Germany versus France

Last week saw the announcement of the merger of French company Nexter and Germany tank manufacturer KMW.

Take a look at my story here for a more detailed view of what the future holds for the two firms, but for now let’s have a gander at some tanks (and other vehicles).

As most of you defence enthusiasts, or tank geeks, will know, the two companies have a significant amount of products that are similar to each other. It has been confirmed, however, that neither is planning on getting rid of any, despite the potential crossover.

So which do you think is best?

Leclerc versus Leopard

The French Nexter Leclerc and the German KMW Leopard 2 MBTs are the first two products that come to mind. Both have been in service for over 30 years and have export customers.


The 56t Leclerc was developed in the 1980s and is currently in service with the French Army and the UAE. Most recently, Nexter was awarded a contract to upgrade 200 of the platforms, allowing them to remain in service until 2040 as part of the Scorpion programme. The final batch of tanks to be delivered to the French Army were built to Block II+ standard, which includes additional armour and a laser rangefinder.

Leopard 2

Meanwhile, the Leopard 2 MBT was developed in the 1970s and a total of 2,125 were produced for domestic use. The platform has been used in Afghanistan by both Canadian and Danish militaries. Controversially, Qatar has placed an order for the MBT, which came up against stiff opposition in German because of the country’s poor human rights records.

VBCI versus Boxer

Next up is the French VBCI infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the German Boxer armoured personnel carrier (APC).Paris Le Bourget air show 2015

VBCI was developed to replace the tracked AMX-10, and is an 8×8 wheeled vehicle designed to work alongside the Leclerc. The platform is designed to fit onto the Airbus A400M, which was demonstrated at the Paris Air Show earlier this year. Many of the VBCIs are equipped with the one-man Dragar 25mm turret.


The German 8×8 Boxer APC was the result of a joint venture called ARTEC between KMW and Rheinmetall and is currently being delivered to the German and Dutch militaries. Various configurations for the 33t vehicle have been designed and produced, including APC, C2, ambulance, engineer, cargo, repair, driver training and IFV. The platform can be fitted with various remote weapon stations or manned/unmanned turrets.

Gains for the new JV

While the companies seem to have a number of products that overlap, they also have many that complement each other.

KMW produces the tracked Puma IFV (under a JV with Rheinmetall) and PzH 2000 and Donar self-propelled howitzers; whereas Nexter manufactures a wheeled IFV and towed 155mm artillery systems Caesar and Trajan as well as the 105mm LG1 gun. This creates a more complete family of products between the two companies.Puma IFVCaesar

Keep an eye on for more stories to come about the future of the new Franco-German unity.

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