After being kept under wraps, the French-German KNDS Group (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann + Nexter Defense Systems) has unveiled its first joint project, the EMBT, or European Main Battle Tank. Essentially a technology demonstrator, with further development, “the EMBT is a short-term response to the operational need of the market for high-intensity battle tanks”.
The EMBT consists of the KMW Leopard 2A7 MBT platform fitted with the Nexter Leclerc MBT turret. The two elements were integrated at Nexter’s facility at Roanne, where Leclerc production was originally undertaken. Since then, the EMBT has undertaken mobility and firing trials, the latter performed in Portugal, with 22 rounds fired from the 120mm smoothbore gun.
The standard Leopard 2A7 has a three-person turret armed with a manually loaded 120mm smoothbore gun, whereas the Leclerc turret is fitted with a 120mm smoothbore gun fed by a bustle-mounted automatic loader.
The Leclerc turret is lighter and more compact, which reduces the combined weight by six tonnes.
According to KNDS, the EMBT demonstrates that their combined skills make it the legitimate and essential industrial actor of the two key French- German future programmes.
The first of these is the follow-on to the Leopard 2/ Leclerc MBT, which is called the Main Ground Combat System and has a potential in-service date of around 2035. This could well be brought forward because the design of these two MBTs is now many years old and the point will be reached where they can no longer be upgraded.
The second programme is the future artillery system. Called the Common Indirect Fire System, this has a number of elements, including the replacement of the German Army 155mm PzH2000 tracked and French 155mm CAESAR wheeled self-propelled artillery systems.