France and Germany have signed a framework agreement for the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence announced on April 28.
The agreement was signed by German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her French counterpart, Florence Parly.
The framework agreement laid down the MGCS project organization and management structure. The Ministry’s statement said that the project will benefit both countries equally from their co-operation, and therefore they will each provide 50% funding. In addition, both nations are to receive sufficient intellectual property rights for the intended future use of the work results.
The MGCS project will lead to the development of a new generation of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) which will replace the German Army’s Leopard 2 and French Army’s Leclerc MBTs starting in the mid-2030s. According to the Letter of Intent (LoI) signed between the countries, Germany is leading the MGCS development.
The detailed operational requirements for the project are expected to be finalized by 2024 with deployment planned from 2035.
Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) is representing Germany for the project while Nexter is representing France. KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (*KNDS) unveiled the new Euro Main Battle Tank (EMBT) technology demonstrator at the Eurosatory 2018 exhibition in Paris.
*Franco-German defense major KNDS was formed after the merger between the German family-controlled defence company, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and the French government-owned defence company, Nexter Systems under the KANT (KMW And Nexter Together) project.
The new tank combines the chassis of a German Leopard 2 A7 main battle tank, developed by KMW, with a 120mm turret seen on French Leclerc MBT, built by Nexter. The chassis was modified to host Leclerc’s compact and light turret with automatic loading. The Leopard 2 features a heavier manually loaded turret.
A precondition for the new tank is the development of a new main cannon with better performance. German defence company Rheinmetall joined the program and will develop a new cannon Rheinmetall Rh-130 L/51 with better performance than the Rheinmetall L/55 cannon which was introduced on the Leopard 2A6. Rheinmetall unveiled a 130mm L51 at Eurosatory 2016.