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Saturday 19 October 2019

Armoured cars go out with a bang

Don Lavery

It was a vehicle that protected Irish troops on dangerous peace missions around the world for more than five decades.

But now the fleet of four-wheeled French Panhard AML armoured cars, which served on missions as diverse as Lebanon, Liberia and at home during the Troubles, has been retired.

They were first bought in 1964 after Irish cavalry troopers had to fight modern armoured cars used by mercenaries in the Congo using obsolete home-built versions.

They first served in Cyprus in 1964 and their last mission was in Liberia, where they were used in a reconnaissance role.

The Panhard AML 90 had a 90mm anti-tank gun. Other versions used a 20mm cannon and both were upgraded in South Africa in the 1990s.

They have now been replaced in the Cavalry Corps by three different vehicles, two versions of the eight-wheeled Mowag armoured vehicle armed with heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and cannon, and the four-wheeled Light Tactical Armoured Vehicle (LTAV) carrying machine guns and grenade launchers.

Irish Independent

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