France to Modernize CN235 Aircraft, Leclerc Tanks

  • Bureau
  • 09:15 AM, January 14, 2023
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France to Modernize CN235 Aircraft, Leclerc Tanks
CN235 medium-range twin-engined transport aircraft

France’s Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has awarded contracts for the upgrade of CN235 transport aircraft and 50 Leclerc tanks.

Sabena Technics Bod and Thales Avs France SAS won €107 million on December 20 to renovate cockpit of the Air Force’s CN235-200 and CN235-300 aircraft. The objective is to replace the current avionics of aircraft with modern avionics allowing their operation until 2040. The upgrades will also improve navigation performance for tactical missions.

The framework agreement includes the firm part of the development, qualification and certification of the avionics modification of the CN235 and the delivery at the end of 2026 of a prototype for each of the 2 versions of the aircraft, one corresponding to the CN235 version -200 and the other to the CN235-300 version.

The modernization of all 27 aircraft in the fleet will take place between 2026 and 2031.

The DGA has also asked Nexter Systems to upgrade 50 Leclerc tanks. “100 renovated tanks have thus been ordered from the manufacturer, a first batch of 50 having already been notified in June 2021,” an official release said.

France to Modernize CN235 Aircraft, Leclerc Tanks
Leclerc tank

The renovation of the Leclerc tank, the design of which was entrusted in March 2015 by the DGA to the company Nexter Systems, aims first and foremost to integrate it into the Scorpion combined arms battle groups. To this end, the XLR, the first prototype renovated Leclerc tank delivered to the DGA on December 22, 2022, is equipped with alert and information resources common to Scorpion vehicles: vetronics, information and command system - SICS - radio Contact.

In addition, to adapt to new threats, its protection is reinforced against improvised explosive devices and rockets, and it is equipped with an armament cupola remotely operated from inside the tank. Its aggression capacity is also improved thanks to the development of a new fire control allowing it to fire ammunition with effect or programmable trigger.

Qualification tests have started on the XLR and are being carried out in close collaboration with the Army Technical Section. The first eighteen examples of renovated XLR tanks, produced at the Roanne site, will be delivered during 2023. The renovated Leclerc tank will remain in service until the arrival of the future Franco-German land combat system Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) by 2040.

200 Leclerc tanks should be renovated for the benefit of the Army by 2029.

The Leclerc tank is a third-generation 60-ton class combat tank, manufactured by Nexter in Roanne until July 2008. Its crew is made up of three operators: the tank commander, the gunner and the driver. It is armed with a 120 mm cannon. It is one of the rare battle tanks capable of firing while rolling at a fixed or moving target up to a distance of 4,000 meters.

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