Given below are the weblinks of the show dailies published during this expo.
Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and France’s Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS) pitched a cross between a Leopard 2A7 chassis and a AMX-56 Leclerc turret at the Eurosatory 2018 expo in Paris on June 11. Officially dubbed the European Main Battle Tank, or EMBT, the vehicle is meant to showcase that German and French companies can work together on the path toward an envisioned Main Ground Combat System pursued by both nations, which is slated to see the light of day in the mid-2030s. Additionally, the developers believe that this “Frankentank” meets a real-life demand, and they hope a paying customer might take the idea and run with it. For now, the EMBT is a demonstrator project funded by the two companies’ joint venture, KNDS.
The benefit of the hybrid machine lies in the Leopard 2 MBT’s “very-high capability” chassis, which can carry up to 68 tonnes, and merging it with the lightness of the Leclerc’s turret, which needs only a crew of two to operate. As a result, potential customers get 10% of the weight, or 6 tonnes, to install additional kit on the EMBT as they see fit. In essence, the EMBT is a 62-tonne hybrid comprising a modified fuselage, a 7-axle chassis, a Leopard-2A7V propulsion unit and a twin, lighter version of the Leclerc’s turret with an ammunition autoloader and a 120mm CN1120-26 smoothbore cannon.
The crew thus comprises three members (commander, gunner and driver). The biggest challenge for the constructors was the foundation of the French turret on the German hull. Engineers struggled not only with incompatible drives, but also had to meet the requirements of German legislation that limit the transfer of military technologies abroad. The next stage in the EMBT project is to develop a prototype and launch pre-series production. To date, raction and firing tests of the EMBT demonstrator have been successfully carried out in the south of France.
KNDS was founded on December 15, 2015 in Amsterdam. It is worth noting that the German and French governments are intensely eyeing the concept disclosed by Rheinmetall in February 2016, named MGCS 2030+ (Main Ground Combat System) with a new 130mm gun. In turn, Nexter is working on a modernised AMX-56 Leclerc MBT as part of a wider Scorpion programme.
In terms of new revolutionary trends, MBT developers worldwide are now gravitating towards the construction of MBTs with weight-saving High-Nitrogen Steel (HNS), and the adoption of turret-bustles containing ammunition stored in autoloaders. In terms of both trends, the pioneer was Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has since developed the HNS-built 48-tonne Type 10 MBT, which is powered by a four-strike V8 diesel engine developing 1,200hp, thereby offering a power-to-weight ratio of 27hp/tonne.
The 57.4 tonne AMX-56 Leclerc from Nexter Systems comes powered by a 1,500hp V8X SACM 8-cylinder diesel engine that offers a power-to-weight ratio of 27.52 hp/tonne.
To date, the French Army has acquired 406 Leclercs of which 320 of them make up four armoured regiments each with 80 Leclercs.
The UAE has ordered 390 Leclercs and 46 ARVs. These are all powered by 1,500hp MTU 883 V-12 diesel engines, coupled with the Renk HSWL295 TM automatic transmission. All Leclercs have autoloaders in the turret-bustles.
Even Russia has abandoned the hull-mounted horizontal carousal autoloader and by the mid-1990s the Omsk-based KBTM OKB and Omsktransmash JSC developed the Ob'yekt 640 Black Eagle MBT, whose turret rear contained the horizontal autoloader-cum-ammunition stowage compartment withblow-out panels.
Russia’s Uralvagonzavod JSC-built 48-tonne Ob’yekt 148 Armata MBT, however, has rejected the turret-mounted autoloader-cum-ammunition stowage compartment and has instead gone for a hull-mounted vertical autoloader.
The Armata, powered by a 1,350hp A85-3AX-diesel engine, has a power-to-weight ratio of 31hp/tonne (the highest among all present-day MBTs) and its 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore cannon fires the Vacuum-1 APFSDS round that has a 900mm-long KE penetrator, which is said to be capable of penetrating 1 metre of RHA at a distance of 2km.
(to be concluded)