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France and Germany agree on new Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) MBT.

| 2020

On April 28, Germany and France at last signed a framework agreement defining the project organization and management structures of the heavy land combat system’s architecture. “The MGCS project to be implemented under German leadership is to replace the German Leopard 2 and the French Leclerc from the mid-2030s. With this project, Germany and France are sending an important signal for European cooperation in defense policy,” the German Defense Ministry said.

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KNDS EMBT (European Main Battle Tank) displayed at Eurosatory 2018, sometimes nicknamed “LeoClerc” because of its mixed composition of a Leopard 2 hull with a Leclerc turret, a first “engineering essay” toward a Franco-German cooperation having to lead to the Main Ground Combat System which will be very different from the EMBT (Picture source: Army Recognition)

“Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her French counterpart Florence Parly have signed a Framework Agreement, in which project organization and management structures are laid down. Due to the Corona situation, the ministers were unable to meet for joint signing,” the German Defense Ministry said. 

“Both countries should benefit equally from the cooperation, which is why the contracts to be concluded are based on a 50% financing between Germany and France. In addition, both nations are to receive sufficient intellectual property rights for the intended future use of the work results,” writes the Ministries of Defense regarding the contents of the agreement. “The ministers have therefore also signed an Implementing Arrangement 1, which forms the basis for commissioning a system architecture definition study. Only recently, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag cleared the way for commissioning this two-year study. Again, Germany and France share the costs. The system architecture is a prerequisite for the development of a technology demonstrator with which the German and French requirements for the MGCS can be verified.”

The three manufacturers concerned are Nexter for France, Rheinmetall and KMW (Krauss -Maffei - Wegmann) for Germany.

To remind the background of this program, the Leopard 2 and Leclerc MBTs must be replaced by 2035. So, Germany and France launched the joint MGCS project in 2012 with the project divided into five major phases: 1) operational needs analysis; 2) concept survey; 3) development and technological capability demonstration; 4) integration and system demonstration; 5) system production. The first two phases have already been successfully completed though, a bi-nationally coordinated prioritization of the individual requirements (High-Level Requirements) remains to be set up.

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