France will support the offer to export new generation tanks to the Indian army

In June of last year, 12 companies supplying main battle tanks received requests for information (RFIs) from the Indian government. The RFI related to the supply of approximately 1,770 new tanks to the Indian army within the framework of a program called Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV).

In preparation for more than a decade, the FRCV envisions the replacement of the Indian Army’s Soviet-era T-72 tank fleet. The first of the new tanks is expected to enter service by 2030 and will have advanced networking capabilities to communicate with ground and air forces. The value of the FRCV contract was previously estimated to be around $ 5 billion. The French Nexter was one of the companies to receive the RFI, with companies in Russia, Israel, Europe, Turkey and the United States.

Last week, the French government informed the National Assembly, the country’s lower house of parliament, that it would support Nexter’s industrial proposal for India. The FRCV project envisions manufacturing the selected tank in India with a “strategic partner”.

The French government’s response was published on December 28 and answered a question from Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Member of the National Assembly. Asked about India’s FRCV project, Dupont-Aignan called for the resumption of production of Nexter’s existing Leclerc tank. The French army had inducted a total of 406 Leclerc tanks in the mid-2000s. The Leclerc was also exported to the United Arab Emirates, which donated dozens of this type to Jordan.

In his question, Dupont-Aignan stressed that France was only modernizing around 200 Leclerc tanks for use until 2040. Dupont-Aignan stressed that “over the next 20 years, nothing is planned to effectively strengthen the heavy land combat means “of the French. Army. He argued that Nexter would win the FRCV contract would mean separate production lines for the Leclerc in France and India, which would make “the purchase price of this tank particularly competitive, for both the Indian and French armies and for export “.

He argued that France needed at least 400 tanks. Dupont-Aignan also highlighted the possibility of sharing with India the cost of developing specialized versions of the Leclerc for purposes such as the command vehicle, artillery platform and air defense.

In its response to Dupont-Aignan, the French government declared that it would ensure synergies “which may exist between the needs of the Indian armies and our national needs”.

The Leclerc

In his question, Dupont-Aignan noted: “The Leclerc tank with its mass of only 55 tonnes, its good mobility with its 1,500 hp engine and the excellence of its turret and firing system, is very well placed. »To win the FRCV contract.

The Leclerc is lighter than most large Western tanks such as the American M1 Abrams, the British Challenger, and the German Leopard 2, all of which weigh over 60 tonnes.

The Leclerc also has a crew of three men, unlike the other three Western models, the “charger” being absent. Instead of the magazine, a soldier who manually inserts cartridges into the pistol, the Leclerc has an “autoloader” device for this purpose; Russian tanks such as the T-72 and T-90 are also equipped with automatic chargers. The Leclerc also has an advanced communication system for networking with land and air units.

The French Army’s Leclerc tanks are currently being upgraded to the Leclerc XLR standard, which would include a modular armor set, a new combat information system, radios, jammers and a remote machine gun.

Nexter is working on a futuristic tank project with German Krauss Maffei Wegmann for a common tank to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2, but the vehicles are unlikely to go into mass production by 2040. The response from the French government in the National Assembly did not specify what type of tank Nexter would offer India.

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