Military Capabilities

France and Germany sign letters of intent to develop future tank and combat air systems

20 June 2018
KNDS, which presented the EMBT demonstrator at Eurosatory 2018, welcomed the Franco-German announcement of the joint development of an MGCS and CIFS. Source: IHS Markit/Peter Felstead

Key Points

  • France and Germany have signed letters of intent to develop the MGCS and NGWS within a FCAS
  • The MGCS is expected to be introduced in 2035 and the FCAS and CIFS in around 2040

On 19 June, French Armed Forces (Defence) Minister Florence Parly and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, signed letters of intent (LOI) to develop the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) and Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) within a Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

In the LOI on the MGCS, the ministers agreed that the demonstration phase should begin by mid-2019 and that detailed operational requirements would be established by 2024, with Germany as the lead nation.

The MGCS will be integrated into the French Scorpion programme and the German Führungsinformationssystem Heer (Army Command, Control and Information System, FüInfoSys) with deployment planned in 2035. The German MoD said the system would replace the Leopard 2 in Bundeswehr service, going beyond a linear upgrade of the tank's capabilities.

The ministry described the MGCS as the land system industry's most important future armament programme, sending a strong signal regarding the refocus towards national and alliance defence.

The LOI also covers co-operation on a Common Indirect Fire System (CIFS), starting with joint studies and leading to the introduction of the system starting about 2040.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Nexter Defence Systems (KNDS) welcomed the Franco-German announcement of the joint development of an MGCS and CIFS, saying this co-operation was the "key motivation" for the creation of KNDS in 2015. They went on to say the projects "will shape the future of European armies’ main combat capabilities and contribute to Europe’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy."

KNDS presented the Euro Main Battle Tank (EMBT) demonstrator at Eurosatory 2018, which was held in Paris on 11-15 June.

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