Under the partnership, the two companies will collaborate on the MBT’s development, manufacturing and maintenance, including support platforms. The Leonardo-KNDS alliance also seeks to open additional production and development capacities in Italy and to tap them for European and export opportunities.
Besides the MBT Leopard program, Italy is looking into the acquisition of new infantry fighting vehicles with integrated combat support systems.
KNDS, a merger of the German and French land defense systems providers Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter, is spearheading the French-German Main Ground Combat System project. The two participating countries outlined in September their respective operational needs for a next-generation tank that the project is seeking.
In addition to the Italian MBT collaboration, Leonardo and KNDS have signed an agreement to create a European defense group and form closer cooperation in land-based electronics. The strategic alliance aims to strengthen the national industrial base in Europe and foster the development of next-generation military combat vehicles, including proposals under the MGCS.