German defense company Rheinmetall and Italian manufacturer Leonardo have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a 50/50 joint venture aimed at supporting the development of new Italian Army Main Battle Tanks and Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The agreement focuses on industrial development and subsequent commercialization of a new Main Battle Tank and the Lynx Platform for the Armoured Infantry Combat System.

The future joint venture, pending regulatory approval, will be headquartered in Italy and will play a crucial role as the lead system integrator, prime contractor, and system integrator for the Italian projects. It will also define the strategic roadmap for participation in the future European Main Ground Combat System. Leonardo will be responsible for the development and production of mission systems, electronics suites, and weapons integration in line with Italian military requirements.

The technologies developed through this collaboration will serve as the foundation for future European Main Battle Tank iterations and versions intended for international export. Rheinmetall highlighted their existing Panther main battle tank and Lynx infantry fighting vehicle as providing the necessary technological framework for these programs.

Leonardo’s partnership with Rheinmetall comes shortly after terminating its collaboration with Franco-German KNDS in developing the Leopard 2A8 Main Battle Tank due to disagreement on the configuration. Reports indicate that Italy is poised to approve a substantial combined order for 350 Lynx and 200 Panther vehicles, deviating from earlier plans for Leopard 2A8IT MBTs. The total estimated cost for the MBT program and accompanying support vehicles over two phases amounts to €8.2 billion until 2037.

As of the time of publication, the Italian Ministry of Defense had not provided a comment on the reported procurement decisions and program details.


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