On 11 September, Handelsblatt (2023) reported that Germany was moving away from the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), a Franco-German joint venture for the development of a next-generation main battle tank (MBT). On 22 September, however, a new meeting between the French and German MoDs rebuilt hope for the project, although postponing its delivery up to 2045 (Kayali et al., 2023).
On 24 August, La Tribune reported that France and Italy agreed on proposing to Germany Rome’s inclusion, represented by Leonardo, a prominent Italian defence company, in the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) programme (Cabirol, 2023). The MGCS aims to develop a future land warfare system that includes a Main Battle Tank (MBT) around 2040 (Oestergaard, 2021). This news was unsurprising since Italian participation had already been envisaged (Valpolini, 2020; Arivella & Moran, 2022). Until now, Paris has opposed the inclusion of other states. However, this move reflects an effort to restore balance in the initiative’s power dynamics, taking advantage of the fruitful history of Franco-Italian defence industrial cooperation (Defence Industry Europe, 2023; Meta Défense, 2023).
On 14 June 2023, Germany revealed its first National Security Strategy since the end of WW2. The plan was in preparation since November 2021 (DeutscheWelle, 2023). And while the document was supposed to be delivered during the Munich Security Council in February, though its release was delayed by internal disagreements among the government’s coalition parties (Von Der Burchard, 2023).
At the end of May, the Council of the European Union adopted 11 new projects and welcomed Denmark as a new member state of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative (European Council, 2023). These events are milestones for two reasons; first, these new operations have a focus on interoperability; and second, Denmark’s accession itself, as in the past the country was reluctant to join PESCO and European defence efforts. The 11 new projects focus on a range of military domains. These include training, land, maritime, air systems and cyber. More specifically, the projects concerning land interoperability will primarily focus on unmanned ground systems, communication and infrastructure networks (PESCO, 2023).
On February 17th, German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall signed a letter of intent (LOI) with American companies Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman regarding Germany's freshly procured F-35 fighter jets.