KNDS: French and German joint products – EMBT and MGCS and the 140mm Ascalon gun

KNDS: French and German joint products – EMBT and MGCS and the 140mm Ascalon gun
Autor fotografie: KNDS, Public domain|Popisek: MGCS concept art
04 / 06 / 2024, 23:00

Two years ago, KNDS presented a wide variety of systems at Eurosatory 2022, specifically in the domain of the Main Battle Tanks with the EMBT (Enhanced Main Battle Tank) and the MGSC (Main Ground Combat System).

In 2015, the shareholders of Germany's KMW and France's Nexter founded KNDS, a franco-german association in the land defense sector. Since then, two of the foremost European suppliers of military land systems to many armies worldwide, are operating jointly, with production lines in France and Germany and industrial partnerships all over the world. Their product portfolio ranges from Main Battle Tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems, weapons stations, ammunition and military bridges to customer services, Battle Management Systems, training solutions, protection solutions and a wide range of equipment.

The latest major orders were the midlife upgrade for the 322 FENNEK vehicles of the Netherlands Army, 24 LEGUAN bridge layers for the German Bundeswehr, 42 JAGUAR, 271 GRIFFON, and 364 SERVAL vehicles related to the French SCORPION program, as well as support and service activities for the French army, and CAESAR guns for the Czech republic.

Enhanced Main Battle Tank

Two years ago, KNDS presented a wide variety of systems at Eurosatory 2022, specifically in the domain of the Main Battle Tanks with the EMBT (Enhanced Main Battle Tank), the first joint product unveiled at Eurosatory 2018. It is a new experimental platform, featuring a 4 men crew concept (2 men turret, 2 men chassis) with an evolutionary 120mm turret coupled to a new generation ammunition and a completely new and reconfigurable MMI (Man/Machine Interface).

EMBT

The former Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, General Jiří Šedivý, told us about it some time ago: "It will very likely be a tank that will be even more involved in the multi-domain battlefield system. The command, control, surveillance and fire control system will be heavily supported by artificial intelligence. The firepower of the weapon will be much more supported by the fire control system beyond the horizon of observation. It is very likely that the armour of the new tanks will be further improved, as will the tank protection and defence systems. The tank's powerplant and chassis will be based on the Leopard tank, which will mean a relatively conservative approach to chassis upgrades."

The solution allows dynamic task allocation and testing of "innovative crew concepts" with variable number of crew stations including the presence of a System Operator: as a response to the cognitive workload of the tank commander, it enables to leverage the full potential of an extensive sensors and effectors suite while progress is being made on AI technologies. The platform includes a modern power pack with digital control allowing drive-by-wire, which is a prerequisite for remoted automated driving operations and manned/unmanned teaming. The 30mm RCWS located on the turret introduces counter-UAV capability.

Main Ground Combat System

In 2022, as a major player in the MGCS program, KNDS also presented the ASCALON gun and ammunition concept. This innovative concept, while proposing significant growth potential, delivers performance levels that current technologies do not offer. Taking advantage of its long experience with the 120mm smoothbore gun, its mastery of compact ammunition as well as of the maturity achieved during firing campaigns with a 140mm caliber, KNDS designed ASCALON with an open architecture to serve as a basis for cooperative development within the framework of the Franco-German MGCS program, laying the foundations for the future standard of European tank gun and ammunition.

In April 2024 it was announced that KNDS Deutschland, KNDS France, Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Thales intend to establish a joint project company in order to meet the challenges of such a complex multi-platform system, the MGCS, in the best possible and synergetic way, acting in the spirit of the bilateral Franco-German agreement. The contract is to be implemented from 2025.

The CENTURIO robotic system

The Main Battle Tanks, including latest evolution of the actual Leclerc and Leopard 2, will certainly be a major topic at Eurosatory 2024 too. Another domain which will attract the attention of the potencial partners and visitors of the exhibition is the robotic systems. In April, KNDS France tested its new CENTURIO robotic system at Canjuers. In April 2023, KNDS France joined forces with SERA Ingénierie. The idea was to develop a multi-purpose robotic carrier weighing less than two tonnes unladen, based on the PHOBOS robotic platform.

The PHOBOS was developed using a modular architecture with the emphasis on autonomy and mobility, and was unveiled at Eurosatory back in June 2022. The new CENTURIO incorporates an autonomous mobility kit developed by KNDS France, which combines assisted remote operation with autonomous capabilities that can be used in a hostile environment to provide an optimised Man-Robot system in which the contribution of each entity is adjusted as effectively as possible and in real time, whatever the tactical situation.

Eurosatory exhibition has a long tradition

Founded in 1967, the exhibition EUROSATORY is the essential global event for Defence & Security professionals. Held every two years in Paris, EUROSATORY offers a unique opportunity to meet manufacturers and start-ups from all over the world, along with public and private Defence & Security market players; exchange with the best experts, governments and their administrations, international institutions and NGOs; attend top-level lectures and round tables; discover the state of the art and the global showcase for innovation and gain insight into the sector’s prospects and developments.

At each of its editions, through comprehensive, concrete, innovative and forward-looking proposals, EUROSATORY showcases more than 500 new solutions and presents its institutional and professional visitors with the widest array of solutions and services, thereby offering them the opportunity to enhance their Defence and Security capabilities.

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