Left side view of Panhard M3 armored personnel carrier.
Source: Unknown author - © Copyright lies with original owner
The M3 is an armored personnel carrier of French origin. It was developed in the late 1960's by Panhard and complements the succesful AML reconnaissance vehicle with an armored personnel carrier based on the same chassis. The M3 is a low cost vehicle and rather basic for Western standards.
The M3 is derived from the AML reconnaissance vehicle and the 4x4 chassis share 95% of the automotive components. This reduces costs for nations operating both types of vehicles. In the M3 the driver is seated at the front in the middle with the engine right behind him. The infantry compartment is at the rear and the infantry can access the vehicle by means of doors in both sides and the rear. On each side there are three hatches that serve as both windows and firing ports.
Many M3's are fitted with the 7.5mm AAT-52 or 7.62mm AAT-NF1 machine guns on a pintle or rail mount or in a one man turret. Alternatively the 7.62mm MAG and 12.7mm M2HB can be fitted. Few vehicles have also been fitted with a 20mm M621 autocannon for use against ground targets. The twin 20mm VDAA anti-aircraft system has also been mounted on the M3 chassis.
The steel hull protects the crew and infantry from small arms fire and shell splinters. An NBC system is lacking and the four smoke grenade dischargers are optional.
The M3 has a good mobility on roads and dirt roads, but lacks the cross country capabilities of a tracked vehicle. The maximum speed is 90 km/h on road and its limited fuel consumption results in a good range. The M3 is amphibious and propelled in the water by its wheels.
Although a French product the M3 was never adopted by the French military. The M3 was produced for export and over 30 nations acquired it. These are mostly ex-French colonies and other nations with good ties to France.
M3 wheeled armored personnel carrier in Irish service.
Source: forum.irishmilitaryonline.com - © Copyright lies with original owner
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