Combat vehicles / Main battle tanks / Leclerc

Leclerc

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Main battle tank

  • ORIGIN
    France

  • NICKNAMES
    AMX-56 (development designation)
    Leclerc DCL (French name for Leclerc DNG)

  • DESIGNED
    1983 - 1989

  • DESIGNER
    Giat

  • PRODUCTION
    1990 - 2008

  • PRODUCERS
    France - Giat

  • QUANTITY
    796 tanks plus 66 ARV

  • UNIT COST
    € 4.3 million in 2001

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Powerful armament
    Modular armor
    Automatic loader
    Average level of protection
    Expensive

Introduction

The Leclerc is a main battle tank of French origin. It was developed in the late 1980's to replace the AMX-30 in French service. Compared to the AMX-30 the Leclerc is a quantum leap forward since it is one of the most modern and capable tanks in production.

Layout

The Leclerc has a conventional layout with the driver situatied in the hull front, the turret in the middle and the engine and drivetrain at the rear. The commander and gunner are seated in the turret which also contains the automatic loader. The design is highly modular as indicated by its modular armor package and ability to mount a 140mm cannon in the future if needed.

Firepower

The Leclerc is armed with a 120mm 52-caliber smoothbore CN-120-26 cannon that is connected to an automatic loader. All NATO standard 120mm ammunition can be fired but a range of French ammunition is used, including a APFSDSDU-T round. The automatic loader holds 22 of the 40 rounds carried and allows for a rate of fire of 10 rpm. The cannon is fully stabilized and connected to high quality fire control systems. Unlike most tanks a 12.7mm machine gun is mounted as a coaxial weapon while a 7.62mm AAT-NF1 machine gun is pintle mounted on the turret roof.

Protection

The Leclerc features modular steel armor that provides a high level of protection. Estimates indicate that over the frontal arc the Leclerc is less protected than the latest Leopard 2's, but the side protection is better. The modular armor is easily repaired and allows for easy improvements. An NBC system is fitted and the Galix self defense system includes smoke and anti-personnel grenades.

Mobility

The tracked chassis provides a good mobility both in the field and on roads. The 1.500 hp diesel engine provides a maximum speed of 72 km/h and a range of 450 km on roads.

Users

The main user of the Leclerc is France with over 400 in service. The sole export customer is the United Arab Emirates with 388 tanks that have been modified to meet local demands. Unless new export orders arise additional is not likely since the French army revised its requirement to 240 operational tanks and 100 spares.

Variants

Leclerc

The Leclerc is a modern main battle tank. It is fitted with a 120mm smoothbore cannon connected to an automatic loader. During the production run ten batches were produced that can be divided into three blocks:

Leclerc Block I: The Leclerc Block I is optimized for the Central European battlefield. This block consisted of 149 vehicles produced between 1991 and 1996.
Leclerc Block II: The Block II allows for worldwide operation and has a climate control system. This block consisted of 178 vehicles produced between 1997 and 1993.
Leclerc Block II+: The Leclerc II+ has improved turret armor, a second generation FLIR sight and battlefield management system. A total of 79 tanks were produced in this block, but some of these upgrades have also been retrofitted to earlier blocks.
Leclerc EAU: Export version of the Leclerc adapted to the wishes of the UAE. This version uses the more reliable MTU-883 diesel engine which resulted in a longer hull and higher fuel capacity. The UAE model also has a remotely operated 7.62mm machine gun and higher level of turret automation.

TypeMain battle tank
Crew3 (commander, driver, gunner)
Length6.88 m (hull), 9.87 m (gun forward)
Width3.71 m
Height2.53 m (turret roof)
Ground clearance0.5 m
Weight56.5 t combat load
Ground pressure0.9 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 4.32 m length, 0.64 m width
Turn radius?
EngineSACM V8X-1500 8-cylinder diesel, 1.500 hp at 2.500 rpm
Power ratio26.5 hp/t
TransmissionSESM ESM 500 automatic, 5 forward, 2 reverse
Speed72 km/h on road, 50 km/h cross country, 38 km/h reverse
Fuel1.300 L + 400 L external
Range450 km, 550 km with external fuel
Wall1.25 m forwards, 0.6 m reverse
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1 m
ArmorModular armor package consisting mainly of steel perforated armor, NERA fitted in latest batch
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x7 smoke grenade discharger
RemarksAPU
Armament120mm L/52 cannon
12.7mm coaxial machine gun
7.62mm AAT-NF1 roof machine gun
Weapon1120mm CN-120-26 L/52 cannon in turret
40 rounds, 22 ready to fire
-8 to +15° elevation, 30°/s powered
360° traverse, 40°/s powered
stabilized in both axis
Weapon212.7mm coaxial machine gun above barrel
950 rounds
traverse and elevation as main armament
Weapon37.62mm AAT-NF1 machine gun on pintle mount on turret roof
200 rounds ready to fire
manual travere and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-
TypeMain battle tank
Crew3 (commander, driver, gunner)
Length7 m (hull), 10 m (gun forward)
Width3.71 m
Height2.53 m (turret roof)
Ground clearance0.5 m
Weight56.8 t combat load
Ground pressure0.9 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 0.64 m width
Turn radius?
EngineMTU -883 V12 diesel, 1.500 hp at 2.700 rpm
Power ratio26.4 hp/t
TransmissionRenk HSWL-295-TM automatic, 5 forward, 3 reverse
Speed72 km/h on road, 50 km/h cross country, 38 km/h reverse
Fuel1.500 L + 440 L external
Range500 km, 600 km with external fuel
Wall1.25 m forwards, 0.6 m reverse
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1 m
ArmorModular armor package consisting mainly of steel perforated armor, possibly NERA fitted
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x7 smoke grenade discharger
RemarksAPU
Armament120mm L/52 cannon
12.7mm coaxial machine gun
7.62mm roof machine gun
Weapon1120mm CN-120-26 L/52 cannon in turret
40 rounds, 22 ready to fire
-8 to +15° elevation, 30°/s powered
360° traverse, 40°/s powered
stabilized in both axis
Weapon212.7mm coaxial machine gun above barrel
950 rounds
traverse and elevation as main armament
Weapon37.62mm machine gun on remote controlled weapon station
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

Leclerc DNG

The Leclerc DNG is the armored recovery version of the Leclerc. The acronym DNG stands for Dépanneur Nouvelle Generation which is French for next generation recovery vehicle. The French army uses the acronym DCL that stands for Dépanneur du Char Leclerc and Leclerc recovery tank in English. Instead of a turret a raised superstructure is fitted. A crane is mounted on the right and bulldozer blade in front doubles as the earth anchor for the 34 t winch. Both the French and UAE models are fitted with the same MTU-883 1.500 hp diesel powerpack.

TypeArmored recovery vehicle
Crew4 (commander, driver, 2 engineers)
Length9.15 m
Width3.38 m
Height2.6 m (roof)
Ground clearance0.49 m
Weight59 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 0.64 m width
Turn radius?
EngineMTU-883 V12 diesel, 1.500 hp at 2.700 rpm
Power ratio25.4 hp/t
TransmissionRenk HLSW automatic, 5 forward, 3 reverse
Speed72 km/h on road, 55 km/h cross country, 38 km/h reverse
Fuel1.500 L
Range500 km
Wall0.8 m
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipmentYes
Night vision?
Smoke8x smoke grenade launcher
RemarksDozer blade, 30 t crane, 34 t winch, 15 t winch
Armament12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon112.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on roof
700 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

Leclerc EPG

The Leclerc EPG is the armored engineer version of the Leclerc which remains at the prototype stage. The acronym EPG stands for Engin Principal du Génie which is French for main engineer vehicle. The EPG is similar to the DNG but has a excavator bucket instead of a crane and can be fitted with various types of specialist equipment. At the front a standard dozer blade or V-shaped mine plough can be fitted. At the rear deck engineering equipment can be carried, the Minotaur minelaying system can be fitted or the K2D mine clearing line charge can be carried.

TypeArmored engineer vehicle
Crew4 (commander, driver, 2 pioneers)
Length9.15 m (with dozer blade)
Width3.38 m
Height2.6 m (roof)
Ground clearance0.49 m
Weight60 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 0.64 m width
Turn radius?
EngineMTU-883 V12 diesel, 1.500 hp at 2.700 rpm
Power ratio25.0 hp/t
TransmissionRenk HLSW automatic, 5 forward, 3 reverse
Speed72 km/h on road, 55 km/h cross country, 38 km/h reverse
Fuel1.500 L
Range500 km
Wall0.8 m
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipmentYes
Night vision?
Smoke8x smoke grenade launcher
RemarksDozer blade, bucket excavator, optional mine plough, mine clearing line charges and Minotaur mine laying system
Armament-
Weapon1-
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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