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French land systems manufacturer Nexter has signed a teaming agreement with International Golden Group (IGG), a leading domestic supplier of equipment to the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), focused on modernising the UAE Army’s Leclerc main battle tank (MBT) fleet, Nexter announced on 21 February 2023.

Nexter and IGG already have a long-term relationship dating back to a co-operation agreement signed in 2006, but the new teaming agreement “is a new step towards a reinforcement of the links between our both companies”, Nexter said in a press statement.

The UAE originally ordered 436 Leclerc-based AFVs, including 388 MBTs, from GIAT Industries (which subsequently became Nexter) and these were delivered between 1994 and 2003.

A UAE-configured version of the Nexter Leclerc MBT on display at IDEX 2023.
(Photo: Nexter)

With the UAE having donated 80 Leclerc MBTs to Jordan in 2020, the UAE Army is believed to have around 300 examples of the type still serving with the UAE Army and the Emirates’ Presidential Guard Command.

Nexter did not release any details of the UAE Leclerc modernisation that has prompted its teaming deal with IGG, but stated that it was aimed at ensuring “the operational superiority of the UAE armed forces for the next 30 years”.

Peter Felstead