France, Germany Unite to Build AI-Powered 'Tank of the Future'

France, Germany Unite to Build AI-Powered ‘Tank of the Future’

In a major step forward for European defense cooperation, France and Germany have signed an agreement to jointly develop the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) – billed as the ‘tank of the future.’ The deal paves the way for this advanced battle tank program to enter a new phase after years of delays.

French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius formalized the 50-50 industrial work share arrangement during a ceremony in Paris on Friday. The two NATO allies first agreed to pursue the next-generation tank system back in 2017 to eventually replace their current Leclerc and Leopard 2 tanks from 2040 onward.

“Today’s signing is a real milestone,” said Pistorius. “This is not the tank of the future but the future of the tank,” Lecornu added, underscoring its potential to revolutionize armored warfare.

Also read this: Baykar’s New Drone Sets Altitude Record with Indigenous Engine

The MGCS represents a significant leap in capability compared to modern tanks. In addition to a new manned tank design, it will include a system of unmanned ground vehicles providing reconnaissance and force protection. Artificial intelligence, laser weapons, and cutting-edge networking are other key features planned for the multi-billion-euro program.

Overcoming Delays

Progress had stalled in recent years amid competing industrial interests in France and Germany over work-share details. March saw a breakthrough when the two ministers agreed on an equal division of responsibilities between defense firms in each nation.

Manufacturers like KNDS, Nexter, KMW and Rheinmetall have now been designated to lead development of specific vehicle subsystems like platforms, turrets and main guns. Negotiations are beginning to put formal contracts in place, with an initial demonstrator vehicle targeted for late 2023.

“The aim is to have the contracts in place by the end of the year, which is very ambitious,” said Pistorius. He added that while the MGCS is a bilateral French-German endeavor for now, other partners like Italy could potentially join the program later.

Symbolizing Unity

Beyond its military importance, the deal holds political symbolism at a time when French-German unity has been tested by diverging threat perceptions and priorities over supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine.

The two nations are eager to showcase their defense industrial cooperation on a marquee program like MGCS after a series of recent disagreements. As Europe faces renewed security threats, the path to fielding this ‘tank of the future’ reinforces the resolve of Paris and Berlin to maintain their strategic partnership.

Keep connected with us at FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram & TikTok for latest defense happening around the globe.

© International Defence Analysis | All Rights Reserved