Spanish AMX-30/Leopard Hybrid

Authors: Vollketten and Walter_Sobchak

Silentstalker: Hello everyone. Today, we are going to talk about the Spanish Leopard/AMX Hybrid and how it can be a potential tier 10 Spanish branch tank (instead of yet another re-worked M47) – and yes, Spain can actually build a branch. More or less. Enjoy!


Okay so despite sitting on this for some time trying to find out more I have come to a dead end with it. Basically I was chasing up rumours that Spain did some interesting tank development experiments from the late 1970’s to early 1980’s which (if we suspend the arbitrary and rather silly 1970’s cut off for a moment) would fit in game as a tier 10 tank.

Yes that’s right I said it. No I’m not suggesting composite armour etc., but really, the technology should in my opinion be the cut off for inclusion of vehicles rather than a date, which has already got in-game exceptions. Enough of that though for now – back to Spain.

So I should say that I cannot find any concrete source other than internet murmurings of this and a handful of photographs but let’s look at what is ‘known’.

Starting with ~1970 when Spain bought 19 (first 6 delivered in November 1970) AMX-30 tanks from France to replace their ageing fleet of US tanks like the M.41 and M.47. The US and UK had suspended sales of equipment to Spain for political reasons and – as the gun on the Leopard 1 was British – the Germans couldn’t sell the Leopard to Spain at the time. So, Spain had basically had a choice of either the AMX-30 or Leopard 1 and then been forced to take the AMX-30 by the Leopard 1 being unavailable. As of ~1974, Spain actually manufactured the AMX-30 (AMX-30E) under licence still fitted with the 105mm F1 gun and a 680 hp HS-110 Diesel engine.

To say they were renowned for reliability would be a mistake, basically they were terrible, horrible breakdowns and maintenance to such an extent that they not only started to improve the old and ‘replaced’ fleet of M47 and M48 tanks, but with modifications to improve the AMX-30, which in turn led to the Lince tank project.

Now, I am not an engine person but Walter-Sobchak from the NA forums is and he very kindly helped me take a critical look at the engine/transmission choices – his comments are in parenthesis.

Speculative part:

So ‘improvement’ modifications attempted to the AMX-30E fleet they had started with a replacement Teledyne AVI-AY-1750-8 690 hp engine which required the hull to be lengthened to fit the longer engine with the wheels spaced further apart.

Walter: “…the AVI-1790-8 is an air-cooled v-12 gasoline engine built by Continental motors. This was the engine that was in most of the US M-48 tanks (M48A2 and M48A2C models to be exact.) To me, this engine would have been a retrograde step in an AMX-30 since by that time Continental already had a diesel air-cooled v-12 of the same size and similar power…. [the AVDS-1790-2 or 2D] … [the] AVI-1790-8 … was a gasoline engine and already being phased out of US service by the time AMX-30 was introduced. There is nothing wrong with the AVI-1790-8, it was a good engine, but being a gasoline engine it had poor fuel economy compared to a diesel.”

By 1979, the Spanish army, having had the AMX-30E production run completed in Spain, contracted with a firm in Santa Barbara to study a solution to their mechanical problems with the following desired outcomes:

• Better reliability of the engine
• More firepower
• More ballistic protection
• Better fire-fighting equipment

On the prototypes developed, the Spanish army had intended to use the Allison CD-850-6A gearbox, but the apparently the French refused (I have no idea how the French could control this but I assume it to be a contractual matter), so, as a result, the French SESM ENC-200 Minerva gearbox was used for several tests instead.

Prolonged AMX-30 hull



• P-001 known as the ‘NLiO’ made by Chrysler-Spain in Toledo
o Hull lengthened by 300mm
o Hull height increased (not known by exactly how much) at the back by enough that when the turret was turned to the rear the gun could not even depress to zero degrees which is obviously really bad.
o Fitted with a Continental AVDS-1790-2D engine producing 750 hp combined with an automatic Allinson CD-850-6A gearbox
o Using the new hull, engine and gearbox mobility is quoted as ‘excellent’
o Walter: “…Since this was the engine and transmission combo that powered the US M-60 tank, it makes sense that they considered it. The AVDS-1790 is a fairly big engine and the AMX-30 is a very small tank, so I am not surprised at all that they had to expand the hull in order to get it to fit. …The ‘D’ at the end of the designation AVDS-1790-2D indicates that they were using a later ‘RISE’ version of the engine. RISE was a US army “product improvement” program in the 1970′s which introduced some reliability upgrades to the engine.”

• P-002 fitted with an MTU MB-833 Ka-500 6 cylinder water cooled engine producing 750 hp
o Walter: “P-002 has the German MTU MB-833 Ka-500 engine. This engine is part of the MB-830 series. The 833 Ka-500 is the six cylinder member of the 833 family. [as used in the Argentine TAM tank] and VCTP IFV] … the ‘Ka-500’ has “inter air coolers” on the turbo chargers while the [smaller] “Ea-500″ lacks the coolers on the turbo. The larger member of the 830 family, the MB-837 (ten cylinders) is what powers the Leopard 1 tank. All in all, the MB-830 series of engines has been a very successful product.”

• P-003 fitted with a Hispano-Suiza HS-110 engine producing 720hp combined with an Allison CD-850-6A transmission
o Walter: “P-003 has the standard AMX-30 engine but with the Allison CD-850 transmission. This is essentially the same transmission used in the US M-60 tank as well as the Israeli Sho’t Cal (modified Centurion.) This is a very reliable and capable  transmission although it really can’t handle anything above 750HP or a vehicle more than 60 tons or so.… For a tank the weight of an AMX-30, the CD-850 would be perfectly fine.”

• P-004 fitted with a Teledyne-Continental AVDS-1790-2C engine and an Allison CD850-6A transmission
o Walter: “P-004 is almost the same thing as P-001. Same transmission and the engine is almost identical. The only difference between an AVDS-1790-2D and an AVDS-1790-2C is that the ‘D’ version has a 300 amp alternator while the ‘C’ version has an 650 amp alternator. The higher power alternator was added in the mid 70′s when the M60A3 was introduced into US Army service. The improved fire control systems of the M60A3 required more electrical power than the simpler system in the M60A1 (although ‘C’ versions of the engine ended up in M60A1 tanks as well as engines were overhauled. In general, crews liked the more powerful alternator for a variety of reasons.)”

• P-005 fitted the 720hp Hispano-Suiza HS-110 engine but using a RENK RK-304 transmission
o Walter: “This version is the standard engine of the AMX-30 mated with a Renk RK-304 engine. The RK-304 was developed by the German firm Renk specifically for use in foreign tank upgrades. In particular, it was intended for M48, M60 and Centurion upgrades.”

• P-006 ‘N’ – this prototype uses the hull of the AMX-30 mounting the turret of a Leopard 1 (its not clear if the turret rings are the same diameter or were compatible or if some kind of adapter was required. – no photos available of this but I made a conceptualization below.

• P-007 fitted with an MTU-833 engine producing 850hp
o Walter: “[If this refers to the MTU MB-833 Ka-501 then] it is similar to the MTU MB-833 Ka-500 [in P-002], but has more power due to larger cylinder bore (165mm for Ka-500, 170mm for Ka-501) Jane’s AFV retrofit systems 1992-93 identifies this version of the MB-833 as specifically intended for AMX-30 upgrades.”

• P-008 – no details

• P-009 – two prototypes produced:
o First has a new hatch for the loader and a mounting for a Browning machine gun
o Second fitted with a General Motor GM 124-71 OTA water cooled 800 hp engine combined with an Allison model CD-850-6B transmission
o Walter: “[Probably means] the Detroit Diesel 12V-71TA engine… Detroit Diesel is a GM subsidiary. The 71 series was a popular line of diesel engines for trucks and military vehicles. The ‘12V’ in the name refers to the number of cylinders and configuration. These engines were offered as replacement or upgrade engines for a number of tanks such as the M47 and M48. … I am going to guess than the T indicates turbo-charging and that the TA indicates Turbo-charging with after-cooling.”

Conceptualization of P-006 using a Leopard 1 turret and lengthened and raised AMX-30E hull.


So there we are, the sum total so far known it seems about these experiments. I would love to know more so if you know more or have a link please pm me on the NA forums or leave a comment. Overall the experiments appear to have been plausible and to have worked to varying degrees and produced at least one truly unique vehicle; the P-006.

So IF we do ignore the 1970 date (because ‘reasons’), then we genuinely have a very interesting possible vehicle for Tier 10 for the game.

31 thoughts on “Spanish AMX-30/Leopard Hybrid

  1. “program in the 1790′s which introduced some reliability upgrades to the engine.”

    Wow, what an old engine!

  2. “– and yes, Spain can actually build a branch. More or less.”

    Yes, because we need glued up together branch from slightly modified foreign tanks…

    Lets make a branch for every country that owned a tank (even better: thought about owning a tank).

  3. “Yes that’s right I said it. No I’m not suggesting composite armour etc., but really, the technology should in my opinion be the cut off for inclusion of vehicles rather than a date, which has already got in-game exceptions. Enough of that though for now – back to Spain.”

    Volk, technology IS the limiter. WG hasn’t used age for a while now

  4. The biggest problem you can find for that era tanks in Spain (70s) is that it was still under Franco’s dictatorship (democratic government begins in 1978 after he dies in 1975) and all info about that years probably won’t be revealed to companies like WG. 1936-1978 is a “dark age”. Anyway, are you sure it was with a firm IN Santa Barbara? Santa Barbara Company was/is also the Spanish branch for General Dynamics….
    That company was the main ammo manufacturer for Spanish army and police, with several factories in Spain.
    Some names in USA come from Spanish settlements, specially in California area (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego…), that’s why I think it may refer to Santa Barbara company and not a firm in Santa Barbara.
    BTW “Santa Barbara” (Saint Barbara) is the name Spanish sailors give to the the ammo storing room in the ships. I don’t know if the same happens with the tanks…so it could be the ammo rack. ;)

  5. SS, I’d really like to see your version of a spanish branch. Hell, if Spain can enter a full brench, I have hopes for Romania and others. No way, man.

    Let’s see what Spain has to offer:
    Trubia A4 – a piece of junk based on the FT-17. Tier 1? Maybe.
    Landesa – something based on a agricultural tractor.
    Tipo LT – A tank based on the italian Fiat 3000. Could enter at tier 2.
    Verdeja 1 – Tier 3 light tank.
    Verdeja 2 – Tier 3/4 light tank.
    Verdeja 75 mm – Tier 3/4 arty.

    Lince – tier XI/XII medium tank. Yep, too modern.

    And that’s where the fun ends.
    Of course, they had T-26, BT-5, L3/35, Pz. I, Pz. IV, M47 Patton, M48 Patton, AMX 30E, Leopard 2E. As you can see, there’s already a huge gap, even with all the imports. Between Pz. IV and the Pattons, there’s nothing.

    What Spain and spanish WoT players can hope for are a few light tanks as premium in the European branch.

    • yep, mostly a low tier branch, but for wg the branches that doesnt reach high tier have very low priority(hello christie tanks)

  6. While I’m a whole hearted supporter of such a project, one thing I must worry about is that WG will not like it for being too similar to tanks that are or are planned to be in game. There is already some belief that the AMX 30 is too similar to the Leopard 1, and the Spanish AMX-30 with the Leopard turret is a fusion of two very similar tanks. Would it be possible to differentiate it enough to make Wargaming have an incentive to add it in as its own vehicle? While I’m a fan of its inclusion I must worry that they will not be so easily convinced.

    • Not willing to implement too similar tanks ingame…

      Like the russian tier 10 meds that are not implemented because they are too similar…

      Those are even added in the same nation, I guess it wouldnt hurt if the french have a medium tank somewhat like the leopard. It is an important influential french tank after all. Was mass produced unlike many other tanks already in the french tree.

      • I didn’t say anything about the AMX 30, which really does have to come – either it comes or the Leopard gets removed, I don’t care – just about the Spanish version.

        The AMX 30 and the Leopard 1 have some major differences in regards to premium ammunition, tank shape, onboard systems, armor layouts, cupolas, ect. ect. but the Spanish AMX 30 combines most AMX 30 systems and Leopard 1 systems which means tanks that are, despite their differences similar, are extremely akin to each other in this vehicle. So I must worry that WG will not want to include because of such.

          • It does not actually. There are rumors spread around the internet about it having 80mm frontal armor at ~68 degree angles but measurements of it have resulted in values of around 50mm.

  7. Hi everyone. First, sorry for my english. I am spanish. And second, I work with tanks, in special, the Leo 2E in Madrid ( Spain) In my site of work, we have this tank, the hybrid amx 30. The real name is ” El niño” and is a hybrid with amx 30 and M 48 patton. 2 Generals try to make a faster tank, and one build this hybrid. Tomorrow i take a photo and post here.

    And for SS, we have a lot of tank in the museum. Various T26, Ft 17, Fiat Ansaldo, Verdeja, and lot of more. Thx, and sorry for my english. I know only shoot with a real tank. LOL.