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In Development: Leclerc T40

Commanders!

About a year ago, we’ve held a contest where you helped us choose the branch Premium vehicle for the French MBT branch that arrived in the second part of the Arabian Nights season and the winner you chose by voting was the Leclerc T40 heavy fire support vehicle.

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Leclerc T40 concept

Implementing a new vehicle can take a long time but we are now ready to announce that this vehicle will be coming along with the previously announced Leclerc tanks, VCAC Mephisto and Al-Hussein in the near future as a part of the final major Arabian Nights update. Let’s take a closer look at it.

The Leclerc T40 was a French project from around 2000-2010 by GIAT. It was heavily inspired by the Russian BMPT Terminator series. The core of the proposal was to take an existing Leclerc AZUR hull and fit it with a light CT40 turret, creating something that would be able to support tanks better against enemy infantry, especially in urban environments.

The vehicle would weigh some 50 tons and would have a crew of three. The hull would be literally identical to the Leclerc AZUR version from 2006 with its basic hull covered with extra armor to specifically protect it against infantry threats such as ATGMs and RPGs (hence the extra cage armor) and various liquid incendiaries (extra engine deck protection). The T40 turret, on the other hand, was only made from welded aluminum plates (along with some extra add-on steel plating) and would only receive STANAG level 5 protection (25mm autocannon rounds at 500 meters). Further protection would be provided by:

  • Smoke grenade launchers
  • APS by SAGEM (not a specific model, this was a general proposal)
  • Special missile decoys (flares)

The mobility of the vehicle would remain the same as the one of a standard Leclerc thanks to the retaining of its 1.500hp Wärtsilä 16.47 liter supercharged V8 diesel engine, allowing the vehicle to go as fast as 75 km/h forward and 38 km/h in reverse with the acceleration from 0 to 32 km/h taking roughly 5 seconds.

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Leclerc T40 concept

The biggest difference when compared to a standard Leclerc would, of course, be the abovementioned turret and its armament. The T40 turret was developed as a rather universal turret for multiple French platforms (it was, for example, tested on the AMX 10 RC AFV). Its main armament was the 40mm CTAS weapon system (a telescopic automatic cannon developed together by BAE and Nexter).

The main gun would be fully stabilized automatically loaded with its rate of fire being 200 rounds per minute. Its ammunition included:

  • APFSDS-T (penetrating 140mm of RHAe at 1500m)
  • GPR-PD (General Purpose Round – Point Detonating – as its name suggests, it was a multi-purpose round with its penetration being 210mm against concrete)
  • GPR-AB-T (General Purpose Round Air-Burst Tracer – an indirect fire air-burst “trench sweeper” round with enhanced area effect thanks to its programmed detonation above ground capability)

The gun could elevate to +60 degrees (in order to engage enemy helicopters as well as combatants firing from top stories in urban environment), depress to -10 degrees and was controlled by a very advanced FCS with hunter-killer capability, equipped with a thermal imager as well as an automatic target tracker.

This project appeared on the Eurosatory 2012 expo on paper. A big advantage of the project – when it came to proposing it to the French anyway – was that nobody really thought of producing these vehicles from scratch – they were to be made by converting the Leclerc tanks that were in service. The idea was to adapt the turret so that it would be sort-of modular – not exactly field conversion modular that is, but the conversion was envisaged as relatively quick and fully reversible.

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The actual T40 turret on AMX 10 RC chassis

As you might have guessed from the above, the French military was not really interested and neither was the other Leclerc operator, the United Arab Emirates. There were several reasons for that:

  • It was deemed expensive and the French preferred to focus on upgrading their Leclerc tanks as well as on the Scorpion program
  • Its battle value was debatable with very few examples of such vehicles available or tested in combat
  • Nobody really knew how to use it and the tactics for it would have to be newly developed (even if the French copied the tactics the Russians would use, it would do them no good as the BMPT carried ATGMs while the Leclerc did not)
  • Another argument was that not even the Russians, who developed the BMPT concept, were accepting such vehicles in service (this has, however, changed since with Russia accepting a Terminator service pattern that was shown this year during the May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow)

Simply put, it wasn’t worth the trouble. It was an interesting idea though – interestingly enough, one of the Russian military arguments against accepting the BMPT series in service was that if the entire BMPT concept was any good, the west would be developing it as well. Comparing that argument to the list of why the T40 was never accepted is, most certainly, ironic, although the act of accepting the Russian pattern Terminator in service might be little more than an extension of the Russian marketing attempts to successfully export the vehicle. Whether it will be successful remains to be seen.

In Armored Warfare, the Leclerc T40 will be a Tier 9 Premium Tank Destroyer that will be available for Gold in Francine De Laroche’s vehicle pool. Gameplay-wise, it will resemble the BMPT series in being a rather heavily armored assault TD.

But before we begin to look into this vehicle’s statistics, an important reminder. The numbers below are classified as work in progress and are bound to change during the fine tuning phase of this vehicle's introduction.

Armor-wise, it will be roughly on par with Leopard 2A5 – where the BMPTs have a lightly armored unmanned turret, Leclerc’s manned turret will be generally well-protected for its class, just its hull. Players will have the option to enhance the protection even further but we’ll get to that.

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Firepower-wise, the vehicle will carry 40mm automatic cannon. Compared to the twin 30mm cannons of the BMPT, the 40mm cannon will feature considerably higher accuracy and shell performance (210mm penetration) compensated by lower rate of fire (400 rounds per minute). The gun depression and elevation values will, on the other hand, stay excellent.

Additionally, we’ve decided to give the vehicle something the real life project did not have – an ATGM launcher, since the vehicle we are implementing will be our take on how the Leclerc T40 would actually look in active service and, as the Russian experience shows, having such a vehicle without any ATGMs is simply not practical.

It will therefore carry a twin Javelin launcher with top-down attack missiles. This will make the task of smoking out dug-in MBTs much easier as even a hull-down Challenger will not be safe from its two 600mm top-down Javelins fired in rapid succession. These Javelins will fire in a special way, however, different from the other ATGMs.

These missiles will be self-guided with a special Fire and Forget mode. Here’s how they will work:

  • Mark your target by aiming at it holding your Right Mouse Button for some time without losing the line of sight for more than two seconds
  • Once the target is marked, the vehicle will allow you to fire the missile (the target will stay locked until you cancel the lock manually, fire the missile or it disappears from your sight)
  • The missile will immediately climb to a very high altitude and will drop on the target from above, guiding itself

The mobility will be roughly on par with the Leclerc with its maximum speed being 75 km/h and the basic acceleration time from 0 to 32 km/h being 5 seconds. The vehicle will be superior in mobility and agility to both the Abrams AGDS and the BMPT-72 TDs.

But that’s not all. Like the other vehicles of this dealer, the Leclerc T40 will feature some module and Active Ability choices between two roles:

  • Well-protected front-line assault TD
  • Long-range ATGM-based TD with good view range

For example, players will get to choose between:

  • Soft-kill GALIX APS or improved ATGM handling
  • Hard-kill Trophy APS or improved reloading time (yes, the vehicle will be able to carry both soft-kill and hard-kill APS at the same time)
  • Lower time between ATGM launches or the ability to capture enemy bases quicker
  • Improved ability to see through foliage or improved mobility

And several more. You will also be able to use one of the two following Active Abilities:

  • Engine Overdrive (better acceleration at the cost of stealth, suitable for the assault TD approach)
  • Expeditious Retreat (new ability unique to this vehicle, slightly better camouflage and better acceleration at the cost of view range and the ability to actually reload your weapons)

While the Leclerc T40 might look ordinary at first sight, the combination of the special Javelin ATGM mechanics, configurability and multiple module choices will make it one of the most unique vehicles on the battlefield.

We hope that you will enjoy it!

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