Since 2014 Russia’s war in Crimea, NATO’s renewed priority to collective defence implies higher requirements for its members, and allies are rebalancing the force mix in favour of the heavy component including Main Battle Tanks (MBT). The new MBT’s characteristics require a greater technological effort than in the past, ranging from active protection systems to gun, turret, vetronics and optronics, and particularly to automation. Yet MBTs in European inventories are often outdated and their readiness level is low. Against this backdrop, in 2017, France and Germany have launched a joint project to develop and produce a next generation Main Ground Combat System (MGCS). Italy and Poland have repeatedly asked to join the MGCS cooperation, yet Paris and Berlin want to keep it exclusively bilateral until a prototype will be developed. Therefore, Italy has to rapidly choose among a limited number of options in order to satisfy urgent army’s MBT needs, as well as maintain a reasonable level of technological sovereignty in this sector.
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