Leclerc tank with new ballistic protection and information system

PARIS, FRANCE — France intends to upgrade the combat capability and performance of its main battle tank. 50 AMX-56 Leclerc tanks will be upgraded to the XLR design standard. This information was officially released by the French government, through the Defense Procurement Agency [DGA]. The contractor for the upgrade will be the French company Nexter.

Newest Leclerc XLR tank gets new RWS and FN Herstal 12.7mm gun
Photo credit: DefenceTurk.net

The Leclerc base tank entered service with the French army in 1992. Since then, more than 860 tanks have been produced. The largest operator is the United Arab Emirates with 534 tanks, followed by the French Army with 222 tanks, and Jordan with 80 tanks.

The Leclerc is armed with a GIAT CN120-26/52 120mm tank gun. The secondary weapons on the tank’s turret are intended for close combat and self-defense. They are one 12.7 mm coaxial M2HB machine gun and one 7.62 mm machine gun. The Leclerc is powered by a V8X SACM 8-cylinder diesel engine delivering 1,500 horsepower.

Modernization

The 50 tanks to be upgraded are expected to be interoperable with the Scorpion joint warfare system. This means that the tanks will retain some of their equipment, but another part will have to be significantly improved.

120mm tank gun remains as it is now. At the expense of this, the tank receives increased ballistic protection of the hull. The tank’s turret will also receive increased ballistic protection, as well as being replaced with a new RMS. According to the French government and the signed agreement, Nexter will have to develop and integrate an additional armor package for the tank.

Sources to the French media claim that the tank is getting a new tactical information system, new sensors, and grenade launchers.

Level Scorpion

Nexter will have to deliver the first modernized 18 out of 50 tanks this year. The level of the upcoming upgrade is called XLR and is part of the entire Scorpion modernization program of the French army.

The Scorpion program has a budget of close to $7 billion. This program does not only affect the main battle tanks of the French army but almost all French land combat vehicles. Some of these machines will be replaced with their new versions, and others will undergo an upgrade, as is the case with the Leclerc tank.

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