In recent months, numerous industrial and military reports from across the Rhine have given substance to a possible opposition between the observed recovery of the European combat tank market, linked to the conflict in Ukraine, and the timetable initially planned for the Franco-German MGCS program. The latter must replace, from 2035, the expensive French Leclerc and German Leopard
The presentation, a few weeks ago, of the new Leopard 2A8 version of the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann tank, increased this pressure on the MGCS program. Furthermore, in less than eight weeks, the new German tank has managed to attract the Bundeswehr, Norway, the Czech Republic and Italy, while the Netherlands also seems to be heading towards an upcoming acquisition.
In fact, it was not surprising that German manufacturers viewed with concern the probable overlap of the two offers, which could potentially harm both the immediate sale of the Leopard Leopard and reduce the addressable market for the MGCS upon its entry. in service, as the CEO of the industrial RENK, Suzanne Weigand, did last April , calling for a shift in the Franco-German program towards 2040 or beyond.
If a few days ago, French and German ministers Sébastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius maintained the initial timetable at 2035 following a meeting in Berlin, everything indicated until then that, for German industrialists, this remained counterproductive, even if the main interested party, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann producing the Leopard 2 and partner of the French Nexter within the KNDS joint venture, remained surprisingly discreet on the subject.
The reason for this discretion could have been revealed by the Stuttgart-Zeitung site on July 15 . The article in question announces that it has come into possession of internal KMW documents concerning the planned production of Leopard 2 tanks by 2032, obviously crucial information (although without the slightest doubt confidential), to assess the reality of the industrial overlap discussed for several months now.
However, according to this document, the German manufacturer plans to deliver over the next 10 years, between today and the end of 2032, only 648 Leopard 2s to its future European customers, a volume much lower than what it would be necessary to achieve in order to significantly erode the addressable market of the MGCS program when it launches in 2035.
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