France and Germany have signed agreements to develop a next-generation tank to equip both of their armies from the mid-2030s, the German Defense Ministry announced Wednesday. Dubbed the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) is the tank project sits alongside a planned future jet fighter as part of pivotal military cooperation between the two neighbors. The deal announced Tuesday includes a so-called “framework agreement” laying out how the project will be organised, as well as an “implementing arrangement” setting out the specifications for the new fighting vehicle.
Both agreements were signed by French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German Defense Ministry said in a statement. “With this project, Germany and France are sending an important signal for European cooperation in defense policy,” the ministry said. The project will be led by Germany, with Berlin and Paris each bearing half of the costs. It is “intended to replace the German Leopard 2 tanks and the French Leclerc tanks from the mid-2030s,” according to the French Defense Minister.
France and Germany in February gave the green light for building a prototype of Europe’s next-generation fighter jet, effectively launching a project long held up by disputes over how the industrial work would be divided. The 150-million-euro ($162-million) contract, financed equally by both countries, aims to create prototypes of the stealth delta-wing jet as well as integrated drones and network infrastructure of the new system by 2026.
This order is a prerequisite for the development of technological demonstrators, which will be used to assess the MGCS, according to German and French needs and requirements, explained the German Ministry of Defense. The financial requirement per nation is approximately €75 million for the 18-month System Architecture Definition Study (SADS) Part 1. The aim is to define, develop and implement a new state-of-the-art main battle tank in order to achieve delivery of the first systems by 2035, when the main battle tank fleets in service (Leopard 2 and Leclerc) will be decommissioned.