Willys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Willys Hotchkiss JeepsWillys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Diary
 

Development of the AML
20/01/2012
 

THE DESIGN / SPECIFICATION

The AML took its engine design roughly from the EBR with a 4 (not 12) cylinder, flat, air-cooled engine (rather similar to two VW engines harnessed together) The engine was rear mounted as in the 178 and it had the large run flat tyres as seen on the EBR and 175. It uses 4 separate driven wheels on coil springs (as per the EBR) but used mechanical steering and braking systems as apposed to hydraulics.  It improved on the design of the Ferret armoured car by encorporating a ‘v’ shaped floor to the hull (to dissipate mine strikes) and gave the hull a further two escape hatches/ doors, so the crew could exit the vehicle without having to climb out over the turret.  The vehicle also was able to carry greater armourment, more communication devices and had a requirement for a crew of three – one driver, a loader and a commander.

The engine was 2 litres in displacement and produced 89 bhp, enough to propel the 4.8 tonne vehicle up to a road speed of over 90 km/r – 65/70 mph.

The air-cooled alloy engine is harnessed to the gearbox  through a centrifugal clutch with electromagnetic control – so eliminating the need for a clutch pedal. The gear box is in effect two, both transversely mounted and in series (see picture to right). This gives one reverse and six forward gears – across high and low ratio. The complex design of running gear drives each wheel independently.  To that effect if both wheels on one side of the vehicle lose adhesion – they cannot spin, but reduce their speed and rotate at the same speed of the other wheels – it is in effect a limited sip dif – but without the use of an axle or drive shafts (therefore  eliminating transmission ‘wind up’ and reducing tyre wear)  The AML also leveraged a revolutionary new design for bullet proof/ run flat tyres by not utilising stiff outer tyre walls, but having an internal reduced size inner tube,  with cavities filled with inert gas.

PRODUCTION

The first AMLs produced were fitted with a breech loading mortar and two 7.5mm machine guns.(see second picture to right)  This specification was inspired by experiences of counterinsurgency.  Soon further variants were developed  replacing the two 7.5mm guns with the utilitarian .50 Browning heavy machine gun.  There were also turrets with 20mm weapons to provide anti aircraft capability, Entac anti tank guided missles, and finally the very successful larger turreted AML 90 carrying a 90mm smooth bore gun with coaxial 7.5mm machine gun (see third picture to right). There were in total 10 turret variants – but all based on the same basic hull and running gear.

The vehicle was exported to over 45 countries (!) and is still in day to day service in Morocco, Southern Ireland and many central African states. The design was so successful it was built under licence in South Africa and this modified version, that was slightly larger and utilised a ford petrol engine, was named the ELAND.(see fourth picture to right)

 In an effort to make the vehicle more robust and more economical, many were transplanted with diesel engines, necessitating the rebuilding of the rear engine compartment to accommodate the new water cooling system.(see fifth picture to right) To this date the rebuild process is still commercially viable and the Panhard can be upgraded with disk brakes, NBC protection, better night fighting capability and superior weapon systems – all for the price of a small semi detatched house. Infact ‘as new’ Panhards are still offered at world arms fairs to this day, as viable weapons systems for standing armies.(see last picture to right)

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Archives