The Leclerc is a third-generation French main battle tank developed and manufactured by Nexter Systems. It was named in honor of Marshal Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, a commander of the Free French Forces, who led the 2nd Armoured Division in World War II.

The Leclerc is in service with the French Army, Jordanian Army and the United Arab Emirates Army. In production since 1991, the Leclerc entered French service in 1992, replacing the AMX-30 as the country’s main armoured platform. With production now complete, the French operate 222 Leclercs (with 184 more in storage, for a total of 406), while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) possesses 388.

Of the units in French service, 200 will be upgraded to the Leclerc XLR standard with deliveries expected to begin in 2022.

Weight: 56 t

Crew: 3

Motor: 1500 HP

Armament: 120 mm cannon. 40 rounds (1 round ready to fire in the chamber, 22 rounds inside the autoloader magazine with additional 18 rounds cylinder in the hull)

Max. speed: 71 km/h (on road), 55 km/h (all terrains)

Compare with first Leclerc prototype version

Nexter Systems (formerly known as GIAT Industries or Groupement des Industries de l’Armée de Terre, Army Industries Group) is a French government-owned weapons manufacturer, based in Roanne, Loire.

The GIAT group was founded in 1973 by combining the industrial assets of the technical direction of Army weapons of the French Ministry of Defense. The company was nationalized in 1991. On 22 September 2006 GIAT became the core of the new company Nexter.

For many years GIAT struggled to turn a profit. The company was operated at a loss. A 2001 report by the Cour des Comptes and a 2002 report by the National Assembly described the situation as critical. In April 2004 the board of directors presented the public with a financial statement showing a profit of several hundred million Euros. This was mainly due to increased export sales, and the modernization of the Leclerc Main Battle Tank (MBT) and several other armored platforms. Sales to the UAE however were accomplished with the payment of $200 million to intermediaries.

In 2006, the THL-20 gun turret was selected by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for use on the HAL Light Combat Helicopter, incorporating the 20 mm M621 cannon.

Nexter has a joint venture CTA International with BAE Systems to develop and manufacture case telescoped weapon systems and ammunition of 40 mm calibre.

Nexter continues to produce several former GIAT small arms, cannon, and anti-armour weapons. One such weapon is the Wasp 58, a low cost, one man antiarmour/assault weapon system.

Read more: Tanks and fighting vehicles with Andrew Pantele ...