The 155 mm self-propelled gun Mk F3 was developed in the early 1950s by the French Army to replace their American M41 Gorilla 155mm self-propelled guns. The Mk F3 is the smallest and lightest 155mm motorized gun carriage ever produced, and because of its size and low cost it has found considerable success on the export market. Constructed on a modified AMX-13 light tank chassis, the Mk F3 is novel in incorporating room inside for only two of the eight required crewmen (the others riding in support vehicles). This allows the 155mm gun to be placed on a smaller chassis than that employed by other armies, but exposes the outside crew members to arms fire.
The main armament of the MK F3 is composed by a 155 mm gun, mounted to the chassis of an AMX-13. There is no turret. The 155 mm gun was designed by the Atelier de Construction de Tarbes (ATS), and the chassis by the Atelier de Construction Roanne (ARE). Integration of the gun with the chassis and all firing trials were undertaken by the Etablissement d'Etudes et de Fabrications d'Armement de Bourges (EFAB). The F3 fired the standard 155mm high-explosive projectile, and is also capable of firing the smoke, illumination and rocket-assisted rounds. The effective range is 20,050 m with 43.75 kg HE rounds.
The hull of the Mk F3 is of all-welded steel armour measuring 10 to 20mm, providing the two occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. The layout is conventional, with the driver's compartment at the front on the left, engine compartment to the right and the 155mm gun above at the rear. A splashboard is mounted at the front of the hull to stop water from rushing up the glacis plate when the vehicle is fording streams.
The torsion bar suspension consists of five single rubber-tyred road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front and the fifth roadwheel acting as the idler. There are three track-return rollers. The first and last road wheel stations have hydraulic shock-absorbers. The steel tracks can be fitted with rubber pads if required. The AMX Mk F3 is powered by SOFAM Model 8Gbx petrol engine, developing 250 horsepower.
A replacement road wheel is often carried on the glacis plate. The driver has a single-piece hatch that opens to the left, and is provided with three daylight periscopes, the centre one of which is replaceable by an image intensification (or thermal) periscope for night driving. The commander is seated behind the driver and has a two-piece hatch that opens to either side. The commander is also provided with three daylight periscopes. Stowage containers are provided along each side of the upper part of the hull. Standard equipment includes a loudspeaker and a cable reel with 400 m of cable.
One 155 mm gun. a
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GIAT Nexter Systems
2 + 4 soldiers
Protection against small arms firing and shell splinters.