Nexter from France could propose modernized Leclerc tank for replacement of Indian T-72 MBTs
According to information published by the "Zone Militaire" website on December 31, 2021, French Company Nexter was contacted by the Indian Government in the framework to participate to the Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs) program of the Indian Army and could propose the modernized Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank.
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Nexter has developed the Leclerc XLR main battle tank, a modernized version of the Leclerc tank in service with the French army. (Picture source Army Recognition )
In June 2021, Army Recognition has reported that India published a Request for Information (RFI) for the procurement of 1,700 main battle tanks that would replace the old Russian-designed T-72M/M1 Ajeya MBTs (Main Battle Tanks).
Currently, the French army has launched a program to modernize its fleet of Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBT) to the standard Leclerc XLR for 2028. This program constitutes the third operation launched by the French Ministry of Defense under the SCORPION program intended to modernize the French Army's contact forces. Valued at approximately €330 million, the contract provides for the delivery of 200 "Renovated Leclerc" tanks and 18 "Renovated DCL" armored recovery vehicles based on the Leclerc MBT from 2020.
The upgraded Leclerc MBT will have more firepower and protection. It also will be fitted with a new remotely operated weapon station mounted on the roof of the turret as well as a new modernized computerized firing control system.
Citing the "Zone Militaire" website, following a question asked by the French Deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, if the French company Nexter could win the procurement of the 1,700 MBTs for India, French industry could relaunch production of the Leclerc tanks for India and France will be able to offer a new competitive price of Leclerc tank for the Indian army and for the export market.
According to the military balance 2020, currently, the French army has a total of 222 Leclerc MBTs, but the French Deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan said, today the needs of the French army would be to have 400 tanks.
India could start the replacement of its old T-72 MBTS from 2030, and the French defense minister said, Nexter with the German company Kraus-Maffei Wegman under the umbrella of KNDS are studying solutions to meet Indian demand.
Nexter Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank was unveiled at the Eurosatory defense exhibition in France, June 2018.
The Leclerc XLR is a modernized version of the French-made Leclerc Main Battle Tank (MBT) designed and manufactured by the French Company Nexter Systems. 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.
The turret of the Leclerc XLR is equipped with an automatic loading system that contains 22 rounds of ready-use ammunition normally loaded from outside through a small hatch in the back of the turret bustle. The new Leclerc will be able to fire two main types of 120 mm ammunition, the APFSDS (Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding-Sabot) with a muzzle velocity of 1,790 m/s and HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) with a muzzle velocity of 1,100 m/s, both having a semi-combustible cartridge case containing a dual-base solid propellant.
The Leclerc XLR is upgraded with a new armor package that includes additional modular armor on the hull and the turret. The front part of the hull side is protected by thick passive armor, while the rear part is fitted with wire cage armor to protect the engine compartment against attacks of RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenade).