Can the French Army turn to the KF-51 Panther tank from German company Rheinmetall?

rheinmetall panther kf51 main battle tank 1 MBT battle tanks | Defense Analysis | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts

That’s it… they fell for it. .. It is probably in these terms that the vast majority of readers, at least the most measured among them, approached this new article with a slightly provocative title.

Indeed, the new KF-51 Panther tank presented by its designer, the German Rheinmetall, during the Eurosatory 2022 exhibition, is today the main tool in the hands of its CEO, Armin Papperger, to try to derail the program Franco-German MGCS which aims to design, precisely, the replacement of the French Leclerc tank as well as the German Leopard 2. Developed with its own funds, the Panther is offered by Rheinmetall to anyone showing an interest in acquiring a new heavy tank, including in arrangements that are improbable to say the least .

How, in this case, can we even imagine that France could turn to this armored vehicle, even though it is developing the MGCS and modernizing the Leclerc?

As is often the case, the point of view from which we approach a problem significantly conditions the reasoning and therefore the conclusion that we can draw from it. Thus, today, the French authorities, like the public opinion of the country, actively support the concept of a global army for the French armies, namely an armed force having the majority of the capabilities required to respond to a field of very extensive use.

This is how the Army has forces adapted to both high-intensity symmetrical engagement and the projection of forces in asymmetric environments, and how the Navy has a naval aviation component envied by many other countries. and know-how in terms of naval supremacy and very broad power projection, and that the Air Force is capable of supporting these two armies in all employment scenarios.

What's more, France has a two-component deterrent, which is also very technologically advanced, giving it a weight roughly equal to that of China in this area. What is even rarer, France has a Defense industrial and technological base, or Defense Industry, also global, giving it great autonomy of action and decision regarding the employment of its armed forces, as well as a significant asset on the international scene thanks to arms exports.

To reinforce the Leclerc tank fleet, can the Army turn to the KF-51 Panther from Rheinmetall?
The Army will only modernize 200 of its 226 Leclercs still in service

To achieve this, France devotes several billion euros each year to finance the Defense Industry's Research and Development programs, so as to maintain weapons that are as efficient in the field as they are attractive on the export scene, which allows it to in particular to garner significant budgetary and tax revenues linked to this last aspect and making it possible to reduce the budgetary burden on public finances, in particular thanks to certain star export equipment such as the Rafale plane, the CAESAR cannon, the sub -marin Scorpène or the FDI frigate. In this context, the question posed in the title of this article probably appears unnecessarily provocative.

However, as long as we study the subject methodically and objectively, it appears that the design of certain equipment, notably heavy tanks, generates costs in France far from being offset by export revenues, but also far from offering an operational or political benefit significant enough to justify such developments, rather than turning to solutions proposed by international partners, and which could prove more economical and less restrictive both for the acquisition and for the implementation of this equipment. We continue ?

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