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Leclerc Main Battle Tank

The Leclerc main battle tank (MBT) built by Giat Industries is operational with the French Army and the armed forces of


3 (commander, driver, gunner)


Giat Industries (now Nexter Systems)


French Army and UAE Armed Forces

Hull Length



Leclerc Main Battle Tank

The Leclerc main battle tank (MBT) built by Giat Industries (now known as Nexter Systems) is operational with the French Army and the armed forces of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates. The Leclerc was first operational with the French Army in 1992 and with UAE in 1995. Leclerc mk2 tanks with improved software and engine control system entered production in 1998.

The French Army has 354 Leclerc MBTs in service and in September 2001 ordered the final tranche of 52, concluding a total order of 406 (plus 20 armoured recovery vehicles). Deliveries completed in October 2007.

390 tanks and 46 armoured recovery vehicles have been ordered by UAE. Deliveries of the tanks were completed in May 2004, deliveries of the ARVs concluded in 2008.

Leclerc battle tank urban operations upgrade

In June 2006, Nexter unveiled the Leclerc optimised for urban operations. It is fitted with the AZUR kit, which consists of additional protection in the form of side skirts of composite material, bar armour on the rear of hull and turret to protect against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and extra protection for the engine against petrol bombs.

A remotely controlled 7.62mm machine gun is also fitted in addition to the 120mm gun.

In early 2011, Nexter signed an agreement with the International Golden Group to supply Azur up-armour kits for the Leclerc MBTs of the UAE Armed Forces.

"The Leclerc was first operational with the French Army in 1992."

FINDERS battle management system

The Leclerc is fitted with the FINDERS (fast information, navigation, decision and reporting system) battlefield management system, developed by Nexter Systems. FINDERS includes a colour map display which shows the positions of the host tank, allied and hostile forces and designated targets and can be used for route and mission planning.

The French Army has selected Nexter to equip its Leclerc main battle tanks with a terminal information system (TIS) called Icone (ergonomic communications and navigation interface). The initial phase of the contract covers the equipment of more than 100 Leclerc tanks.

The TIS has been developed together with EADS Defense Electronics Systems. It permits the exchange of digitised data including tactical situation and the graphic orders displayed on a background map, between the vehicle and higher level command.

Leclerc main battle tank armament

The 120mm 52-calibre smoothbore gun is fitted with a thermal sleeve and muzzle reference system. Fumes are exhausted with a compressed air unit. The gun, which fires APFSD (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) and HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank) rounds, has a firing rate of 12 rounds a minute. The aiming system is entirely electrical for improved acceleration.

The tank has an automatic loading system, which allows cross-country fire-on-the-move against mobile targets. 22 rounds of ready-to-use ammunition are carried. The tank is also armed with a 12.7mm machine gun co-axial with the main gun and a roof-mounted 7.62mm anti-aircraft gun.

Digital fire control and observation systems

The digital fire control system allows the gunner or commander to select six different targets to be engaged in just over 30 seconds. The system’s digital computer allows realtime treatment of data from the tank’s sensors and sights.

The commander has eight periscopes and an HL-70 stabilised panoramic sight from Safran (formerly SAGEM).

"In 2006, Giat unveiled the Leclerc optimised for urban operation."

HL-70 includes laser rangefinder, day channel, and second-generation image intensifier.

Recognition range is 4km and identification range is 2.5km. The commander has a display showing the gunner’s thermal sight. The gunner’s station is equipped with gunner’s main sight, three periscopes and a visual display unit. The gunner’s stabilised sight is SAVAN 20 from Safran, which contains a three-field-of-view thermal imager.

The driver’s station has three periscopes, of which the centre periscope is the OB-60 driver’s sight developed by Thales Optronique (formerly Thomson-CSF), which has day and night channels.

Galix combat vehicle protection system

Leclerc is fitted with Galix combat vehicle protection system, developed by Nexter and Lacroix Tous Artifices. Nine launch tubes for the 80mm grenades are fitted on either side of the turret roof. The Galix system can launch smoke or anti-personnel grenades or infrared decoys.

Nexter has developed the KBCM defensive aids suite which can befitted to the Leclerc. KBCM includes laser warner, missile warner, infrared jammer and the Galix system and can be integrated with the FINDERS battle management system. The French Army has evaluated the system.

SACM V8X-1500 Hyperbar diesel engine

The Leclerc is equipped with an SACM V8X-1500 Hyperbar diesel engine providing 1,500hp at 2,500rpm. An electronic engine management system is supplied by Safran. The SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission has a hydrostatic transmission unit and five forward and two reverse gears. The engine is fitted with a Suralmo-Hyperbar high pressure gas turbine. The engine provides a road speed over 70km/h and cross-country speed up to 50km/h.

The tank also has a Turbomeca TM-307B gas turbine auxiliary power unit. The hydropneumatic suspension system is from Societe d’Applications des Machines Motrices (SAMM).

UAE tropicalised Leclerc main battle tank

The tropicalised Leclerc is optimised for tropical and desert conditions to meet the requirement of the UAE. A new powerpack and diesel auxiliary power unit has been installed and the hull is extended at the back to accommodate the powerpack and larger fuel tanks. The Euro Powerpack has the MTU 883 V-12 diesel engine providing 1,500hp, coupled with Renk HSWL295 TM automatic transmission.

"Leclerc is fitted with Galix combat vehicle protection system."

For this and export versions of the tank, Nexter has developed the Leclerc Battle management equipment (LBME), a derivative of FINDERS. The HL-70 commander’s sight has been replaced by the HL-80, also from SFIM.

Leclerc NGRV new-generation recovery vehicle

The Leclerc new-generation recovery vehicle (NGRV) has a longer hull with seven pairs of wheels.

A hydraulically operated blade at the front of the vehicle is used to clear a path through battlefield obstacles. The vehicle is equipped with an hydraulic crane rated to lift 30,000kg loads and a winch with 180m cable rated at 35,000kg. A secondary winch is rated at 1,500kg. The crane and winch systems are supplied by Rheinmetall Landsystemes GmbH.

The Global Armoured Vehicles & Counter IED Vehicles Market 2011-2021

This project forms part of our recent analysis and forecasts of the global armoured vehicles and counter IED vehicles market available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence. For more information click here or contact us: EMEA: +44 20 7936 6783; Americas: +1 415 439 4914; Asia Pacific: +61 2 9947 9709 or via email.

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