World

Makers of Leclerc, Leopard tanks sign deal to merge, creating Franco-German defense champion

  • Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, front left and Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems sign a contract, as German parliamentary state secretary for defense Markus Grubel, second left and France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian  look to the contract at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

    Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, front left and Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems sign a contract, as German parliamentary state secretary for defense Markus Grubel, second left and France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian look to the contract at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)  (The Associated Press)

  • German parliamentary state secretary for defense Markus Grubel, second left and France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian look to Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, front left and Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems as they shakes hand after they signed a contract at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

    German parliamentary state secretary for defense Markus Grubel, second left and France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian look to Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, front left and Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems as they shakes hand after they signed a contract at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, right speaks with Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems as they attend a meeting at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

    Frank Haun, CEO of KMW, right speaks with Philippe Burtin, chairman of the board of directors of Nexter Systems as they attend a meeting at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. French and German executives from two of Europe’s leading armored vehicle makers signed off Wednesday on a long-awaited tie-up aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market. The merger between France’s state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW still needs approvals in both countries. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)  (The Associated Press)

French and German executives from two of Europe's leading armored vehicle makers signed a long-awaited merger deal Wednesday aimed at creating a new European champion in the $50 billion annual terrestrial defense market.

The tie-up between France's state-owned Nexter Systems and privately held German firm KMW was inked in Paris at the Defense Ministry headquarters, with France's Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and German parliamentary state secretary for defense Markus Grubel taking part.

The deal still needs approvals in both countries and is expected to be finalized by December. The project, first announced a year ago, has gone by the code-name KANT but the actual name hasn't been chosen yet.

Nexter makes France's Leclerc tank and KMW produces the German army's Leopard 1 and 2 tanks.