French General Directorate of Armament Tests of Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank
French General Directorate of Armament Tests of Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank

French General Directorate of Armament Tests of Leclerc XLR Main Battle Tank

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The French General Directorate of Armament (Direction générale de l’armement, DGA) released video from the tests of the Leclerc XLR main battle tank conducted on a range in Bourges. All test goals were achieved and all systems, including the modifications did not negatively affect the tank’s main armament. The Leclerc XLR is a third-generation French main battle tank (MBT) developed and manufactured by the Nexter division of KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS). The fourth-generation upgrade of 200 Leclercs was announced in March 2015, with the first two XLR prototypes planned for 2018 and the remaining 198 slated for completion over eight years, starting in 2020. The contract was valued at approximately €330 million.

The Leclerc XLR is a refit of the third-generation Leclerc tank with the addition of a turret-mounted remotely-operated 7.62mm caliber machine gun manufactured by Belgian company FN Herstal, additional modular armor on the turret and hull, and rear wire cage armor to protect the engine compartment against rocket propelled grenades. The 120mm CN 120-26 120mm smoothbore tank gun equipped with a thermal sleeve, dynamic barrel positioning system and able to clear gas with compressed air was adapted to fire programmable ammunition, the HE M3M cal. 120mm. The CN120-26, also simply referred to as Modèle F1 (F1 model) is a French smoothbore 120mm tank gun of 52 calibers designed by the EFAB of Bourges and produced by Giat Industries (Now Nexter Systems).

The Leclerc XLR is upgraded with a new armor package, with a thickness of 1200mm, that includes additional modular armor on the hull and the turret. The Leclerc XLR’s new armor is designed to provide protection against the latest kinetic projectiles with a tungsten alloy or depleted uranium core, with a penetrability range of 700-800mm RHA steel. The front part of the hull side is protected by thick passive armor, while the rear part is fitted with wire cage armor to protect the engine compartment against attacks of RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenade). The rear part of the hull is also fitted with wire cage armor. Additionally, the main battle tank will be equipped with an active self-defence system using multispectral GALIX self-defence system.

The Leclerc tank was integrated into the SCORPION joint battle group (JBG) via vetronics systems that are common to the various platforms. The components that mark this tank as fourth-generation are mostly electronic: networked architecture allowing an interface between the Thales tactical radio system, the NBC protection system, night vision equipment and the Atos-brand SCORPION Information and Command System (SICS) and associated display screens. The upgraded Leclerc comes with a counter-IED jammer, new man-machine interfaces for commander and gunner, redesigned main system computers, and a battle health monitoring system. The inertial navigation system and GPS navigation system are fused. The Leclerc XLR will be fully integrated into the collaborative combat environment.