The Army say it is “transforming and modernising to meet the threat of modern warfare” and they have certainly made some ‘steps’ in that direction.

“Innovation and adaptation are at the heart of that transformation, but not all change involves new kit and equipment”, say the British Army in a news release.

“Last year, personnel from the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington in Dorset travelled to visit the soldiers of the King’s Royal Hussars (KRH) deployed in Estonia. The Regiment’s tour, supporting the NATO mission in the Baltic states, was a constant round of exercises, demonstrations, and range practice designed to deter Russian aggression.

When asked what would make life more bearable, the soldiers of the KRH asked for a quicker and less tiring way of mounting the enormous Challenger 2. The inventive folk at Bovington designed a set of removable steps, made on a 3D printer, which could be built anywhere and attached temporarily in peacetime.

This made the job of mounting the 72-tonne monster child’s play, saving time and money at almost no cost. Necessity is after all, the mother of invention.”

You can read the release here.

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G Gavin

Wow, 3D printers. We just used spare wooden pallets , which are in most supply chains and make a good fire. Invention , a trip to Estonia for for that. Come on.


Hi folks hope all are well, So after all the time we have spent on deciding the future of Challenger 2, with this addition does this mean the life of the tank is going to be considered? A ladder at the side of the tank does not give any confidence as to the future of the MBT for the British army, which is such a shame considering the tank as a whole, which is regarded to still be one of the best in the world. I’m also wondering what numbers we will have in the future. Do any of you… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I’m confident the British Army will retain Challenger, George.

Def Sec has confirmed as much already.

Numbers I do not know, likely less than now.

And to emphasise again under current plans we are going down to 2 Regiments rather than the current 3, plus the reserve regiment. ( RWY ) Currently they are type 56 regiments, in that they have 56 tanks each!

So with some extras in reserve at Ashchurch or Monchengladbach, in the AC at Bovington, some at BATUS, and trials, you could say with confidence less than 200, maybe 150?

Who knows. Less than now!


John Roberts

They could save money on this by issuing a plank from one tank to another so they wouldn’t need so many steps made

4th watch

Give the job to the Paras.

Ryan Brewis

With three regiments plus spares, I think 200 max. Which on one hand makes you wonder if it’s worth it, on the other it would still be one of the largest and/or most modern armoured forces in Europe.

Daniele Mandelli

I still think it is worth it. Armour is valued. I only need to listen to the army blokes on here who value its psychological and firepower effect. On the 3rd Regiment, the reserve RWY ( Royal Wessex Yeomanry ) I’m not certain but believe they do not actually field any Tanks of their own, just use them on exercise. They did have the role of augmenting the regulars with crews rather than forming complete troops. Also, it was mentioned some time back by an army officer that our Brigades would become “square” which means 2 armoured and 2 infantry… Read more »

Ryan Brewis

Apologies for the late reply, RL caught up. So that would be two Chally regt and two Warrior battalions? I guess if it’s like an armoured fist, with the Challengers, Warriors and AS90 brigaded together that’s a fairly potent force. Probably would prefer three or four strike brigades, it does make me question why it seems we can’t make our own 8×8. Between a basic APC, an autocannon armed IFV, a 120mm gun carrier, a SHORAD/ATGM carrier, an arty module, something like the Supacat LIMAW (think that’s right) GMLRS, EW, ambulance, C3, engineer and recovery etc etc etc there’s surely… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Ryan. I agree. What’s our issue. No idea where to start! It is endemic it seems, especially in the army. Yes. 2 Challenger 2 Warrior. It is potent but bear in mind that currently ( unsure if changes already afoot ) the 3 Armoured Infantry each have 1 Tank, 1 Armd Recc, 2 Warrior, 1 HPM ( heavy protected mobility ) That is 5 units from infantry and RAC. In future, as things stand after SDSR2015, they will have just 3, the 1 Tank, and 2 Warrior. Much weaker brigades. So it is already a potent force and would… Read more »

Ryan Brewis

So the question is: just how are they fucking it up? And where the hell is all the manpower if all we have are a single armoured brigade and a couple lash up formations if I understand you? Surely it can’t be all in LI and rear echelon? There’s about 75k troops for crying out loud, how are we incapable of putting together a coherent force? To demonstrate my point, here’s a theoretical Army I whipped up: Two armoured and four Strike brigades, the armoured brigades consisting of two battlegroups each of a tank regt, two AI, a recce company… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Ryan. I will try to answer best I can below. “if all we have are a single armoured brigade and a couple lash up formations if I understand you?” We have 3 AI Bdes currently. The plan was move to 2/2 by promoting one of the infantry Bdes in 1 Div to Strike and changing 1 Armd Inf Bde to Strike. That is up in the air now until IDSR. “Surely it can’t be all in LI and rear echelon?” Yes, lots! Plus many thousands unfit to deploy, those in rear roles like the training organisation, in UKSF, with… Read more »


Need to have a word with Stuart Crawford, he doesn’t seem to consider it to be one of the best in the world.


There we go. No doubt that’s the life extension upgrade sorted.


The CH2LEP certainly has been keeping the midnight oil burning for the ‘hush hush’ boys, now behold, it’s here a bloody step for arthritic knees!

Ian M.

I’ve seen a lot of Mickey Mouse b8ll8cks in 24 years in this mans Army, this takes the proverbial biskwit!


If something as simple as a ladder to help get on the thing is so useful, why on earth wasnt it sorted a long time ago? Yes they did it the posh way with a 3d printer, but it only had to be a GCSE metalwork project didnt it?


‘they have certainly made some ‘steps’ in that direction’ 🙂 🙂 🙂


Heath & Robinson spring to mind. I could have knocked that up in my garage. I do hope that isn’t the complete Challenger 2 upgrade programme.


I do hope the British Army are not taking themselves seriously with this. And it’s a little way off April 1st. I do suspect however someone somewhere is (I hope) trolling the MoD.


And the next stage is to fit the new British army Iron fist active defensive systems for the chally, codenamed “Pirelli” consisting of secret rubber, conical items, covertly coloured black, sniper taped to the side of the tank! 😁 The contract with Capita to test the concept, trials and training will start after an exhausting testing regime, costing 800 million, with an in service timeframe of 2025.


Perhaps some temporay bunk beds and some chintz curtains to hang off the side.


I’m disgusted at the above, where is the wheelchair access is the army going to offer separate toilet facilities for trans people and will they be offering a space inside the tanks in which to allow people to be able to pray.

Supportive Bloke

I’m struggling not to laugh TBH. One of my guys could have made that in under an hour and more neatly. You have RN coming out with a series of drumbeat announcements about sensible weapons systems that everyone knows are needed. RAF similarly talking about weapons and planes (P8, F35B, WedgeTail) that are needed and wanted. And this? I mean really? Seriously? If the army comms office think this is good enough then god help them and god help the Chally LEP program – I know this is not part of it but turning the whole thing into a joke… Read more »


Ah troll Harold, well done in the MCM posts, confirmation if ever we needed any of a genuine multi avatar troll. Sad.


All the comments from people saying what a joke this is, clearly haven’t spent time around armour and experienced for themselves how damaging jumping off a vehicle a few dozen times a day can be. Most of the injuries from an armoured battlegroup on exercise are from people jumping down from armour.

But yeah, let’s laugh at the Army trying to reduce injuries to its people because it’s a ladder and we can make a cheap shot.

peter wait

Would not putting foot holes in the skirt plates as per other armoured vehicles work better and not get ripped off when going through trees ?

James Blyther

Hi, would it not be possible and maybe cheaper to go with either the latest leopard tank or the Abrams ? Maybe a modified Abrams with a diesel power pack as tested for the Turkish army .


12 years on chieftain and never needed one what are today’s tankies made of.

peter wait

The current generation were driven to school in cars and played computer games instead of football etc outside, their bodies were not conditioned to exercise as much. Think the decline started with those thick plastic scissors which stopped children cutting themselves, this reduced awareness to risk and danger!

Ian M.

Front tow hooks, 2 kicks to wake up whoever was asleep in the drivers seat, then up you go….easy.

peter wait

I know someone who repairs these tanks aged 59, he seems to have no trouble climbing over the turret, think perhaps they need more P.T. Also possible to climb up extended range fuel drum bracket if reasonably fit (not approved). Bigger problem is the lack of anti slip grit used when overpainted which is a problem when they are wet or diesel spilt when refuelled /overfilled

peter french

Wow no wonder this upgrade is a “step change” that attracts admiration from all quarters. Another British inovation toe prolong the life of the Challenger


Have we not lost our perspective here? If this is the best thing we can find to comment on or invest energy in producing a press release for then something is truly wrong.