French army to order 100 modernized Leclerc XLR tanks in defense budget 2019-2025

According a new plan from the French government, the defense spending for 2019-2025 will increase to reach to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2025. France will continue to modernize its armed forces with the purchase of new aircraft, upgrade Leclerc main battle tank and will acquire new combat armored vehicles.

French army to order 100 modernized Leclerc XLR tanks in defense budget 2019 2025 925 001
French Leclerc XLR Scorpion MBT Main Battle Tank at Eurosatory defense exhibition in France, June 2018 (Picture source Army Recognition)

The military budget will increase €1.7 billion per year until 2022 and €3 billion per year starting in 2023. Total military expenditure over the period will be €300 billion. For 2018, it is €34.2 billion (1.82 percent of GDP), compared to €32.7 billion (1.77 percent of GDP) in 2017.

The acquisition of new combat vehicles will include 100 modernized Leclerc main battle tanks, Griffon 6x6 multi-role armored vehicle and Jaguar 6x6 reconnaissance armored vehicles.

The current Leclerc main battle tanks used by the French army will be upgraded to the XLR level according to the Scorpion Program. The Scorpion project aims to transform the equipment and networking of the key operating unit o the French Army to the level of groupement tactique inter-armes (GTIA), or combined arms tactical group.

The Leclerc Scorpion or XLR is a modernized version of the French-made Leclerc Main Battle Tank (MBT) designed and manufactured by the French Company Nexter Systems.

The renovated MBT Leclerc Scorpion / XLR will keep the same armament as the standard Leclerc tank which consists of a Giat 120 mm 52 caliber smoothbore gun designated the CN 120-26. A 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main armament. The Leclerc Scorpion is also fitted with a remotely operated weapon station mounted on the top of the turret which is armed with a 7.62mm machine gun.

The Leclerc Scorpion is upgraded with a new armour package that includes additional modular armor on the hull and the turret. The front parts of the hull side are protected by thick passive armor, while the rear part is fitted with wire cage armour to protect the engine compartment against attacks of RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenade). The rear part of the hull is also fitted with wire cage armour.