PARIS – Arquus, formerly Renault Trucks Defense, is keen to get a piece of the emerging Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program.

"We think we have things to contribute, notably concerning fuel cells, hybrid drivetrains and robotization,” CEO Emmanuel Levacher told reporters in Paris on Tuesday.

While the Franco-German program is generally thought of as a future main battle tank, Arquus is thinking more along the lines of the program’s official name: a combat system. “Will tomorrow’s tank even be a tank?” asked Arquus' director of innovation, François Deloumeau. He argued that “pushing existing concepts further is not very interesting,” contending that the MGCS was “unlikely to be a super Leclerc tank or a Leopard 3.”

Arquus is not being financed to develop ideas for the MGCS, “but we are thinking about it and thinking out of the box,” said Levacher.

He mentioned that France and Germany “are not yet aligned in terms of concept, or even of their needs,” which means nothing has been set in stone. “We are talking with the end-users, the DGA and other manufacturers about this,” Levacher said, using shorthand for the French government’s defense-acquisition organization.

Also on the subject of Germany, Levacher remarked that Arquus was forced to find alternative suppliers of components such as joints, automatic gear boxes or engines designed for civilian vehicles but destined for inclusion in military products for export. That is because Germany export approval procedures “are extremely long” for these types of products, he explained. In addition, the list of countries that Berlin will not give approval for “is getting longer,” with Indonesia and India recently added to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Levacher said.