Franco-German Tank Project Clears Pivotal Hurdle
Germany and France want to build the next generation of battle tanks together. Things have been slow so far, but now Germany’s Defense Minister Pistorius wants to “release the brakes.” Germany is leading the project.
The development of the Franco-German main battle tank MGCS has made some progress. The army inspectors of both countries signed a document in Evreux, France, on the requirements for the joint battle tank of the future. “This is a milestone that enables the work to come,” said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) at a joint press conference with his French colleague Sébastien Lecornu.
By December it should now be determined who will be responsible for which sub-area. Pistorius admitted that the project had not progressed well in the past. “We are trying to release brakes,” he explained. The method used in the development of the joint FCAS fighter aircraft is also suitable for work on the future main battle tank.
As with FCAS, different pillars should be defined, said Lecornu. “It’s a 50-50 split, but Germany is in the lead,” emphasized the French Defense Minister, pointing out that this creates a balance between the two projects. France has the leading role in the fighter jet project.
Pistorius rejected reports of supposedly competing tank projects. There is only “an idea brought to life by the EU,” but the Franco-German project is “much broader and more concrete,” he said. In addition, participation in the MGCS (Main Ground Combat System) is also open to other nations. Italy and the Netherlands have already shown interest.
Both ministers emphasized that the future main battle tank should not simply be a further development of the German “Leopard 2” or the French “Leclerc”. It is a “completely new system,” said Pistorius. In this context, Lecornu spoke of “disruptive technologies”, in which artificial intelligence and robotics should also play a major role.
Ultimately, it is also about “exportability,” emphasized Lecornu. “We want a tank that will also find a buyer,” he said. The schedule should be “realistic and flexible”. Lecornu spoke from 2040 to 2045.
The development of the MGCS will also be a topic at the German-French Council of Ministers on October 9th and 10th in Hamburg.