Challenger 2 – Main Battle Tank
Challenger 2 is the Main Battle Tank in service with the British Army and with the Royal Army of Oman.
Challenger 2 is heavily armoured and highly mobile, designed for use in direct fire zones. Whilst its primary role is to destroy or neutralise armour, Challenger 2 can operate across a spectrum of high intensity conflict, counter insurgency and peace keeping roles.
The vehicle is equipped with an L30 120mm rifled tank gun, firing both long rod penetrator and High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) ammunition natures. Secondary armaments are provided with a 7.62mm co-axial chain gun and a 7.62mm pintle mounted General Purpose Machine Gun.
Optical and thermal imager sights are provided for both the Commander and Gunner, including an independent 360ᵒ panoramic sight for the Commander. The sighting systems, turret and gun are fully stabilised enabling rapid target engagement when static and on the move.
Mobility is provided through a 12-cylinder, 1,200hp Perkins CV12 diesel engine with a David Brown TN54 gearbox, providing six forward and two reverse gears. A double pin track with Hydrogas suspension and a Hydraulic Track Tensioner provide platform stability covering flat road surfaces through to rough cross-country terrain.
Challenger 2 has successfully supported British Army operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, as part of which, various survivability, lethality and situational awareness improvements were incorporated under Urgent Operational Requirement projects.
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Challenger 3 upgrade programme
In May 2021, the UK MOD awarded an £800m contract to Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to upgrade 148 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks for the British Army.
The upgraded vehicle, to be called Challenger 3, will be a network-enabled, digital Main Battle Tank with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.
The new vehicle will be equipped with the latest 120mm High Pressure L55A1 main gun, firing the latest kinetic energy anti-tank rounds and programmable multipurpose ammunition. The gun is also complete with increased first-hit capability and the latest fire support technology.
The new turret structure and improved survivability systems provide the highest standard of protection for the crew. The long-range commander and gunner primary sights will also be improved with automatic target detection and acquisition.
This solution also provides significant growth potential in all Main Battle Tank key capability areas with the new physical, electronic, and electrical architecture.