The meeting of French and German ministers to relaunch the MGCS program raises some concern

Announced in September 2017 by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, the Main Ground Combat System or MGCS program was to allow France and Germany to jointly design the successor to the Leclerc and Leopard 2 maturing in 2035.

Since this announcement, this program has experienced many upheavals, with in particular the arrival imposed by the Bundestag of Rheinmetall significantly destabilizing the industrial balances initially designed between the French Nexter and the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) gathered in the co -KNDS company since 2015.

The arrival of Rheinmetall, which was also developing the KF-51 intermediate generation tank Panther as an alternative to Leopard 2 in the short term, and therefore as an alternative to MGCS in the medium and long term, severely handicapped the progress of the SADS Part 1 study phase launched in 2020, in particular by claiming certain technological pillars initially attributed to Nexter, such as in the field of main armament and armour.

In fact, for several years, the MGCS program has been navigating between limited progress and phases of frank hesitation, 4 of the 12 technological pillars identified to date, not having yet been strictly entrusted to a specific manufacturer, such as the collaboration originally planned.

To relaunch MGCS, French and German defense ministers met in Berlin
Sebastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius in Berlin to discuss the MGCS program in July 2023

At the same time, following the rise in tensions with Russia, exacerbated since February 2022 by the intervention of the Russian armies in Ukraine, the market for heavy tanks has evolved considerably, with a very significant recovery in demand, having brought KMW to develop a new version of the Leopard 2 designated A8, already selected by the Bundeswehr, Norway and the Czech Republic, and strongly anticipated for Italy and the Netherlands, only 2 months after its presentation.

In fact, for German manufacturers, and more particularly for those engaged in the manufacture of Leopard 2A8 like KMW but also MTU and RENK, there is no longer any interest in aiming for a 2035 deadline for the MGCS program, which would generate very ineffective overlap between the new versions of the Leopard 2 and the first versions of the MGCS, beneficial to neither, and especially not to German industrialists.

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