Ground Warfare

Nexter and Safran Awarded Contract for Modernization of Leclerc Main Battle Tank

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Nexter and Safran Awarded Contract for Modernization of Leclerc Main Battle Tank

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Nexter and Safran Awarded Contract for Modernization of Leclerc Main Battle Tank
Nexter and Safran Awarded Contract for Modernization of Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter, a company of KNDS, and Safran Electronics & Defense have been notified by the French MOD’s procurement and technology agency (DGA) of a contract for the modernization of the sights of the renovated Leclerc tank (Leclerc XLR). The “observation” function of the Leclerc XLR will be brought to the latest standard, notably thanks to the PASEO sight, to meet the most severe requirements of the modern battlefield. The temporary company grouping (GME) comprising Nexter, a company of KNDS, and Safran Electronics & Defense has been notified by the DGA of a contract for the development and integration of the new sights for the tank commander and gunner. These sights are the two main observation and engagement systems of the Leclerc tank, allowing the crew to detect, identify, and target an object several kilometres away before engaging it.

These sights benefit from the latest optronic and inertial technologies, drawing on over 30 years of expertise from Safran Electronics & Defense and the global references of the PASEO sight. Following technical negotiations with the DGA teams, Nexter and Safran Electronics & Defense are strengthening the “observation” function in light of the new threats on the battlefield. The optronic core of the Leclerc tank’s weapon system is digitized to increase the data flow and provide high-quality images in all conditions. The analogue video system of the Leclerc tank is replaced by a digital video system. The gunner’s sight is modernized with latest-generation optronic sensors and new electronics.

Leclerc Main Battle Tank
Leclerc Main Battle Tank. (Photo by Nexter)

Meanwhile, the commander’s sight is replaced by a latest-generation PASEO sight designed for panoramic observation and engagement in all conditions. The PASEO family already provides the same functions on the armoured vehicle JAGUAR. For the commander’s scope, OPT-Sys, a company of KNDS, provides the digital monocular that serves as the interface between the tank commander and the PASEO sight. Equipped with SCORPION vetronics, reinforced protection, a new remotely operated turret, and these latest-generation sights, the Leclerc XLR will be able to face all threats until their successors enter service. These Leclerc XLR have been in production since the beginning of 2023, and all of these tanks will be delivered with their modernized sights by 2035.

The Leclerc is a third-generation French main battle tank developed and manufactured by Nexter Systems. It was named in honour of Marshal Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, a commander of the Free French Forces, who led the 2nd Armoured Division in World War II. The Leclerc is in service with the French Army, Jordanian 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. With production now complete, the French operate 222 Leclercs (with 184 more in storage, for a total of 406), while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) possesses 388. Of the units in French service, 200 will be upgraded to the Leclerc XLR standard with deliveries expected to begin in 2022. System architecture definition and technology demonstration phase was to be completed by 2024, with production and testing to start in 2028.

Nexter and Safran Awarded Contract for Modernization of Leclerc Main Battle Tank
Leclerc Main Battle Tank. (Photo by Nexter)

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