Nexter Systems has received a contract from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to upgrade the national army's Leclerc main battle tanks (MBTs) and DCL armoured recovery vehicles.
Valued at €330m, the contract represents the third order awarded by the French Defence Ministry under the Scorpion programme, which aims to modernise the French Army's contact forces.
Under the contract, the company will deliver a total of 200 'Leclerc Renovated' tanks, and 18 'DCL Renovated' convenience stores tank to the French Army.
The planned upgrade is expected to enable the tanks to make the best use of its fire power and mobility within future 'Scorpion' joint tactical groups (GTIA).
In particular, the upgraded tanks will be able to effectively network with all components of future Scorpion GTIA groups with the development of specific interfaces for the new Contact tactical radio system and the Scorpion information system and command (SICS).
The upgrade programme will also boost the tank's protection through the development of specific armour kits, which would enable the platform to better cope with changing threats, especially improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
In addition, the programme aims to maintain the tank's capacity to provide French ground forces with the 'first entry' ability as part of an international coalition through a high degree of automation and diagnostic aid, beyond 2040.
Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to take place from 2020.
The French Army is believed to have 406 Leclrec tanks and 20 armoured recovery vehicles in service.
Built by Nexter, the Leclerc is a third-generation tank armed with a Nato standard CN120-26 120mm smooth bore gun, a coaxial 12.7mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 7.62mm machine gun, and offers protection against IEDs, mines and rocket propelled grenades.
Apart from France, the tanks are also operated by the UAE armed forces, and are being considered for acquisition by Qatar.
Image: Nexter will deliver 200 'Leclerc Renovated' tanks and 18 'DCL Renovated' vehicles to French Army. Photo: courtesy of Nexter.