Indonesia procured AMX-13 light tanks from France in the 1960s, in addition, added a second batch second-hand but modernized AMX-13s from the Netherlands in the late 1970s.

Despite the lack of any real threat from hostile foreign states, Indonesia maintains a fairly strong tank force in Southeast Asia, notably 103 Leopard 2A4 MBTs, of which 63 was upgraded to the Revolution standard. Indonesia also has a fleet of medium and light tanks consisting of 18 Harimau, a joint product between Indonesia and Turkey. There are also 90 FV101 Scorpion and more than 300 AMX-13 light tanks.

Indonesia procured AMX-13 light tanks from France in the 1960s, in addition, added a second batch second-hand but modernized AMX-13s from the Netherlands in the late 1970s, bringing the total number of Indonesian tanks to about 305. According to Janes, as of 2018 only half of the fleet operational, and the remaining tanks was upgraded and retrofitted with new fire control system and 105mm rifled gun by PT Pindad. It is expected that in the near future AMX-13 will be gradually replaced by Harimau Medium Tank.

The AMX-13 is a fairly successful French light tank, with a total of 7,700 units produced between 1952 and 1987. In addition to serving in the French Army, it was exported to more than 26 other countries. The AMX-13 comes in many variants, the most common being the 75mm, 90mm, and 105mm calibers. Indonesian variants are 75mm and 105mm.

Essentially, the AMX-13 was a conventional tracked armored vehicle mounting a unique “oscillating” turret, where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. Named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes, the AMX-13 has a length of 6.36 m, a width of 2.51 m, and a height of 2.35 m. The crew of 3 includes: Commander, gunner and driver.

What makes the AMX-13 special is its oscillating turret. It is made from two parts. Lower part moves horizontally, while the upper part moves with the main gun vertically. The main gun has an autoloader and is fed from two revolving magazines, each holding 6 rounds. Magazines are located in the turret bustle. Ammunition is loaded through the turret roof and cases are ejected through an opening located in the rear of the turret. Autoloader provides the AMX-13 with a rate of fire in 10 rounds per minute.

On the most powerful Indonesian AMX-13 version with a 105mm main gun, using the same ammunition as the AMX-30 main battle tank. At a range of 2 km it could penetrate armor 360 mm thick. Secondary armament of the AMX-13 was a 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun, which was later replaced by a 7.62 mm machine gun.

The AMX-13 protection was quite weak compared to its firepower. It was made of regular bulletproof reinforced steel sheets, with a frontal thickness of about 40 mm, whereas the sides and turret were 20-25 mm, the rear 15 mm, while the turret top, hull deck and bottom were only 10 mm thick. Only the frontal armor was able to withstand heavy machine-gun and small autocannon projectiles, the rest of the tank being vulnerable to most projectiles. The maximum speed was 60 km/h, reserve sufficient for nearly 400 km.

The Indonesian AMX-13s first saw combat during 30 September Movement in 1965 where it was deployed to secure Jakarta from the attempted coup. The Indonesian AMX-13/75 tanks and the VCI variants participated in 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor. Indonesian AMX-13s also participated in 2003–2004 Indonesian offensive in Aceh.

Indonesian AMX-13s are old and need to be replaced. Its successor will be Harimau. However, the number of domestic medium tanks produced by Pindad is negligible, and until then the AMX-13 will still play an important role in Indonesia’s ground forces.


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