Engine||Panhard 4 HD
|Payload capacity||1,360 kilograms (3,000 lb)|
|Ground clearance||35 centimetres (14 in)|
|Fuel capacity||165 litres (44 US gal)|
|600 kilometres (370 mi)|
|Speed||90 kilometres per hour (56 mph)|
The Panhard M3 VTT (French: Véhicule de Transport de Troupes), armoured personnel carrier was designed as a private venture with the first prototype completed in 1969. The prototype had a single door in each side of the hull and twin doors in the hull rear. Mounted on the top of the hull was a Giat Industries one-person manually operated turret armed with a 7.5 mm AA-52 machine gun.
The first production vehicle, had a redesigned hull incorporating three hatches on either side of the troop compartment, and was completed in 1971. The Panhard M3 armoured personnel carrier shares 95% of its working parts with the Panhard AML armoured car, encouraging many countries to employ both the M3 and the AML in order to reduce operational costs.
The M3 VTT was subsequently replaced in production by the Panhard VCR. It remains one of the most common Western-built wheeled armoured personnel carriers in the world.
The hull of the Panhard M3 is made of all-welded steel armour. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle and has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right and in which there are three day periscopes. The centre one can be replaced by an image intensification periscope for night driving. The Panhard 4 HD engine is behind the driver.
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. The Panhard M3 can carry 10 troops in addition to its 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. 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 at a speed of 4 km/h, but it can operate only in lakes and rivers. Steering, when afloat, is by turning the front wheels as on land. Optional equipment includes an air conditioning system and smoke grenade dischargers.
Saymar M3 APC
The Israeli company of Saymar have completed development and testing of a new automotive upgrade package for the Panhard M3. Saymar have replaced the old petrol engine with a more fuel-efficient Toyota 2L-T diesel engine developing 102 hp. Other sub-systems upgraded include the manual transmission, new engine cooling system, new and improved electrical system, new disc braking system all round, hydraulic powered steering, new turret electrical system, communications and intercom system. 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.
Irish army upgrade
In 1983 Irish army tested a M3 fitted with a 140 hp Peugeot V6 petrol engine. The test was successful, and 14 Irish Panhard M3s were rebuilt with the new engine as well as a new Citroën braking system, a 6-speed manual gearbox and new electrics.
- TL.2.1.80 turret with twin 7.62 mm FN MAG machine guns.
- TL.52.3.S turret with one 7.62 mm machine gun and three LRAC F1 anti-tank rocket launcher.
- TL.52.S turret with one 7.62 mm machine gun and one LRAC F1 anti-tank rocket launcher.
- CB.127 ring mount for 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun.
- STB ring mount where hatch opens forward to form a shield with one 7.62 mm machine gun.
- CB.20 M621 ring mount with 20 mm autocannon.
- HOT: Equipped with four HOT long-range anti-tank missile.
- MAS T 20.13.621 turret with AME 20 mm autocannon.
At least 60 M3 VTTs were delivered to the Lebanese Army in 1970-73 and saw considerable action during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), with some being loaned to the Internal Security Forces (ISF) in 1976. Following the collapse of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in January that year, a significant number of these vehicles fell into the hands of the competing militias, notably the Lebanese Arab Army (LAA), the Army of Free Lebanon (AFL) Al-Mourabitoun, Kataeb Regulatory Forces (KRF), and the Tigers Militia.A few M3 VTTs were again captured by the Lebanese Forces (LF) militia from the Lebanese Army during the Elimination War in 1988-90, and remained in service with the LF Military Police corps until the end of the Civil War in October 1990.