Product development of the Leclerc began in 1985, and it was first brought into service in 1992. The French Army currently has around 400 Leclercs in service, organised into regiments of 40 vehicles each.
The main armament of the Leclerc is a 120mm smoothbore gun, known either as the CN 120-G or the F1. It has a range of bespoke ammunition, and can also fire ammunition conforming to NATO standard Stanag 4385, such as that designed for the US M1A2 Abrams or the German Leopard 2 tanks.
The family of ammunition for the Leclerc include a High Explosive, Anti Tank, Multi-Purpose round and a High Explosive round, as well as Armour Piercing, Fin Stabilised, Discarding Sabot rounds with both tungsten and uranium penetrators. The uranium round is called the OFL 120 F2. The reasons for fielding both a tungsten and uranium armour piercing round are not clear - the choice of ammunition may depend on the armour of the target, or there may be rules about the circumstances where uranium can be used.
There have been 3 versions of the basic Leclerc (known as Blocks I, II, and II+ respectively), but all feature the same gun. A further upgrade is reportedly being considered for 2015 which would add extra defences against incoming fire.
The Leclerc has also been adopted by the United Arab Emirates, reportedly with all available ammunition types. The number of Leclercs UAE have in service is also around 400.
The Leclerc is manufactured by Nexter. The turret was manufactured at Tarbes, and the Hull at Roanne, where assembly also takes place. The last unit was produced in 2007, and the production line was closed, although Nexter still retains the capability to build more if there is a need.