According to edrmagazine.eu, Italy might join the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) programme. Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) is a project by France and Germany since 2012 to replace their currently deployed Leclerc Tank and Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs). In 2016, the program was in the concept phase which was projected to be completed by 2017. During recent bilateral talks with the German counterpart, the possibility of allowing Italy to participate in the so-called Main Ground Combat System programme, which aims at the development of a new main battle tank, emerged,” Italian Undersecretary for Defence Giulio Calvisi said.
The Italian Ministry of Defence is committed to identifying further possible solutions should the project being currently underway by the CIO (Consorzio Iveco DV-Oto Melara) would not meet expectations. The CIO received a development contract worth 35 million Euro for the Mid-Life Update of the Ariete MBT, that will bring to the delivery of three prototypes. The Ariete MBT is currently in service with three tank regiments in the Italian Army, these units fielding a total of 123 tanks. The C1 Ariete is the main battle tank of the Italian Army, developed by Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara (CIO). The chassis and engine were produced by Iveco, while the turret and fire-control system were supplied by OTO Melara.
A precondition for the new tank is the development of a new main cannon with better performance. German defence company Rheinmetall joined the program and will develop a new cannon Rheinmetall Rh-130 L / 51 with better performance than the Rheinmetall L/55 cannon which was introduced on the Leopard 2A6. The first step in the MGCS program was a Franco-German technology demonstrator, to show that the two countries could jointly develop a next generation tank. At Eurosatory fair in June 2018 in Paris, France, KNDS unveiled the “European Main Battle Tank” (EMBT), a technology demonstrator main battle tank that combines the hull of a Leopard 2A7 with the lighter, two-man turret of a Leclerc.
The KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS) is a European defence industry holding company, which is result for merger between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann manufactures tanks, Nexter makes artillery. On 29 July 2015 the merger between the two companies has been officially finalized in Paris. In June 2018 Germany and France signed a letter of intent for KNDS to develop Main Combat Ground System, a common main battle tank, and Common Indirect Fire System, a common 155mm self-propelled artillery gun. KNDS’s first projects is upgrading the Leopard 2, with a focus on increasing effectiveness against contemporary threats like the ATGM and the Russian T-14 Armata.