France and MBDA have signed a contract to deliver 200 Akeron MP network-enabled anti-tank guided missiles for the French Armed Forces.
The order is part of investments and “upstream research and technology studies” carried out by the French defense procurement agency and MBDA to modernize the force’s ground capabilities.
French Akeron Missiles
The Akeron missiles have been in service with the French Army, Navy, and Air Force since 2017, while its first operational use was conducted in 2018.
The missiles can reportedly strike targets at up to four kilometers (2.5 miles).
The weapon’s “fire and forget” feature enables warfighters to evacuate a position after launch, hitting targets autonomously.
“With its digital positioning, orientation, and communications capabilities, the [missile] can engage both targets visible to the shooter and those beyond his direct sight,” a statement from the French defense procurement agency said.
“In the latter case, the shooter chooses a type of trajectory before firing then, during the flight, designates the target and refines the point of impact thanks to the color or infrared image feedback from the seeker.”
Modernizing Main Battle Tanks
France also awarded Nexter Systems a contract to upgrade 50 Leclerc main battle tanks. The agreement builds on a 2021 contract ordering the renovation of 50 separate Leclercs.
Each tank will be equipped with reinforced armor against improvised explosives and rockets. Furthermore, the vehicles will have a new programmable fire control.
The resulting prototype, the XLR, was delivered in December and is currently undergoing qualification tests. Around 18 XLRs will be shipped from Nexter’s Roanne facility to the army this year.
Once completed, the 100 revamped tanks will be integrated into the army’s Scorpion combined arms battle group. The fleet will remain in service until the arrival of the future Franco-German Main Ground Combat Systems in 2040.