In March 2015, the French Procurement Agency (DGA) notified Nexter Systems (External Stand A600) of a €300 million contract covering 200 Renovated Leclerc main battle tanks (MBTs) and 18 Renovated Leclerc armoured recovery vehicles (ARV) that aims to extend their operational life out to 2035.
The first two prototypes of the Renovated Leclerc MBT will be completed at Roanne in 2018. Following trials, the remaining 198 will be upgraded from 2020-28.
A total of 406 Leclerc MBTs were delivered to the French Army, with final deliveries made in 2007, and there is a possibility that additional Leclerc MBTs could be returned to service and upgraded owing to the changed political situation in Europe.
Renovated Leclerc will be fitted with a Scorpion open electronic architecture, new Thales Contact tactical radio system and the Scorpion Information and Command System and associated displays, which will be installed in all of the French Army’s existing and future armoured fighting vehicles.
Survivability of the Leclerc MBT will be improved by the development of kits that can be installed prior to deployment and depending on the threat expected to be encountered. One kit will provide an enhanced level of protection against mines and improvised explosive devices and another a higher level of protection against rocket-propelled grenades.
The current Nexter Systems 120mm F1 smoothbore gun will be retained; in addition to firing the current range of ammunition, it will also fire a Nexter Munitions high-explosive round under development, which will be insensitive munition compliant. This is designated the 120mm HE M3M and will have a base fuze that can be set for impact, delay and air burst function.
A remote weapon station armed with a 7.62mm machine gun will be fitted on the roof.
This is being developed within the EBMR (Engin Blindé Multi-Rôles) contract and will also be installed on the Jaguar (6x6) reconnaissance vehicle and Griffon (6x6) armoured personnel carrier and variants to be introduced into the French Army.
Leclerc Renovation will also include installation of the Barage counter-IED jammer, Scorpion diagnostic test device, coupling of inertial navigation and GPS system, new man-machine interfaces for commander and gunner, redesign of main system computers and health and usage monitoring system.
This upgrade will allow the Leclerc MBT and Leclerc ARV to network effectively within components of Scorpion Step 1.