Following yesterday’s press conference held by the German and French ministers in Berlin, the announcement was made that a significant breakthrough in negotiations about the development of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) had been achieved.

Pistorius Lecornu
Sebastien Lecornu and Boris Pistorius in Berlin, BMVg

This result came after multiple years of stalled negotiations which were particularly difficult in coming to an agreement about the armament decisions and other workshare packages for the future combat vehicles. Having put aside these quarrels, the two countries have now agreed to a schedule to launch the development of demonstrators. An initial memorandum of understanding (MoU) is planned to be signed in Paris in April. The development contract for Phase 1a of the project is being finalized and plans foresee a contract signature later this year.

By year-end, Germany plans to allocate contracts worth several hundred million euros for the demonstrator phase. Alongside KNDS France, the French workshare is anticipated to involve Thales, Safran, and MBDA, along with smaller firms. Beyond KNDS Germany, German companies like Rheinmetall, Hensoldt, Diehl and others will also participate.

Despite the refusal of giving up workshare information related to the project, first details have emerged. The project will be split in 8 pillars, similar to the arrangement made for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Defense Archives can provide vague insight into what most of the pillars entail, which are understood to be:

  • Pillar 1: Chassis and Platform, including propulsion
  • Pillar 2: Turret & Conventional firepower
  • Pillar 3: New Generation Firepower (Laser, HPEM, Missiles)
  • Pillar 4: Combat Cloud
  • Pillar 5: Simulation
  • Pillar 6: Sensors (covering all spectrums, from Visual to Electromagnetic)
  • Pillar 7: Protection (Active and Passive)
  • Pillar 8: Infrastructure and Support

These are the preliminary results that have been negotiated so far. As mentioned earlier, the main armament has reportedly been the most difficult to resolve. According to information from the German Ministry of Defense, teams from KNDS France and Rheinmetall will be embedded in multiple engineering teams, jointly developing the next generation large-caliber gun. It is understood that most pillars, including the main armament, will be built around equally divided workshare packages, with each individual pillar led by a different entity. The overall project management will be under German leadership. There are some provisions for smaller rearrangements for potential new minor partners in the project; however, details of these plans are unknown.