The French-German KNDS group (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann + Nexter Defense Systems) exhibits its first joint product, the EMBT (European Main Battle Tank), less than three years after being created around KMW and Nexter. Essentially a technology demonstrator, with further development, “the EMBT is a short-term response to the operational need of the market for high-intensity battle tanks”. Nexter designates the new EMBT as “Enhanced” Main Battle Tank, while its German partner KMW says “European”.
The EMBT consists of the KMW Leopard 2A7 MBT platform fitted with the Nexter Leclerc MBT turret. The two elements were integrated at Nexter’s facility at Roanne, where Leclerc production was originally undertaken. Since then, the EMBT has undertaken mobility and firing trials, the latter performed in Portugal, with 22 rounds fired from the 120mm smoothbore gun. The standard Leopard 2A7 has a three-person turret armed with a manually loaded 120mm smoothbore gun, whereas the Leclerc turret is fitted with a 120mm smoothbore gun fed by a bustle-mounted automatic loader.The Leclerc turret is lighter and more compact, which reduces the combined weight by six tonnes.
The benefit of the hybrid machine lies in the Leopard 2′s “very-high capability” chassis, which can carry up to 68 tons, and merging it with the lightness of the Leclerc’s turret, which needs only a crew of two to operate. By assembling a chassis, which is certified to MLC70, and a light turret operated by only 2 crew members instead of 3, the EMBT brings together the best in the battle tank state of the art, with an exceptional growth potential (roughly 6 tonnes) which allows to integrate many evolutions. The demonstrator presented on the booth illustrates the progress of the integration of KNDS, whose combined skills make it the legitimate and essential industrial actor of the two Franco-German future programs for the tank (MGCS) and artillery (CIFS).
KMW and Nexter’s ranges and know-how will also be showcased on the KNDS stand through the products and systems of each of the two brands, which together constitute a broad and almost complete offering in the land sector. The first of these is the follow-on to the Leopard 2/ Leclerc MBT, which is called the Main Ground Combat System and has a potential in-service date of around 2035. This could well be brought forward because the design of these two MBTs is now many years old and the point will be reached where they can no longer be upgraded.The second programme is the future artillery system. Called the Common Indirect Fire System, this has a number of elements, including the replacement of the German Army 155mm PzH2000 tracked and French 155mm CAESAR wheeled self-propelled artillery systems.