Discover new Nexter Leclerc XLR main battle tank MBT for French army


Analysis of new Generation MBT (Main Battle Tank) in 2022, Part 4/4. At Eurosatory 2022, International Defense Exhibition that was held in Paris, June 2022, the French Company Nexter Systems presents the latest generation of the French MBT (Main Battle Tank), the Leclerc XLR which is a modernized version of the standard tank Leclerc in service with the French army featuring many new improvements in terms of mobility, firepower, and protection.
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New French-made Nexter Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank MBT for the French army. (Picture source Army Recognition)


The Leclerc is a Main Battle Tank that was produced by the French company Giat Industries. The first production Leclerc MBT was completed in December 1991 and handed over to the French Army on 14 January 1992. It has a conventional layout with the driver sitting at the front, the turret in the center with the commander and gunner, and the power pack at the rear.

The main armament of the Leclerc MBT consists of one 120 mm smoothbore gun designated the CN 120-26 (or F1) which has a chamber the same size as that of the 120 mm smoothbore gun fitted to the Leopard 2, M1A1, and M1A2. The gun is loaded thanks to the use of an automatic loading system which contains 22 rounds of ready-use ammunition normally loaded from outside through a small hatch in the back of the turret bustle. The autoloader can distinguish between six different types of ammunition and will automatically recognize and respond to ammunition selection commands.

The Leclerc XLR is a modernized version of the standard Leclerc MBT and part of the Scorpion program of the French army with the goal to acquire new types of armored vehicles and offer inter-operability for all combat vehicles in service with the French army.

The Leclerc XLR is fitted with a new type of active and passive modular armor offering more protection against modern anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. The sides of the hull and the turret are fitted with active reactive armor as well as slat-armor mounted at the rear sides of the hull and the turret. The tank is also fitted with a mine and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) protection kit. The tank is also fitted with the Galix which is a self-protection system with a smoke masking capability in the visible and infrared (IR) domains for protection against enemy threats as well as the counter IED jammer that generates a wideband noise-like jamming signal.


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The Leclerc XLR is armed with one 120mm with automatic loading system. (Picture source Army Recognition)


The Leclerc XLR is armed with a 120mm 52 caliber main gun using an automatic loading system and integrates a programmable ammunition system. Thanks to the integration of the automatic loading system, the Leclerc XLR has a crew of three including a driver, commander, and gunner. The second armament includes one 12.7mm coaxial machine gun and one Belgian FN Herstal remotely operated weapon station armed with one 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun mounted at the rear of the tank commander hatch.

The Leclerc XLR is powered by a Diesel engine developing 1,500 hp and is fitted with a hydropneumatic suspension which consists on each side of six road wheels, the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front, and track-return rollers. It can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km/h, an off-road speed of 50 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 615 km.


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The Leclerc XLR is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with one 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun. (Picture source Army Recognition)


Like the previous Leclerc tank, the Leclerc XLR keeps a fire-control system that includes a modular thermal imaging camera, Thales Optronics (Taunton) HL-58 laser range-finder and stabilized sights for the commander and gunner. The gyrostabilized gunner's sight SAGEM HL 60 combines low-drift gyroscopes, high-precision digital angular sensors, digital processors, and advanced sensors, a Thales Optronics (Taunton) laser range-finder, and a thermal camera.

The tank commander has a SAGEM HL-70 gyrostabilized panoramic sight including an intermediate unit, an aiming sight, and an electronic unit. The sight head includes a Galilean system for changing the field of view (20º or 5º) for magnifications of ×2.5 and ×10. It includes a second-generation image-intensifying night channel with a magnification of ×2.5 and a 13º field of view. The sight can recognize a target at 4,000 m and identify it at 2,500 m.


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The sides of the hull are fitted with explosive reactive armor. (Picture source Army Recognition)


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