Design work on the AMX-13 light tank began in 1946 at the Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux and the first prototype was completed two years later. Production was undertaken at the Atelier de Construction Roanne (ARE) from 1952, with the first production tanks completed the following year. At one time production of the tank was running at 45 units per month but in the early 1960s production of the whole family was transferred to the civilian company of Creusot-Loire at Chalon sur Saone as the ARE was tooling up for production of the AMX-30 MBT. The basic chassis has been used for a wide range of vehicles including self-propelled guns and anti-aircraft systems. Without changing the basic design, many improvements were announced at the 1985 Satory Exhibition of Military Equipment. These included a new power pack consisting of a diesel engine coupled to a fully automatic transmission and the replacement of the torsion bar suspension by a new hydropneumatic suspension for improved cross-country mobility.

The armoured vehicle division of Mecanique Creusot-Loire is now part of Giat Industries and is responsible for after sales support for all members of the AMX-13 family of light armoured vehicles, as well as for the provision of upgrade packages. The AMX-13 is no longer being marketed by Giat Industries. It is estimated that total production of the AMX-13 family of light tracked vehicles, including the light tank, amounted to 7,700 units, of which around 3,400 were exported. The AMX-13 light tank was phased out of service with the French Army many years ago.

Design Variations:

AMX-13 [Cargo] - VTT based cargo vehicle AMX 13 [DTT] - AMX 13 avec tourelle Chaffee converted into a driver training tank AMX-13 [Giat] - AMX-13 light tank upgraded by Giat Industries AMX-13 [LAR-16] - Venezualan MBRL version AMX-13 [Simulator] - Training equipment AMX-13 [Training Tank] - AMX-13 with turret removed and used for driver training AMX-13/90 aka Modele 52 - FL-12 turret refitted with the F3 90 mm gun AMX-13/90 LRF - Fitted with laser rangefinder AMX-13/105 - Upgraded and export version of the Modele 58 with thermal sleeve and revised hull front AMX-13/FL-10 aka Char de 13 tonnes modele 51 (AMX) - High-velocity 75mm Gun and 2 top rollers AMX-13/FL-10 aka Char de 13 tonnes modele 51 (AMX) - Revised stowage and fitted with 4 top rollers AMX-13/FL-11 aka AMX-13e - Experimental variant with short-barreled 75mm in FL-11 turret AMX-13/FL-12 aka Modele 58 - Fitted with 105 mm Gun and used by the Netherlands AMX-13/FL-12 [Modernised] - Fitted with searchlight and FN MAG machine-guns AMX-13/FL-15 - Dutch FL12 version refitted with an FL-15 Turret AMX-13 avec Rapace 14 - Fitted with mbrl AMX-13 avec tourelle A14 Fitted with german HS-30 turret AMX-13 avec obusier de 105 mm sous tourelle - Fitted with 105mm howitzer barrel AMX 13 avec tourelle Chaffee - Some vehicles were fitted with the turret of the M24 Chaffee AMX-13 Canon de bitube de 20mm - Twin 20mm in welded turret without bustle AMX-13 Dépannage Mle 55 aka Char De Depannage AMX Modele 55, AMX-D - Recovery version AMX-13 GTI - Improved suspension by Krauss-Maffei AMX-13 HOT - Fitted with HOT atgm launchers AMX-13 Model 1987 - Late production version AMX-13 mod.56 [81mm mortar carrier] - Belgian Army version AMX-13 mod.56 [command post] - Belgian Army version AMX-13 mod.56 [ENTAC atgm] - Belgian Army version with rear-mounted ENTAC missile launcher AMX-13 mod.56 VCI - Belgian Army version with a .30 Browning mounted in a CALF38 turret. AMX-13 mod.56 [cargo] - Belgian Army version AMX-13 PDP aka Char Poseur De Pont - scissors-type bridgelayer AMX-13 PDP Mle 51 aka Char Poseur De Pont Modele 51 - Scissors-type bridgelayer AMX-13 PDP Mle F1 aka Char Poseur De Pont Modele F1 - Scissors-type bridgelayer AMX-13 RATAC - VTT based RATAC ground surveillance radar vehicle AMX-13S - SAE rebuild of standard AMX-13 AMX-13 SM1 - Version in use with Singaporean Armed Forces AMX-13 T75 aka Char Lance SS-11 - Fitted with SS-11 atgm launchers AMX-13 T75 avec TCA - Fitted with an electronic guidance system for the missiles AMX-13 THS - Prototype fitted with hydrostatic transmission AMX-13V - CLI upgraded AMX-13/90 for Venezualan Army AMX-13 VCPC - Argentinian Army version of the AMX-13 VCI AMX-DCA aka AMX-13/S530 - SPAAG version armed with twin 30mm cannon AMX-DCA 30 aka Bitube de 30mm anti-arien autmoteur, Oeil Noir - SPAAG version with radar fitted AMX DOZER - Turretless dozer blade equipped version AMX-GWT - Lit; GeWonden Transport. Dutch army version of the VCTB AMX-LT - VTT based artillery fire control vehicle AMX-PC - VTT based command Post AMX-VCA - VTT based 155 mm Support Vehicle designed to accompany the Mk F3 spg AMX-VCG - Combat engineer version AMX-VCI aka AMX-VTT - Fitted with turret mounted light machine-gun AMX-VCI 12.7 - Version with 50 calibre HMG used by France and the Netherlands AMX-VCI M-56 - Fitted with Canon de 20 mm AMX-VCPM de 81 - VTT based 81mm Mortar Carrier AMX-VCPM de 120 - VTT based 120mm Mortar Carrier AMX-VCTB - Lit; Vehicle Chenille Transport Bleeses, a VTT based Ambulance AMX-VTP - Original apc variant armed with open-mount light machine-gun AMX-VTT avec tourelle NA2 - Fitted with ATGM launcher AMX-VTT ROLAND - Roland SPAAML AMX-VTT TOW - Dutch Army version with TOW launcher on cupola AMX-VTT Version 1987 - Modernised version with all the tank automotive improvements AMX-VTT with Minotaur Mine System - Minotaur scatterable mine-laying system fitted on rear AMX Mk 61 aka AMX-105A, Automoteur de 105 du AMX-13 en casemate - 105mm casemate SP AMX Mk 61 [Netherlands] - Dutch Army version with 30 calibre Browning commanders mg AMX Mk 61 [Prototype] AMX Mk 62 aka AMX-105B, Automoteur AMX de 105 B - 105mm turreted SP AMX Mk 62 [Prototype] AMX Mk 63 aka AMX-105B, AMX Mk F2 - Mk 62 with mg cupola fitted to turret AMX Mk 63 [Prototype] AMX Mk F3 aka Obusier de 155mm sur affut automoteur AMX 13 T, AMX-155 - 155 mm SPG AMX Mk F3 [Prototype] aka Obusier de 155mm Automoteur Char AMX-13 (2A) - Prototype with 4 roadwheels and trailing idler Char AMX-13 (2B) - Prototype with 5 roadwheels and raised idler Char AMX-13 (2C) - Prototype with FL-11 turret and two support rollers Char AMX-13 (2D) - Prototype with 4 support rollers Char AMX-13 (2E) - Prototype with 3 support rollers and 90mm gun Char AMX-13 (2F) - Prototype with 2 support rollers and, later, a thermal sleeve Char AMX-13 avec Canon 57 L/100 - Prototype with special gun Char 48FCM - aka Char 12T FCM, DCA de Quatre Canons de 20mm - 4x20mm cannon in FL-4 turret Cockerill 90 mm Regunning Packaging - 90mm upgunning package DCA de 40mm aka Char 13T DCA a 40mm Bofors - 40L70 gun in large faceted turret Giat Industries Add-on Armour - Add-on armour package installed on turret front/sides & glacis plate Leichter Panzer 51 - Swiss Army version M24/AMX-13 - AMX-13 turret on M24 hull NIMDA Upgrade Package for AMX-13 - Israeli retrofit package Sherman avec tourelle AMX13 - Sherman fitted with AMX-13 turret and used by egypt

Countries that use/have used the tanks include: Algeria, Argentina, Cambodia, Chile, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Nepal, Switzerland, Tunisia, Venezuala.