French Army Leclerc Main Battle Tank
French Army Leclerc Main Battle Tank

French Company Nexter Launches Leclerc Main Battle Tank Upgrade Program

The French Director General Armaments (Direction Générale de l’Armement, DGA) launched the renovation by Nexter Systems of the first 50 Leclerc main battle tanks for the benefit of the French Army (Armée de Terre). The support contract for the Leclerc (MSS 2) came into effect on the 1 st April 2021. Following on from the first lump-sum post-production service support contract (SSPP), MSS 2 retains the same scope of services, with enhanced requirements. The launch of these operations comes at a crucial pivotal time, when the doctrines of many countries, including France.

The renovation of the Leclerc, also known as the XLR program, represents a new stage for the tank, which will be equipped with new functions and will join the SCORPION bubble, alongside the GRIFFON, JAGUAR and SERVAL armoured vehicles. The Leclerc tank will be integrated into the SCORPION joint battle group (JBG) via vetronicssystems that are common to the various platforms (supplied by Thales). Thanks to the SCORPION information and communication system (SICS) and the new CONTACT radio, the Leclerc tank will be fully integrated into the collaborative combat environment.

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Nexter is preparing the future of the main gun by proposing to arm the tank of the future with the ASCALON gun and ammunition concept. Designed with an open architecture to serve as a basis for cooperative development within the framework of the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program, ASCALON lays the foundations for the future standard of European tank gun and ammunition. Nexter is actively working on the renewal of the arrow ammunition with the recent launch of the 120 SHARD anti-tank ammunition.

French Army Leclerc Main Battle Tank
French Army Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nicolas Chamussy, CEO of Nexter and member of the KNDS executive committee: “Nexter is proud to contribute to the modernization and maintenance of its emblematic product. The notification of these programs testifies to the quality of our services and our know-how in the field of the heavy tank. Our ambition remains unchanged: we will continue to be the trusted partner of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, alongside the DGA, the SIMMT and the French Army.”

As part of the upgrade, the Leclerc main battle tanks will be provided with floor over-armor protection against improvised explosive devices (IED) and jammer against remote controlled IEDs and side plates against RPG-type threats will be added. Finally, the armament will be upgraded with the installation of a remotely operated T2B turret armed with a 7.62 mm calibre from Belgian partner FN Herstal. The Leclerc’s long-term viability includes the treatment of major obsolescence that could affect its availability, in particular the V8X engine and the turbo-machine.

The Leclerc tank (Char Leclerc) is a main battle tank (MBT) built by GIAT, now Nexter of France. It was named in honour of General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, who led the French element of the drive towards Paris while in command of the Free French 2nd Armoured Division (2e DB) in World War II. The Leclerc is in service with the French Army and the United Arab Emirates Army. In production since 1991, the Leclerc entered French service in 1992, replacing the AMX 30 as the country’s main armoured platform.

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