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Nexter has released details of previously unknown live fire trials with its developmental 140mm gun integrated onto a LECLERC main battle tank (MBT) platform, which occurred last year as part of ongoing concept studies for the next-generation Main Ground Combat System (MGCS).

The firing trials took place over several months, according to Mike Duckworth, Vice President of Regional Sales at Nexter, speaking to MONCh: “We had the hardware...a lot of it was about demonstrating that we could put it on the 50t LECLERC, looking at how the chassis performed and the overpressures.”

But we are not saying that MGCS is a Leclerc with a 140mm,” said Mr Duckworth. “Conceptual studies are ongoing.”

The 140mm gun, a product of the Future Tank Main Armament programme between several nations in the 1990s, has only been trialled on test rigs before according to Nexter. Although for this integration there was no autoloader functionality or gun stabilisation, and mobility was not trialled.

As part of other development activities, Mr Duckworth highlighted continuing trials of a standard Leclerc integrated with a tethered drone, a concept that will be fully unveiled at this year’s IDEX in Abu Dhabi. “The sensor on the drone can now designate targets,” he explained.

Nexter is also poised to begin DGA qualification of its new multimode 120mm round known as the M3M. This “smart” HE round can be programmed when loaded in the breech and offers the crew impact, delay and air burst modes in one round.

The company is also working on an improved armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) round called SHARD, as well as a guided 120mm round called POLYNEGE that could follow a pre-programmed path or be laser-guided.

The French Army is expected to introduce an upgraded variant of the LECLERC by 2021, which will incorporate a new battle management system from Atos, software-defined radios from Thales and a new vetronics system. (Image: Nexter)

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