At a Eurosatory 2024 showcase, KNDS unveiled its latest developments, the Leclerc Evolution and the Ascalon main gun.

The event, led by Jean-Philippe, programme manager for Systems Business Unit / Tracked Armoured Vehicles Department, highlighted the company’s steps in developing technologies for modern warfare.

Introducing the Leclerc Evolution

The tour commenced with a detailed overview of the Leclerc Evolution, an upgraded version of the Leclerc tank. This new iteration features enhancements, particularly with its new turret design and weaponry.

According to Jean-Philippe: “The changes in the Leclerc Evolution are visible in the turret, which is different from its predecessor. The most noteworthy addition is the Ascalon 120mm main gun, which can be easily swapped with the 140mm version, offering flexibility.”

The Ascalon main gun stands out for its compact design. “The Ascalon 140 provides 40 to 70% more performance on targets versus the current 120 mm guns while maintaining similar recoil forces. This makes it easily integrable into existing or future designs, such as those of the Leopard 2,” explained Jean-Philippe. The gun’s versatility and remote operation capability mark it as a development in modern armoured warfare for KNDS.

In addition to its armament, the Leclerc Evolution has enhanced situational awareness and protection systems. Equipped with loitering ammunition pods, counter-UAS capabilities, and an active protection system, the tank is designed to handle threats on the battlefield. “The integration of a local situation awareness system, laser warning system, and other sensors ensures that the crew can manage the influx of information,” Jean-Philippe noted.

A feature of the Leclerc Evolution is its four-member crew configuration, including a deputy commander. This addition aims to manage the increased information flow from the tank’s various sensors and systems, ensuring operation during combat.

The tour also introduced the EBT ADT 114, a demonstrator platform showcasing the Ascalon 140 gun. While this vehicle is not intended for immediate operational deployment, it is a testbed for advancing turret and gun technologies.

Information on the Leclerc Evolution. Credit: Harry McNeil

Market position and expansion strategies

KNDS’s vision extends beyond immediate developments. The company is focused on future-proofing its platforms to align with emerging trends in land warfare. “Another feature which is very important for us to develop in the future is loitering ammunition capability. We believe that adding loitering ammunition on the Leclerc Evolution allows the crew to get access to the enemy far further than it has today,” Jean-Philippe emphasised.

As for market expansion, KNDS is positioning itself to cater to various countries. “While the Leopard 2 is basically the main battle tank in Europe, not all nations can access it. We are proposing the Leclerc Evolution as an alternative, enabling more countries to benefit from our solutions,” Jean-Philippe highlighted.

The global military land vehicles market, valued at $29bn in 2024, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% over the forecast period. According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Land Vehicles Market Forecast 2024-2034,” it is expected to reach $45.1 bn by 2034 and cumulatively value $398bn over the forecast period.

The showcase concluded with a discussion on the future of land warfare technologies. Jean-Philippe underscored the importance of continuous developments in main gun technology and the integration of loitering ammunition capabilities. “Another feature which is very important for us to develop in the future is loitering ammunition capability. So, we believe that adding loitering ammunition on the Leclerc evolution allows the crew to get access to the enemy far further than it has today.”

In recent KNDS developments, negotiations between Italian defence company Leonardo and Franco-German tank manufacturer KNDS to develop a Leopard 2A8 tank for Italy ended last week due to disagreements over component integration. Meanwhile, this year, Sweden’s Procurement Office acquired 18 Leopard 2 combat simulators from KNDS, enhancing training capabilities for the Swedish Army and continuing a 25-year partnership between Sweden and KNDS.

KNDS’s latest developments represent a step forward in armoured vehicle technology. As the company continues to push forward, it tries to shape its future within defence with solutions designed to meet the evolving demands of global security.