The KNDS Enhanced Main Battle Tank (EMBT) technology demonstrator was on show, fitted with the new EMBT-ADT 140 uncrewed turret. (Andrew White/Breaking Defense)

EUROSATORY 2024 —  European defense firm KNDS unveiled its new Enhanced Main Battle Tank (EMBT) technology demonstrator at Eurosatory this week to showcase technologies being proposed for the future Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) requirement.

EMBT was displayed next to KNDS’s Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 and Leclerc Evolution MBTs, both of which are being proposed as interim upgrade candidates for French and German armies ahead of the potential entry into service of MGCS in 2035 and onwards. MGCS was first launched in 2017 with the aim of developing a European next-generation main battle tank to replace German Army Leopard 2 and French Army Leclerc vehicles. KNDS is a joint venture between France’s Nexter and Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

Featuring an upgraded Leopard chassis with shortened engine to increase space inside the vehicle’s compartment, EMBT features KNDS’s new EMBT-ADT 140 uncrewed turret, which includes the 140mm Ascalon gun, ARX30 30mm x 113mm remote controlled weapon station and the French Ministry of Defense’s Prometheus active protection system.

EMBT also includes KNDS’s AI-enabled “SAFE” fire control system, an internally developed solution designed to assist the autonomous selection and queuing of weapon systems on board the platform to successfully prosecute targets in order of priority.

A company spokesperson told Breaking Defense that every vehicle in the future MGCS fleet should be equipped with SAFE software, which can also be networked to other assets across multiple domains.

The spokesperson also stressed SAFE would maintain the human in-the-loop during any fire mission before confirming the successful completion of non-kinetic field tests conducted with the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) in the first half of June.

Unlike Leonard 2 A-RC 3.0 and Leclerc Evolution MBTs on display at Eurosatory, the EMBT requires a crew of three personnel rather than four, with a company statement describing how the “turret demonstrator illustrates our vision of future technologies integration such as sensor fusion, integral hemispheric active protection, AI, cyber and hybrid applications on energy”.

“KNDS is pro-actively anticipating MGCS by developing the Ascalon Demonstrator Turret (ADT 140),” the spokesperson said. Live fire on-the-move trials are scheduled to take place in 2025, they added.

Also on display at Eurosatory was Rheinmetall’s Concept Unmanned Turret (CUT) for the Panther KF51 MBT with company officials offering up the capability as an interim solution should MGCS be postponed.

Earlier this week, KNDS France, KNDS Germany, Rheinmetall and Thales signed a government agreement to create a joint project company to pursue the MGCS program. The agreement aims to ensure a balanced workshare between French and German industrial partners within the program ahead of a proposed contract expected to be signed in 2025.

Earlier in the month, Italian company Leonardo and KNDS ceased discussions regarding cooperation in joint development and production of Leopard 2A8 MBTs as well as cooperation on MGCS.