Differences in energy issues between Berlin and Paris and the question of “to what extent Europe should become independent from the US in its security policy” caused disagreements between Germany and France, while the inability of Europe to compete with US-China based companies was discussed in the European public for a long time.
In the news of Handelsblatt, one of the important economy newspapers of the German press, it was stated that the next generation fighter jet and battle tank projects, which are planned to be produced within the scope of the joint project of Germany and France in order to reduce Europe’s dependence on the USA, are faced with disagreements and delays.
The news reports that Berlin and Paris will develop the Future Combat Aircraft Combat System (Scaf), which is estimated to cost a total of 100 billion euros in 2017, a Franco-German tank (Main Ground Battle) that will replace the German Leopard 2 and the French Leclerc. It was reminded that they agreed to work on the System-MGCS).
In the news, it was stated that there were problems from the beginning due to the competition of the companies involved and the governments following different strategies in both projects.
In the news, it was pointed out that the success of the tank project that will replace the German Leopard 2 and the French Leclerc, which was launched 6 years ago, is now increasingly questioned, and that the German side recruited the Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) arms companies, the French for the said joint tank project. side of the tank manufacturer reportedly chose Nexter.
The merger of KMW and Nexter to form the new holding company, KNDS, raised concerns in Germany that majority control of the tank development contract could fall into the hands of the French, while Paris and Berlin were only able to agree on a division of labor after lengthy negotiations.
Well-intentioned words were not reflected on the field
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius met with French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu in the capital Berlin on 10 July. After the meeting, the two ministers made evaluations about the battle tank, which is planned to be produced within the scope of the joint project of Germany and France.
German Defense Minister Pistorius said, “We want to continue this joint project despite all the rumors and rumors,” and stated that the Franco-German friendship is “unique”.
Pistorius stated that they left the diplomatic stage behind in developing a joint battle tank with France, and noted that they aimed to give a clear message that they wanted to start concrete work with French Defense Minister Lecornu on 10 July.
French Defense Minister Lecornu also announced that the chiefs of staff of both countries were assigned until the 4th quarter of this year to determine the capabilities of the new tank.
Noting that they will hold a meeting on the tank project in France in September or at the latest in the 4th quarter, Lecornu emphasized that they created this calendar in order to present proposals on the tank project to Prime Minister Olaf Scholz and President Emmanuel Macron.
The well-meaning words in question did not change anything about the problems with the armament project. According to the French government, while the tanks should be used in armies from 2035, the project is progressing very slowly.
Paris is under more pressure than Berlin because the Leclerc tanks are outdated. Berlin is busy modernizing the Leopard 2s with the A8 version.
There is little pressure on Germany to develop a successor, as the Leopard is considered one of the best main battle tanks in the world, even in its current version.
According to Handelsblatt’s report, some industry representatives stated that the joint development of a Franco-German tank model had little chance of success. “We no longer believe in MGCS,” said an anonymous person.
According to the report, Rheinmetall and KNDS did not comment on the matter.
The French are uncomfortable with Rheinmetall
According to the report, France was particularly uncomfortable with the integration of Rheinmetall, and with the Russia-Ukraine war, the German company became the main supplier of armaments in Germany and Europe.
The report stated that the “imminent failure” of the main battle tank project highlighted the overall weak state of arms production cooperation between Berlin and Paris, and that the related companies in FCAS, Airbus and Dassault, had difficulty in agreeing to move to the next stage in the project, and that the German government, It was noted that the French-German Tiger attack helicopter was withdrawn from the modernization.
In the news, it was claimed that France always wanted as many components as possible to come from its own country in joint armament projects, European sovereignty was mentioned superficially in defense, but Paris was more concerned with creating local employment and value.
Meanwhile, while Paris pursued its goal of further incorporating Italy into the MGCS, it was noted that this was seen as “a ploy for France to keep Rheinmetall in check”.
In the news, it was stated that it was believed in German government circles that the participation of the Italians in the tank project would threaten to complicate the project even more.