Italy’s Leonardo and the Franco-German consortium Nexter – KNDS are forming a “strategic alliance” to build tanks and possibly more, the companies said Wednesday.

The new alliance will focus on kick-starting Italy’s involvement in the long-heralded and much-delayed European battle tank program known as the Main Ground Combat System, as well as coordinating work on new Leopard tanks Italy is ordering.

But in their statement announcing the deal, the firms said they want to go further. “The aim is to create a truly European Defense Group and, in addition, to cooperate more closely in the field of land based electronics.”

The statement echoed the support given by Leonardo CEO Roberto Cingolani in October for “giant” joint ventures in Europe to “compete on level terms with U.S. and China colossuses.”

Read More