Challenger 2 tank
FV4034 Challenger 2 is a British main battle tank
Main battle tank
A main battle tank , also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of many modern armies. They were originally conceived to replace the light, medium, heavy and super-heavy tanks. Development was spurred onwards in the Cold War with the development...

 (MBT) currently in service with the armies of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

. It was designed and built by the British company Vickers Defence Systems (now known as BAE Systems Land and Armaments
BAE Systems Land and Armaments
BAE Systems Land & Armaments is a subsidiary of BAE Systems Inc. and is responsible for the design, development and production of combat vehicles, ammunition, artillery systems, naval guns and missile launchers. It is the largest such company in the world...

). The manufacturer advertises it as the world's most reliable main battle tank. , only three Challenger 2s have been damaged in combat, one of which was destroyed by another Challenger 2 in a friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...


Challenger 2 is an extensive redesign from Challenger 1, the MBT from which it was developed. It uses the basic hull and automotive parts of its predecessor but all other components are new. Fewer than 5% of components are interchangeable. Challenger 2 has now replaced Challenger 1 in service with the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman
Royal Army of Oman
The Royal Army of Oman protects the sovereignty of Oman. In terms of matériel, the Army is small but well equipped to the extent that external aggression is now realistically deterred.-Field organization:*One divisional HQ...

. It has seen operational service in Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 the Challenger 2 tanks operating in the Gulf suffered no losses to enemy fire.


Challenger 2 is the third vehicle of this name, the first being the A30 Challenger
Cruiser Mk VIII Challenger
The Tank, Cruiser, Challenger was a British tank of World War II. It mounted the 17 Pounder gun on the Cromwell chassis to add heavier anti-tank firepower to the cruiser tank units....

, a Second World War design using the Cromwell tank
Cromwell tank
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...

 chassis with a 17-pounder
Ordnance QF 17 pounder
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 17 pounder was a 76.2 mm gun developed by the United Kingdom during World War II. It was used as an anti-tank gun on its own carriage, as well as equipping a number of British tanks. It was the most effective Allied anti-tank gun of the war...

 gun. The second was the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 era Challenger 1, which was the British army's main battle tank (MBT) from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s.

Vickers Defence Systems (later Alvis Vickers, now BAE Systems Land Systems) began to develop a successor to Challenger 1 as a private venture in 1986. Following the issue of a Staff Requirement for a next-generation tank, Vickers formally submitted its plans for Challenger 2 to the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 (MoD). Secretary of State for Defence George Younger announced to the House of Commons that Vickers would receive £90 million contract for a demonstrator vehicle, a deal that was finalised in January 1989. The demonstration phase contained three milestones for progress, with dates of September 1989, March 1990, and September 1990. At the last of these milestones, Vickers was to have met 11 key criteria for the tank's design.

In June 1991, after competition with other tank manufacturers' designs (including the M1A2 Abrams
M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of US military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. The M1 is a well armed, heavily armored, and highly mobile tank designed for...

 and the Leopard 2
Leopard 2
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

 (Improved)), the MoD placed a £520 million order for 127 MBTs and 13 driver training vehicles. An order for a further 259 tanks and 9 driver trainers (worth £800 million) was placed in 1994. Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2s in 1993 and a further 20 tanks in November 1997.

Production began in 1993 at two primary sites: Elswick, Tyne and Wear
Elswick, Tyne and Wear
Elswick is a ward of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in the western part of the city, bordering the river Tyne. One of the earliest references to the coal mining industry of the north east occurs in 1330, when it was recorded that the Prior of Tynemouth let a colliery, called Heygrove, at...

 and Barnbow, Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, although over 250 subcontractors were involved. The first tanks were delivered in July 1994.

The Challenger 2 successfully completed its Reliability Growth Trial in 1994. Three vehicles were tested for 285 simulated battlefield days. Each day is known to have consisted of: of on-road travel of off-road travel
  • 34 main armament rounds fired
  • 1,000 7.62 MG rounds fired
  • 16 hours weapon system operation
  • 10 hours main engine idling
  • 3.5 hours main engine running

An equally important milestone was the In-Service Reliability Demonstration (ISRD) in 1999. 12 fully crewed tanks were tested at the Bovington test tracks and at Lulworth
Lulworth is the popular name for an area on the coast of Dorset, South West England notable for its castle and cove. However there is no actual place or feature called simply "Lulworth", the villages are East and West Lulworth and the coastal feature is Lulworth Cove.See:*East Lulworth *Lulworth...

 Bindon ranges. The tank exceeded all staff requirements.

Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in 1998 (with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), with the last delivered in 2002. It is expected to remain in service until 2035. It serves with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of...

, the Royal Dragoon Guards
Royal Dragoon Guards
The Royal Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1992 by the amalgamation of two other regiments: The 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards...

, the Queen's Royal Hussars, the King's Royal Hussars
King's Royal Hussars
The King's Royal Hussars is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and was formed on 4 December 1992 by the amalgamation of two other regiments:...

 and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment
2nd Royal Tank Regiment
The 2nd Royal Tank Regiment is an armoured regiment of the British Army. It is part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps...

, each of which is the tank unit of an armoured or a mechanised brigade. One squadron of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment
1st Royal Tank Regiment
The 1st Royal Tank Regiment is an armoured regiment of the British Army. It is part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps. It was originally formed as 1st Battalion, Royal Tank Corps in 1934....

 uses Challenger 2 in a training and demonstration role.

Deliveries of the Challenger 2 to Oman were completed in 2001.

The Trojan minefield breaching vehicle and the Titan bridge-laying vehicle based on the chassis of the Challenger 2 were shown in November 2006; 66 are to be supplied by BAE Systems to the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

, at a cost of £250 million.

A British military document from 2001 indicated that the British Army would not procure a replacement for the Challenger 2 because of a lack of conventional threats in the foreseeable future.


Challenger 2 is equipped with a 120 millimetres (4.7 in) 55 calibre
Caliber (artillery)
In artillery, caliber or calibredifference in British English and American English spelling is the internal diameter of a gun barrel, or by extension a relative measure of the length....

 long L30
The L30 is a 120mm tank gun used by the British Army and Royal Army of Oman. It is fitted in the turret of the Challenger 2 main battle tank. It is an improved production model of the Royal Ordnance L11 series of rifled tank guns.-Challenger Armament:...

A1 tank gun, the successor to the L11 gun used on Chieftain
Chieftain tank
The FV 4201 Chieftain was the main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s. It was one of the most advanced tanks of its era, and at the time of its introduction in 1966 had the most powerful main gun and heaviest armour of any tank in the world...

 and Challenger 1. The gun is made from high strength Electro Slag Remelting
Electro Slag Remelting
ESR or electro slag remelting is a process used for remelting and refining of steels and special alloys which are used for critical applications in aircraft, thermal and nuclear power plants, defense hardware, etc.Electro Slag Remelting uses highly reactive slags to reduce the amount of type A...

 (ESR) steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 with a chromium alloy lining and, like earlier British 120 mm guns, it is insulated by a thermal sleeve
Thermal sleeve
A thermal sleeve is a device around the length of a gun barrel of a large caliber gun, typically found on modern tanks. Its primary purpose is to prevent the gun barrel from being thermally distorted due to environmental conditions, especially when the barrel is already hot due to frequent...

. It is fitted with a muzzle reference system and fume extractor, and is controlled by an all-electric control and stabilization system. The turret has a rotation time of 9 seconds through 360 degrees.

Uniquely among NATO main battle tank armament, the L30A1 is rifled, because the British Army continues to place a premium on the use of high explosive squash head
High explosive squash head
High explosive squash head is a type of explosive ammunition that is effective against buildings and is also used against tank armour. It was fielded chiefly by the British Army as the main explosive round of its main battle tanks during the Cold War...

 (HESH) rounds in addition to APFSDS armour-piercing rounds. HESH rounds have a longer range (up to 8 kilometres (5 mi)) than APFSDS, and are more effective against buildings and thin-skinned vehicles.

Forty-nine main armament rounds are carried in the turret and hull; these are a mix of L27A1 APFSDS (also referred to as CHARM 3), L31 HESH and L34 white phosphorus smoke rounds, depending on the situation. As with earlier versions of the 120 mm gun, the propellant charges are loaded separately from the shell or KE projectile. A combustible rigid charge is used for the APFSDS rounds, and a combustible hemispherical bag charge for the HESH and Smoke rounds. An electrically-fired vent tube is used to initiate firing of the main armament rounds. (The main armament ammunition is thus described to be "three part ammunition", consisting of the projectile, charge and vent tube.)

The Challenger 2 is also armed with a L94A1 EX-34 7.62 mm chain gun
Chain gun
A chain gun is a type of machine gun or autocannon that uses an external source of power, rather than diverting energy from the cartridge, to cycle the weapon, and does so via a continuous loop of chain similar to that used on a motorcycle or bicycle. "Chain gun" is a registered trademark of...

 coaxially to the left of the main gun, and a 7.62 mm L37A2 (GPMG) machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 mounted on a pintle on the loader's hatch ring. 4,200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition are carried.

Fire control and sights

The digital fire control computer from Computing Devices Co
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 contains two 32-bit processors with a MIL STD1553B databus, and has capacity for additional systems, for example a Battlefield Information Control System.

The commander has a panoramic SAGEM
SAGEM was a major French company involved in defence electronics, consumer electronics and communication systems.In 2005, Sagem merged with SNECMA to form SAFRAN...

 VS 580-10 gyrostabilised sight with laser rangefinder. Elevation range is +35° to −35°. The commander's station is equipped with eight periscopes for 360° vision.

The Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight II (TOGS II), from Thales
Thales Group
The Thales Group is a French electronics company delivering information systems and services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets...

, provides night vision
Night vision
Night vision is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range...

. The thermal image is displayed on both the gunner's and commander's sights and monitors. The gunner has a stabilised primary sight using a laser rangefinder with a range of 200 m to 10 km. The driver's position is equipped with a Thales Optronics image-intensifying Passive Driving Periscope (PDP) for night driving.


Challenger 2 is one of the most heavily armoured and best protected tanks in the world. The turret and hull are protected with second generation Chobham armour
Chobham armour
Chobham armour is the name informally given to a composite armour developed in the 1960s at the British tank research centre on Chobham Common, Surrey, England...

 (also known as Dorchester) the details of which are still classified. The military claims that this material is twice as strong as steel. Explosive reactive armour (ERA) kits are also fitted as necessary. The nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system is located in the turret bustle.

On each side of the turret are five L8 smoke grenade dischargers. Challenger 2 can also create smoke by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust manifolds.

Drive system

  • Engine: Perkins 26.6 litre CV12 diesel engine
    Diesel engine
    A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

     delivering 1200 hp.
  • Gearbox: David Brown TN54 epicyclical transmission (6 fwd, 2 rev.).
  • Suspension: second-generation hydrogas
    Hydropneumatic suspension
    Hydropneumatic suspension is a type of automotive suspension system, invented by Citroën, and fitted to Citroën cars, as well as being used under licence by other car manufacturers, notably Rolls-Royce, and Peugeot. It was also used on Berliet trucks and is since recently used on Mercedes-Benz...

  • Track: William Cook Defence hydraulically adjustable double-pin.
  • Maximum speed: 37 mph (59.5 km/h) (road); 25 mph (40.2 km/h) (cross country)
  • Range: 280 mi (450.6 km) (road); 156 mi (251.1 km) (cross country).

Crew and accommodation

The British Army maintained its requirement for a four-man crew (including a loader) after risk analysis of the incorporation of an automatic loader suggested that auto-loaders reduced battlefield survivability. Mechanical failure and the time required for repair were prime concerns.

Like every British tank since the Centurion
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

, and most other British AFVs, Challenger 2 contains a boiling vessel (BV) also known as a kettle
A kettle, sometimes called a tea kettle or teakettle, is a small kitchen appliance used for boiling water. Kettles can be heated either by placing on a stove, or by their own electric heating element.- Stovetop kettles :...

 or bivvie for water which can be used to brew tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, produce other hot beverages and heat boil-in-the-bag meals contained in ration packs. This BV requirement is general for armoured vehicles of the British Armed Forces, and is unique to the armed forces of the UK.

Operational usage

Challenger 2 had already been used in peacekeeping missions and exercises before but its first combat use came in March 2003 during the invasion of Iraq. 7th Armoured Brigade, part of 1st Armoured Division, was in action with 120 Challenger 2s around Basra. The tanks saw extensive use during the siege of Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

, providing fire support to the British forces. The tank's availability was excellent and the problems that were identified during the large Saif Sareea II
Saif Sareea II
Exercise Saif Sareea II, also known as "Operation Swift Sword II", was a major military exercise in September and October 2001 involving the military of the United Kingdom and Oman. It was the largest single deployment of UK forces since the Gulf War...

 exercise, which took place eighteen months earlier, were solved by the issuing of Urgent Operational Requirements for equipment such as sand filters.

In one encounter within the urban area a Challenger 2 came under attack from irregular forces with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. The driver's sight was damaged and while attempting to back away under the commander's directions, the other sights were damaged and the tank threw its tracks entering a ditch. It was hit directly by fourteen rocket propelled grenades
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 from close range and a MILAN
MILAN " is French and German for "kite bird") is a European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962. It was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire guided SACLOS missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the...

 anti-tank missile. The crew survived remaining safe within the tank until the tank was recovered for repairs, the worst damage being to the sighting system. It was back in operation six hours later after repairs. One Challenger 2 operating near Basra survived being hit by 70 RPGs in another incident.
There have been two Challenger 2s damaged in combat and one destroyed:
  • A friendly fire
    Friendly fire
    Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

     ("blue-on-blue") incident on 25 March 2003 in Basra in which one Challenger 2 of the Black Watch Battlegroup (2nd Royal Tank Regiment
    2nd Royal Tank Regiment
    The 2nd Royal Tank Regiment is an armoured regiment of the British Army. It is part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps...

    ) mistakenly engaged another Challenger 2 of the Queen's Royal Lancers after detecting what was believed to be an enemy flanking manoeuvre on thermal equipment. The attacking tank's second HESH round hit the open commander's hatch lid of the QRL tank sending hot fragments into the turret that caused an explosion of the stowed ammunition, destroying the tank and killing two crew members. It remains the only Challenger 2 to be completely destroyed on operations.
  • August 2006 - the driver of a Challenger 2, Trooper Sean Chance, lost three of his toes when an RPG-29
    The RPG-29 is a Russian rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989, it was the most recent weapon of its type to be adopted by the Russian military before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The RPG-29 has since been supplemented by other rocket-propelled systems, such...

     penetrated an ERA protected frontal part of the hull during an engagement in al-Amarah, Iraq.
  • April 6, 2007 - in Basra, Iraq, an IED
    Improvised explosive device
    An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

     shaped charge
    Shaped charge
    A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Various types are used to cut and form metal, to initiate nuclear weapons, to penetrate armor, and in the oil and gas industry...

     penetrated the underside of the tank resulting in the driver losing a leg
    Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

     and causing minor injuries to another soldier.

To help prevent incidents of this nature happening again, Challenger 2s have been upgraded with a new passive armour package, including the use of add-on armor manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel. When deployed on operations the Challenger 2 is now normally upgraded to TES (Theatre Entry Standard), this includes a number of modifications including armour and weapon system upgrades.


The Challenger Lethality Improvement Programme (CLIP) is a programme to replace the current L30A1 rifled gun with the 120 mm Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun currently used in the Leopard 2
Leopard 2
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

A6. The use of a smoothbore weapon allows Challenger 2 to use NATO standard ammunition developed in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the US. This includes tungsten-based kinetic energy penetrator
Kinetic energy penetrator
A kinetic energy penetrator is a type of ammunition which, like a bullet, does not contain explosives and uses kinetic energy to penetrate the target....

s, which do not have the same political and environmental objections as depleted uranium
Depleted uranium
Depleted uranium is uranium with a lower content of the fissile isotope U-235 than natural uranium . Uses of DU take advantage of its very high density of 19.1 g/cm3...

 rounds. The production lines for rifled 120 mm ammunition in the UK have been closed for some years, so existing stocks of ammunition for the L30A1 are finite.

A single Challenger 2 was fitted with the L55 and underwent trials in January 2006. The smoothbore gun is the same length as the L30A1, and is fitted with the rifled gun's cradle, thermal sleeve, bore evacuator and muzzle reference system. Early trials apparently revealed that the German tungsten DM53 round was more effective than the depleted uranium CHARM 3. The ammunition storage and handling arrangements will need to be changed to cater for the single-piece smoothbore rounds, instead of the separate-loading rifled rounds. In 2006, a figure of £386 million was estimated to fit all Challengers in the British Army with the Rheinmetall gun.

Other improvements have also been considered, including a regenerative NBC protection system.

In May 2007, the Ministry of Defence's Future Systems Group invited BAE to tender for the Challenger 2 Capability Sustainment Program (C2 CSP), which combined all upgrades into one programme. However, by mid-2008, the programme was in danger of slipping, or even being cancelled, as a result of defence budget shortfalls.


The Titan armoured bridge layer
Armoured vehicle-launched bridge
An armoured vehicle-launched bridge is a combat support vehicle, sometimes regarded as a subtype of combat engineering vehicle, designed to assist militaries in rapidly deploying tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles across rivers. The AVLB is usually a tracked vehicle converted from a tank...

 is based on aspects of the Challenger 2 running gear and will replace the Chieftain Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (ChAVLB). The Titan came into service in 2006 with the Royal Engineers, with 33 in service. Titan can carry a single 26 metre long bridge or two 12 metre long bridges. It can also be fitted with a bulldozer blade.


Trojan is a combat engineering vehicle
Combat engineering vehicle
Military engineering vehicles are vehicles built for the construction work or for the transportation of combat engineers on the battlefield. These vehicles can range from civilian equipment to purpose built military vehicles....

, styled as an AVRE for Armoured Vehicle, Royal Engineers in British Army parlance, designed as a replacement for the Chieftain AVRE (ChAVRE). It uses the Challenger 2 chassis, and will carry an articulated excavator arm, a dozer blade, and attachment rails for fascine
A fascine is a rough bundle of brushwood used for strengthening an earthen structure, or making a path across uneven or wet terrain. Typical uses are protecting the banks of streams from erosion, covering marshy ground and so on.-Early military use:...

s. Like Titan, 33 are intended to reach service.

Challenger 2E

Challenger 2E is an export version of the tank. It has a new integrated weapon control and battlefield management system, which includes a gyrostabilised panoramic SAGEM MVS 580 day/thermal sight for the commander and SAGEM SAVAN 15 gyrostabilised day/thermal sight for the gunner, both with eyesafe laser rangefinder. This allows hunter/killer operations with a common engagement sequence. An optional servo-controlled overhead weapons platform can be slaved to the commander's sight to allow operation independent from the turret.

The power pack has been replaced with a new 1500 hp EuroPowerPack
The EuroPowerPack is the combination of the MTU MT 883 diesel-engine delivering over 1100 kW shaft power with the five-speed Renk HSWL 295TM automatic transmission for the use in heavy tracked vehicles like tanks. As such, despite being labelled 'European,' the powerpack is made entirely by German...

 with transversely mounted MTU
MTU Friedrichshafen
MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH is a manufacturer of commercial internal combustion engines founded by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl Maybach in 1909...

 MT 883 diesel engine coupled to Renk
RENK AG is a German company, part of the MAN Group. It has its headquarters in Augsburg, and is producer of gears, other components of propulsion technology and test systems. It is currently the leading manufacturer of transmissions for tracked vehicles, worldwide and a major supplier for marine...

 HSWL 295TM automatic transmission. The increase in vehicle performance is significant. The smaller volume but more powerful power pack incorporates as standard a cooling system and air-intake filtration system proved in desert use. The free space in the hull is available for ammunition stowage or for fuel, increasing the vehicle’s range to 550 km.

BAE announced in 2005 that development and export marketing of 2E would stop. This has been linked by the media to the failure of the 2E to be selected for the Hellenic Army
Hellenic Army
The Hellenic Army , formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece.The motto of the Hellenic Army is , "Freedom Stems from Valor", from Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War...

 in 2002, a competition won by the Leopard 2.


The Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV) is an armoured recovery vehicle
Armoured recovery vehicle
An armoured recovery vehicle is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle- or mine-damaged as well as broken-down armoured vehicles during combat, or to tow them out of the danger zone for more extensive repairs...

 based on the Challenger hull and designed to repair and recover damaged tanks on the battlefield. It has five seats but usually carries a crew of three soldiers from the Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is a corps of the British Army that has responsibility for the maintenance, servicing and inspection of almost every electrical and mechanical piece of equipment within the British Army from Challenger II main battle tanks and WAH64 Apache...

 (REME), of the Vehicle Mechanic and Recovery Mechanic trades. There is room in the cabin for two further passengers (e.g. crew members of the casualty vehicle) on a temporary basis.

The size and performance are similar to the MBT, but instead of armament it is fitted with:
  • A main winch with 54-tonne pull (can exert 100 tonnes-force using an included pulley and anchor point on the vehicle), plus a small pilot winch to aid in deploying the main cable.
  • Atlas crane capable of lifting 6,500 kg at a distance of 4.9 m (this is sufficient to lift a Challenger 2 power pack).
  • In order to improve the flexibility and supplement the transportation power packs around the battlefield, the British Army procured a quantity of dedicated CRARRV High Mobility Trailers (CRARRV HMT). Each CRARRV HMT enables a CRARRV to transport a single (Challenger, Titan or Trojan) power pack or two Warrior power packs by altering the configuration of dedicated fixtures and attachment of fittings.
  • Dozer blade to act as an earth anchor/stabiliser, or in obstacle clearance and fire position preparation.
  • Large set of recovery and heavy repair tools including compressed air powered tools and arc-welding capability.

The design prototype is on display at The REME Museum of Technology
REME Museum of Technology
The REME Museum of Technology is located south east of Reading. The museum holds collections of various technological artifacts associated with the work of the REME, the corps of the British Army responsible for the maintenance, servicing and inspection of electrical and mechanical equipment hence...

 in Arborfield
Arborfield is a village in Berkshire about south-east of Reading, about west of Wokingham, and about west of the sister village of Arborfield Cross The village is on the A327 road linking Reading...

, Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...


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