In September last year, Paris and Berlin joined forces to breathe new life into the MGCS, or the Main Ground Combat System. This ambitious project, a product of French-German collaboration, seeks to redefine the landscape of tank warfare and ground combat, with its implementation expected between 2040 and 2045.
What is the MGCS?
The MGCS journey began in 2017 alongside the Future Air Combat System (SCAF). It represents a remarkable Franco-German defense program aimed at replacing the venerable German Leopard 2 tanks and the French Leclerc tanks while incorporating cutting-edge technology. But the MGCS is no ordinary armored vehicle; it is designed as a multi-platform system, comprising a tank with a formidable large-caliber cannon supported by a network of interconnected modules.
A Multi-Faceted Arsenal
The MGCS is more than just a tank; it’s a versatile system. In addition to the tank itself, it encompasses other critical components, including a heavily armored vehicle armed with potent anti-tank missiles, a native-robotic support team equipped with laser weaponry, drones, and other innovative weapons.
Setting the Course
The recent meeting between Sébastien Lecornu, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, and his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, on September 22 was pivotal for MGCS development. Both ministers, accompanied by their respective army chiefs, reaffirmed their commitment to the project by signing a common roadmap. Their primary objective is to solidify the “common operating requirements,” laying the foundation for the project. According to the French Minister of the Armed Forces, the MGCS program aims to be operational between 2040 and 2045.
The MGCS: “Tank of the Future”
The MGCS’s claim to fame lies in two pivotal elements: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hyperconnectivity.
AI is at the heart of the MGCS. It will empower the crews by providing intelligence and assisting in planning, command execution, and fire coordination. The vast amount of data analyzed will facilitate swift decision-making. However, it’s important to note that humans will always be at the center of these decisions, with AI serving as a valuable tool.
Hyperconnectivity is another cornerstone of the MGCS. It relies on a robust integrated combat cloud, enabling real-time sharing of tactical information. This connectivity allows different modules and vehicles to instantly process, store, and distribute tactical data, thus enabling semi-automated coordination to maximize the impact on the enemy.
The MGCS aligns with the evolving battlefield dynamics, adapting to new threats like armed drones, autonomous weapons, and cyberattacks. Its mission is to create a combat environment where decision-making is faster, making combatants more effective and better protected.
MGCS Combat Capabilities
Engaging the Enemy
The MGCS’s strike force is formidable, capable of firing accurately at distances of up to 8,000 meters. This range is twice that of the current Leclerc battle tank, offering enhanced offensive capabilities. Additionally, the interconnected modules accompanying the MGCS provide greater mobility and firepower, posing a multifaceted challenge for adversaries and complicating their decision-making process.
The MGCS ecosystem excels in observation, with a range of up to 10,000 meters. This extended reach enhances the ability to locate and anticipate targets, giving MGCS operators a critical advantage on the battlefield.
Protecting the Crew
The MGCS offers a comprehensive defense package featuring active camouflage, reinforced armor, countermeasures, and neutralization systems to counter air and ground threats. Combined with its mobility and the ability to distribute weapons and equipment across multiple platforms, it significantly enhances the safety and protection of combatants.
The Future Beckons
All these innovations will come to the forefront in Project Titan, set to succeed the Scorpion, an army modernization program commencing in 2040. Project Titan aims to renew the Army’s decisive capabilities and further expand collaborative air-to-ground combat through integration at joint and inter-allied levels.
In conclusion, the MGCS represents a giant leap forward in ground combat technology, leveraging AI and hyperconnectivity to create a multifaceted and adaptable defense system. With its enhanced strike capabilities, observation range, and crew protection, the MGCS is poised to reshape the future of ground combat.
1. When did the MGCS project commence?
The MGCS project started in 2017, running in parallel with the Future Air Combat System (SCAF).
2. What makes the MGCS stand out as the “tank of the future”?
The MGCS distinguishes itself with its incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and hyperconnectivity, offering rapid decision-making and real-time tactical data sharing.
3. What is Project Titan, and how does it relate to the MGCS?
Project Titan is set to succeed the Scorpion program, starting in 2040, and aims to expand collaborative air-to-ground combat further, incorporating the innovations of the MGCS.
4. How does the MGCS enhance crew protection?
The MGCS achieves crew protection through active camouflage, reinforced armor, countermeasures, and neutralizations against air and ground threats.
5. What is the operational timeline for the MGCS?
The MGCS program aims to be operational between 2040 and 2045, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of ground combat.