Germany And France Signed An Agreement To Create A Joint Tank
Despite the quarantine measures related to the coronavirus, the military of the two countries were able to complete the preparation of a draft of a rather complex agreement, which was being worked on since 2018, and bring it to official approval. On April 28, the German Defense Ministry announced that German defense Ministers Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the French armed forces Florence PARLY signed two agreements that launch the start of work on the implementation of a joint program for the development of a promising main tank Main Ground Combat System (MGCS).
It is stipulated that the funding will be equal-fifty-fifty. Over the next two years, joint research will be conducted to determine the appearance of a promising machine and its internal filling. Based on the results of the research, a technology demonstrator will be developed, which will finally approve the German and French requirements for a joint tank. This stage should be completed by 2014. Then the actual design of the tank, production of its prototypes, and conducting the necessary tests and certifications will begin. The start of new tanks entering service is planned for 2035.
Although the German side will manage the program by mutual agreement, it is very difficult to believe that the result will be a truly breakthrough combat-capable machine of a new generation.
In the twentieth century, really high-quality armored vehicles were designed only in Germany. If you remember the WWII, the tanks of France and Germany can not even be put close. And until the end of the century, the Germans remained leaders, on a global scale. I wonder what the French will be able to contribute to the joint project? It makes sense to remember a not-so-long history.
At the beginning of the past decade, specialists of The rheinmetal industrial group based on the Leopard 2 tank developed the concept of the tank of the future, which they themselves called revolutionary. The concept tank was very effectively presented at several exhibitions as the MBT Revolution.
I must say that our specialists-tank builders and military-gave MBT Revolution a fairly high rating. Paradoxically, NATO did not pay any attention to the proposed revolutionary version of the Leopard.
Gradually, MBT Revolution was transformed into MBT Evolution. That is, now it was not meant to be a revolutionary modernization of tanks like the Leopard 2, but their gradual evolution into machines that meet the requirements of the XXI century. But even this did not make a special impression on the leaders of NATO.
In 2016, the Germans showed something called MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator. There is no revolution, no evolution, just a demonstration of advanced tank technologies. But this demonstrator did not attract attention.
And in 2018, at the Eurosatory exhibition, it was announced that the tank of the future will be the German-French Euro Main Battle Tank, which, as it now turns out, has been renamed the Main Ground Combat System.
It is significant that the French also tried to develop their main Leclerc tank to the last possible opportunity. They created and displayed its renovation version of Leclerc Renove. At the Eurosatory-2016 exhibition, the tank was presented by the French military-industrial Association Nexter Systems. But this was already the Swan song of the French tank industry, as the national Nexter Systems after merging with the German group of industrial companies KMW lost its independence and received a new name KNDS.
It is clear that the Germans will dominate the joint project to create a new tank. But will French engineers agree to be only on the hook, given their natural ambition, bordering on arrogance? Most likely, purely human conflicts cannot be avoided.
Many are sure that the new European tank will in many ways become a copy of the Russian "Armata." It is absolutely certain that it will be equipped with a loading machine, since the main weapon is supposed to be a 130 mm gun, created by Rheinmetal engineers and already highly appreciated by specialists, including Russian ones. The following is known about it: the length of the barrel is 51 calibers, a vertical bolt is used, the charging chamber is enlarged, the inner surface of the barrel is chrome-plated. The barrel is equipped with a heat shield, and there is no muzzle brake. The total weight of the gun is about 3000 kg, the weight of the barrel itself is 1400 kg.
For shooting from a 130 mm gun, despite the large caliber, it is planned to use unitary shots. They will be of two types-an armor-piercing sub-caliber projectile (APFSDS) with an elongated tungsten core and a partially combustible sleeve using a new type of powder charge, as well as a multi-purpose high-explosive projectile with a programmable air detonation (HE ABM), developed on the basis of a similar 120 mm DM11 projectile. Unitary shots are very heavy, you can't load them manually.
It is difficult to say why, with an excellent line of Leopard tanks, the Germans took up a very vague final result of a joint project with the French. Many experts believe that the reason is money. And it's not that large amounts of kickbacks will settle in someone's pockets. Just until 2035, many enterprises of the two countries and thousands of their employees will be provided with jobs and decent earnings. And everything would have been fine if the coronavirus had not intervened, which breaks many stereotypes and buries the most promising projects. Will European unity continue after the pandemic? How will the logistics of joint projects work? Will the economy pull such a costly project? There are many questions.
Only one thing is clear. In this case, Russia has no special reasons for concern. There will be no new tanks in NATO for the next fifteen years. And the symbiosis of the hedgehog and the hedgehog, which began to work in Germany and France, if it even takes place, is unlikely to be combat-ready. But we have every opportunity to create a whole line of new-generation heavy armored vehicles on the Armata platform.