France modernizes its iconic Leclerc tank so it can operate for another 20 years

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Until the end of 2024, the French Army will receive the first batch of the Leclerc XLR, the updated version of the Leclerc battle tanks, one of the main symbols of the Armed Forces of the Fifth Republic. It was announced on June 24 by the Directorate-General for Armament, the French defense procurement agency.

I know informs that on June 1, the Ministry of the Armed Forces of France reached an agreement with the Nexter company that foresees the modernization of the first 50 tanks up to the Leclerc XLR version. They will be delivered to the Armed Forces between 2022 and the end of 2024 with the option of upgrading another 150 tanks. According to plans, the program should be completed in 2028.

The Leclerc XLR will be equipped so that it can be integrated into SCORPION, the French Army’s network system. Its fire control system will also be improved and a laser alert system will be installed, as well as the Galix active defense system (which creates a multispectral smoke curtain), a BARAGE radio suppression system, improvements in mine protection, a new diagnostic system and various other items of electronic equipment.

The tank turret will be equipped with a remotely controlled FN Herstal T2B module fitted with a 7.62mm machine gun. In addition, new ammunition will be introduced for the 120-millimeter cannon.

The modernized tanks are expected to remain active until the commissioning of an advanced next-generation tank that is developed within the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program, which will occur around 2040.

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In the future, the MGCS tanks will replace not only the Leclercs, but also the German Leopard 2.

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