Leopard 2A8 will use the Trophy active protection system. Im age – EuroTrophy

Talks between KNDS and Leonardo have collapsed without a deal. Launched in December 2023, the discussions aimed to create a powerful European defense alliance.

Initial plans, formed under the Italian Ministry of Defense’s guidance, were ambitious. The  December 2023 discussions aimed at a comprehensive alliance encompassing land-based electronics and the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS). Additionally, joint production of the Leopard 2A8 in Italy, with new production facilities, was envisioned. This could have led to the creation of 300 tanks and variants, boosting Italy’s defense industry and opening doors for future European and export projects.

“With 18 European user countries, Leopard 2 is the battle tank standard of our continent and of NATO. It is more important than ever to safeguard this standard, which makes a significant contribution to the interoperability and joint combat power of the European and NATO armies. The parties did not manage to agree on configuration,” Frank Haun, KNDS CEO, said in the statement.

However, the negotiations ultimately failed as the companies could not agree on the specifics, particularly on technology transfer and Italian participation related to the programs. This disagreement likely led to the collapse of the talks. The collapse highlights the challenges of forging large-scale European defense collaborations.

Leonardo stated that it remains “well positioned for future developments toward Main Ground Combat System, also through cooperation with other qualified international partners.”

The war in Ukraine serves as a stark reminder of the importance of a robust European defense industry. The heavy use of armored vehicles in the conflict underscores the need for strong land-based systems.

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