Nexter and Safran Electronics & Defense have been notified by the French defence procurement agency, the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), of a contract to develop and integrate new commander’s and gunner’s sights for the French Army’s Leclerc main battle tanks (MBTs), the companies announced on 8 February 2024.
“Following technical negotiations with the DGA teams, Nexter and Safran Electronics & Defense are strengthening the ‘observation’ function [of the Leclerc MBT] in light of the new threats on the battlefield,” the companies stated in a joint press release. “The optronic core of the Leclerc tank’s weapon system is [being] digitised to increase the data flow and provide high-quality images in all conditions. The analogue video system of the Leclerc tank is [being] replaced by a digital video system.”
The value of the contract was not disclosed.
While the gunner’s sight is being modernised with latest-generation optronic sensors and new electronics, the commander’s sight is being replaced by a latest-generation PASEO sight designed for panoramic observation and engagement in all conditions. The PASEO family already provides the same functions on the French Army’s Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle. For the commander’s scope, OPT-Sys, which like Nexter operates as part of KNDS, provides the digital monocular that serves as the interface between the tank commander and the PASEO sight.
The latest-generation commander’s and gunner’s sights are part of the Leclerc XLR upgrade programme, which also features Scorpion vetronics, reinforced protection and a new remotely operated turret. Leclerc XLR MBTs have been in production since the beginning of 2023 and should all be delivered with their modernised sights by 2035.