French military receives first upgraded Leclerc tank - M5 Dergi
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French military receives first upgraded Leclerc tank

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The 501st Combat Tank Regiment (501 RCC, Régiment de Chars de Combat), stationed in Mourmelon-le-Grand, received its inaugural piece from the French army in mid-November 2023, unveiling a significant milestone through a video shared on Facebook—the arrival of the first upgraded Leclerc tank (Leclerc XLR standard).

“The first renovated Leclerc tank (XL-R) has arrived at the 501st RCC! A fourth-generation combat tank equipped with an innovative and integrated weapon system within the SCORPION turret. It constitutes a pivotal tool for coercion and major decision-making within the Army,” exalted the regiment on their official Facebook page.

In June 2021, the General Directorate of Armaments [DGA] placed an order for 50 “upgraded” Leclerc tanks modernized to the XLR standard as part of the SCORPION program, aiming to supply the army with 200 units by 2030.

“The modernization of Leclerc, in service since 1993, stands as one of seven operations within the SCORPION program, aimed at revamping and modernizing the army’s combat capabilities,” elucidated the French Ministry of Armed Forces.

The modernization of the Leclerc tank, whose development was entrusted to Nexter Systems by the DGA in March 2015, primarily focuses on its integration into the overarching tactical groupings of the SCORPION program.

To adapt to evolving threats, its defense capabilities have been reinforced against improvised explosive devices and anti-tank missiles. Moreover, it now boasts a new remotely controlled turret. The tank has also been equipped with a new fire control system, enabling the use of programmable ammunition with precise detonation mechanisms.

The upgraded Leclerc tank will remain in service until the arrival of the future Franco-German ground combat system, Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), anticipated by 2040.

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