Like FCAS, MGCS is once again becoming the political program it should never have stopped being

For several months, the future of the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System, or MGCS, program was portrayed very darkly on both sides of the Rhine. It was not only a matter of press extrapolations tinged with a certain rivalry between the two countries and their defense industry, but also of serious reservations expressed covertly by industrial, military and political sources close to the matter. .

After a first meeting in July between the two supervisory ministers which only results in the request, to the staffs of the Army and the Bundeswehr, of the drafting of an HLCORD (High Level Common Operational Requirements Document), a common expression of needs to supervise the program future.

A critical meeting for the future of MGCS between Sébastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius

In fact, the pressure was great on Sébastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius, concerning the success of their new meeting which took place at the Evreux air base on September 21.

It was, in fact, about getting the MGCS program out of the state of stasis in which it has found itself since its launch in 2017, and thus guaranteeing its sustainability, with it, that of the FCAS program which is closely linked to it.

MGCS lecornu pistorius July 2023
Sébastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius in Berlin to discuss the MGCS program in July 2023

Many avenues have been raised in recent weeks on this subject, ranging from the pure and simple abandonment of Franco-German cooperation begun in 2017, to the arrival of Italy in the program imposed by France.

The two men apparently managed to find common ground, by applying the same approach as that which allowed the FCAS program, also entangled in industrial struggles around industrial sharing, to get out of the deadly rut in which it found itself.

Political takeover and leadership of arms agencies

As with FCAS, the MGCS program, which is above all a political program aimed at consolidating industrial and manufacturing cooperation between Paris and Berlin, will therefore be piloted by the Politician, more precisely by the arms agencies of the two countries. , the French DGA and the German BWD.

This approach aims to put an end to the disputes that have blocked the program for 7 years, particularly since the arrival of Rheinmetall alongside KNDS in 2019.

armin papperger rheinmetall KF51 Panther
Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger has made no secret of his divergent ambitions regarding the MGCS program

It should be noted that this political takeover is far from being poorly received by certain industrialists. So, a few weeks ago, KNDS CEO Frank Haun specifically called for this to get the program out of the rut it was in.

It will be different for Rheinmetall, which had made its potential for nuisance within the program, an industrial and commercial strategy serving the promotion of its KF51 intermediate generation tank Panther.

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