Leonardo, Rheinmetall will codevelop Italian Army’s MBTs, infantry fighting vehicles


Rheinmetall-Leonardo Battle Tank Cooperation: Rome/Düsseldorf, July 3, 2024 – In a move that significantly bolsters European defense capabilities, Italian defense giant Leonardo and German counterpart Rheinmetall Wednesday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a 50-50 joint venture. This venture will spearhead the development of cutting-edge land defense systems, with a focus on the Italian Army’s needs and ambitions for international export.

The collaboration marks a major step towards a unified European approach to defense technology. The joint venture will serve as the lead system integrator and prime contractor for the development of the next-generation Main Battle Tank (MBT) and Lynx platform for the Armoured Infantry Combat System (AICS) for the Italian Army.

The objective of the agreement is the industrial development and subsequent commercialization of the new Main Battle Tank (MBT) and the new Lynx Platform for the Armoured Infantry Combat System (AICS), within the Italian Army’s ground systems programs.

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Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall AG, said both the companies together want to set new standards and open the door to a new generation of state-of-the-art combat vehicles in and for Europe.

“In doing so, we are addressing the Italian market as well as other partner countries that have a need for modernisation in the field of combat systems,” Papperger said in a statement to Defence Star.

Roberto Cingolani, CEO of Leonardo, said technology and industrial synergies between Leonardo and Rheinmetall are a unique opportunity to develop state-of-the-art Main Battle Tanks and Infantry Vehicles.

“We consider this agreement a fundamental contribution to the creation of a European defense space,” he added.

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Rheinmetall KF51 Panther Main Battle Tank (MBT).

KF51 Panther MBT has 130mm main gun.

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German-Italian tank cooperation

The MoU highlights a commitment to technological innovation and economic benefits for both Italy and Germany.  At least 60% of the project, including final assembly and testing, will be carried out in Italy.  This ensures significant job creation and economic growth within the Italian defense sector.

The joint venture also paves the way for future collaboration on the European Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program. This initiative aims to develop a new generation of battle tanks for European militaries, fostering greater interoperability and reducing reliance on non-European technology.

The agreement is subject to approval by relevant authorities, including the European Commission and national competition authorities. However, with this landmark partnership, Leonardo and Rheinmetall signal a new era of European defense cooperation, promising to deliver cutting-edge land defense solutions that will redefine the battlefield for years to come.

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Rheinmetall Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle IFV

Rheinmetall’s Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV).

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Rheinmetall-Leonardo: Shared Vision for European Defense Dominance

With a rich history dating back to 1889, Rheinmetall is a leading global player in defense and automotive technologies. The company boasts a comprehensive portfolio of land and air defense systems, ammunition, and mobility solutions. Rheinmetall’s expertise in developing next-generation armored vehicles, like the Panther tank, will be a cornerstone of the joint venture’s efforts.

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Leonardo: Italian Defense and Security Champion

Founded in 1948, Leonardo is a leading name in Italian aerospace, defense, and security sectors. The company boasts a strong presence in aircraft manufacturing, electronics, and cyber security solutions. Leonardo’s proven capabilities in electronics and weapon system integration will be crucial in developing the next generation of Italian combat vehicles.

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