French website Forces Operations Blog reported that Germany and France plan to spend €200 million on their Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program in 2021 to develop a new generation of combat vehicles. These funds will allow the three prime contractors, Nexter on the French side and KMW and Rheinmetall on the German side, to start the phase of building demonstrator prototypes of the systems.
The technological solutions for the new platforms are to be developed between 2021 and 2025 with the design of a prototype to be completed by 2028 and, assuming the MCGS program does not fall behind schedule, the first deliveries to take place around 2035, according to the report.
The Defense Blog website noted that MGCS is first and foremost a team of vehicles similar to the Russian Armata family of combat vehicles. It may involve manned and unmanned ground vehicles as well as unmanned air vehicles. Part of the program will develop the next-generation main battle tank (MBT) to replace the German Leopard-2 and the French Leclerc in the near future.
The Leopard-2 and Leclerc MBTs were designed and developed in the 1970s and 80s and have been significantly upgraded since then. In 2012, France and Germany decided to launch a joint initiative that may lead to a joint program for designing and developing a new MGCS in order to replace their tanks. The European next-generation combat vehicle program is estimated to be worth €1.5 billion.