BAE Systems has given further details on the capabilities of its upgraded Challenger 2 main battle tanks as part of Medusa project.

“Members of Army HQ, DE&S and the MOD joined other agencies and companies for static and dynamic demonstrations of the system, which included simulated laser and missile attack,” said a BAE bulletin.

“The demonstration day was the latest stage in our work to help Dstl understand the potential benefits and challenges associated with using AIPS to improve protection and survivability of UK armoured vehicles.”

According to Defence Blog here, the Technical Assessment Programme (TAP) by UK Defence Science and Technology Laborartory (Dstl), designated Project ‘Medusa’, is to evaluate soft-kill active protection system solutions based on the Hensolt Multifunctional Self-Protection System (MUSS): a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) system that integrates missile and laser warning sensors with a directional electro-optical jammer.

“The development of an effective Active Protection System, as part of Project Medusa, would provide a hugely significant step change in the survivability of UK tanks fleet.”

The project is to develop an understanding of how a high-maturity system can be integrated into an existing UK vehicle fleet – in this case the Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) – and its affect on the platform and the crew.

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Cam Hunter

I don’t think the west will ever be in mass tank battles again, so it’s not to concerning that we only have a couple hundred odd tanks. But I hope we will atleast have one of the best tanks once upgraded. But I also hope we have some armoured vehicles with Anti-tank missiles mounted on just in case, kind of like the Stormer vehicle with starstreak mounted on it. If not i supose there’s plenty hand held anti tank missiles that infintary can carry in their Warriors ect.


You’re probably right about mass tank battles, they are just getting to expensive to buy and western militaries work on the assumption to having air control to counter the other sides tanks. I guess it comes down to who you fight


How many British soldiers have dies because armchair generals assumed that the next war would have been fought in a certain way? Yes, the west has the world’s strongest air powers but that can never be guaranteed nor can their ability to deliver, not with China’s rapidly expanding capabilities and Russians massive air defense capability.

If that air power isn’t there then assumptions are going to see people killed in sub standard equipment.

Anthony D

Zero Lewis. Armchair generals don’t command or make force posture decisions. They are non military people.


The MBT is not dead nor anywhere close to being obsolete. Any survivability upgrades should be fitted as the CH2 fleet is small enough to improve as many hulls as possible. I’m a bit confused, is ‘Medusa’ an additional programme to the LEP proposals? The Rheinmetall proposal suggests an all-new turret will be the best way forward however, I don’t believe that version has any ‘active’ protection? The BAE ‘Black Knight’ certainly majored on such systems, so where is LEP heading??


Active protection is separate from all AFV upgrade programmes. I believe CR2 is only hosting the system. If AIPS prove useful, which of course they are, the chosen system can be roled out across all platforms requiring it.


I agree


Generals are not military?????

Jonathan Davies

Well none. Armchair Generals don’t dictate policy. They are armchair Generals.


Assumption is the Mother of ALL f**k ups


The current battlefield is progressing more towards soft skinned anti-armour vehicles that are cheap and disposable, kind of like a median between Infantry Fighting Vehicles and armoured Tank Destroyers.


I like to keep an eye on defence matters and I am not really seeing an increase in soft skinned vehicles. Sure they exist but IFVs both wheeled and tracked seem to be getting larger and more heavily armoured. Soft skinned vehicles cannot really survive against even old artillery systems like GRAD that every possible future enemy seems to own. All vehicles in or potentially near a combat zone need protection. The MRVP program shows that the powers that be believe this.


The Russians are likely to deploy about 4 T14’s and the 120mm riffled gun with HESH/CHARM 3 is probably the most effective weapon on the planet for cutting through T72 to T90 generation tanks. Far more important to have the best Armour which Challenger 2 already has and to update the sensors and active protection as BAE proposes.

RM proposal is nice but too expensive. Better to build a new tank than to stick an expensive new turret on just to get 120mm smooth bore. If we are going new turret/tank we need 130mm weapon.

Darren Sharrocks

when you assume some that will never happen. It will happen history has shown is this. The US want to invade Iran, there will be tank battles there, if it happens. I repeat though if you think it will never happen, it will. look at what the Japanese did to Singapore, the Brits though the former would not go through the jungle, it was impossible. They did it and captured the city

peter smith

The Japanese won in Singapore primarily for 3 reasons:
1. They had tanks we had none
2. They had incapacitated the RAF and Navy within days
3. Singapore was not defensible from the rear and with its large civilian population

Malaya was served with good quality roads. The Japanese used the jungle to bye pass road defences or sailed round them in small coastal boats. The tanks trundled down the roads


Didn’t Saddam Hussein say the same

Chris Painter

Missiles require electronic capabilities!? Doesn’t work well in war! ( have you fought?) DICK HEAD.


I am grateful for this Concise Technology Review (CTR). I hope we can continue to develop this High Maturity System (HMS) and integrate it into out Existing UK Vehicle Fleet (EUKVF). Meantime, I Continue to Monitor Ongoing Reports (CMOR).




ROFL Rolling On the Floor Laughing
Also JOB Jumping on Bandwagon ?




The problem here is we keep looking towards Rheinmetall for technologies that are within our R&D and production capabilities.

Are we not capable of developing our own smooth-bore automated turret?

Does Chobham not have the ability to advance its (Dorchester) already world-leading armour to accommodate active protection and jamming?

Can’t BAE write/develop the lines of programming to bring an electronics package together?

Am I naive to ask such questions?

Daniele Mandelli

The RARDE at Chobham is long gone.


Brian Clarke

The RARDE ceased in 1991 however we left Chobham in 2004 as DSTL. I do believe research into armour continues at another site.


Chobham was replaced by Dorchester armour Decades ago, Since the first Challenger II s


“Are we not capable of developing our own smooth-bore automated turret?”
Not without huge expenditure, the industry was lost, haven’t made a tank turret in decades.

“Does Chobham not have the ability to advance its (Dorchester) already world-leading armour to accommodate active protection and jamming?”
Dorchester hasn’t been world leading in a long time.

“Can’t BAE write/develop the lines of programming to bring an electronics package together?”
Probably yes.

captain P Wash.

by my Reckoning, A 155mm diameter Auger, attached to a long Shaft, attached to a Lathe, Spinning at @ 100 RPM, with an Oil Injection system, might just give us a Smooth Bore but I might be wrong.

Is It so far out of our Capability or am I being a bit Simple ?


Totally agree, I’ve also said it before, rifling in guns improves accuracy, why on Earth wouldn’t we want our tanks to have rifled guns?

James M

It improved accuracy back in the days of full size rounds, and increases the effectiveness of HESH. These days, with sub-caliber projectiles like APFSDS rounds it reduces velocity (gasses can get past the projectile through the rifling grooves) and the projectiles can spin themselves, so there’s no real benefit. Also means we can’t use the same rounds that the rest of NATO uses, due to them being 1-piece and ours being 2-piece. Personal opinion – take the current hulls, put in a new power pack and transmission, maybe new armour, and drop a new turret with blow-out panels and a… Read more »


Ian, you r not naive to ask the question. Smooth bore was something we Brits never wanted to persue…. reason….. shell casings. If we (Brits) adopted a universal round, we would have to deal with the empty cases that are left after firing. The only thing left after a Brit round is discharged is a .625 brass vent tube. We can fire a complete bomb load without having to worry about stacking empty 120 casings….. Obturation…. awesome. This means we can stay on the battlefield longer because we have more ammo. Besides, it has been proved that a British rifled… Read more »

Steven Kirkland

Ground strength and capability is of vital importance considering given, tech, amour and protection to troops and its operators.

Mentioned this before about qaunity vs quality.

The British armed forces in my opinion cannot afford any losses to its assets across its services, in such event would cripple the economy and level us in an extremely vulnerable state.

I’m in favour of increasing the armed forces and having a domestic and expeditionary force..

Strenght in numbers imo, our numbers of tanks is frighteningly low as too apache numbers.

captain P Wash.

I too am worried about our lack of Apache’s but We are blessed with a huge reserve of other Indians in Birmingham.

What ?

Daniele Mandelli


Daniele Mandelli

Lol I wouldn’t go that far.

But DARPA and DSTL are certainly looking into that sort of thing.

Even BT back in the 90s had it’s Soulcatcher programme at Martlesham, and that makes me feel old.

The white world is far behind the black world.

Daniele Mandelli

Naughty step for you young Gunner!

Asking for it!

Daniele Mandelli


Daniele Mandelli

Eyes to yer front.

Mark yer target as it comes…


Why is the Miltary spending so much time and effort going down the soft kill protection system than a hard kill one The last I looked a SK will not defend against an RPG. Seeing as the RPG 29 can penetrate a Chally 2 that is a huge problem. A Hard Kill system protects agaisnt both

Mr Bell

Do we know for certain the rog29 can penetrate the Challenger 2 armour?
I remember reading about a challenger 2 being hit by 17+ RPG rounds and still coming back to base, overnight repair then back our on patrol again


An RPG-29 did penetrate the lower glacis plate of a Challenger 2 in al-Amarah, in southern Iraq. The tank at the time was fitted with additional explosive reactive armour (ERA). The RPG-29 uses a tandem HEAT warhead and was able to activate the ERA then penetrate the metal behind. The driver was injured and lost a foot, two other crew were injured in the attack, however the driver was still able to drive out of contact. The tank was repaired and back in action later that day. The outcome of this incident was to replace the ERA on the lower… Read more »


Great minds think alike.


Do we know for certain the rog29 can penetrate the Challenger 2 armour? MoD kept failure of best tank quiet One of the British Army’s Challenger 2 tanks was pierced by an Iraqi insurgent missile more than eight months earlier than the Government has previously admitted.he Ministry of Defence had claimed that an attack last month that breached a tank’s armour was the first of its kind in four years of war in Iraq. But another Challenger 2 was pierced by a powerful rocket-propelled grenade in August last year during an attack that blew off part of a soldier’s foot… Read more »

Steve Taylor

As long as it becomes a real thing not a progamme beset with technical issues and FFBNW. If not we should just buy Leopard and have done.

i get lost amongst all there programmes and organisational changes. Is it really beyond us to have 4 brigades of armoured vehicles (1 x MBT, 3 x inf bats, and a bat of SPG)? Where are we know with Warrior?

It’s a mess. And the generals can’t put all the blame on the politicos.

Daniele Mandelli

2 x MBT, 4 x Warrior, 4 x Boxer, 4 x Ajax, 2 x SPG, 2 x other gun is end state for the 4 Brigades Steve.

Steve Taylor

Thanks. Is that in total or per brigade? Or is that everything? In Gulf War 1 we struggled to field two brigades ( 1 x CR and 2 x Warrior, and the the other 2xCR and 1 X Warrior). As one has said a number of times now I prefer the old 3 Div mechanised brigade orbat of 1 x Mbt, 1 x armoured inf, and 2 x mechanised / motorised / wheel battalions. Plus tubes and camp followers. And as I have said the Warrior programme is far too ambitious. Dump the turret. Convert them to tracked APC’s. Go… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

That’s yer lot guv! Wish that was per Brigade. The 14 are the total, spread amongst 4 Brigades. 14 being Infantry Battalions and RAC Regiments. 2 Armoured. Each with 1 x MBT, 2 x Warrior, 1 x SPG. Plus Regiments from the RS, RE, REME, RAMC, RLC, and RMP Coy. 2 Strike Each with 2 x Ajax, 2 x MIV ( Boxer ? ) 1 x RA Plus Regiments from the RS, RE, REME, RAMC, RLC, and RMP Coy. Already this exposes the hidden cut. The previous 3 Armoured Brigades fielded – 3 x MBT, 6 x Warrior, 3 x… Read more »

Steve Taylor

And this is why I don’t bother to keep up with it because that is bonkers.

Thanks. 🙂


I fully support the Strike Brigade concept. However, it should only be one part of a whole. In that I mean, it should coexist alongside the Heavy Brigade and not replace it. Also if we are going down the strike brigade route then we must fully adopt it and not go about it half arsed! For example the Boxer is a modular concept vehicle. So along with the battlefield taxis, will there be a command vehicle, ambulance, ammunition and supply vehicle, recovery, air defence, gun or missile artillery, a mortar carrier, air defence, battlefield surveillance, signals vehicle, anti-tank missile carrier… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

DaveyB Good post, I agree. I have read similar, that perhaps the Strike Brigade operates in tandem with one or two armoured brigades, in effect as the divisional reconnaissance element. The intervention aspect is how it seemed when David Cameron announced the concept in 2015 SDSR, selling them as self supporting formations able to deploy vast distances chasing terrorists. Maybe the French example in Africa has influenced this? I do not know the Boxer variants that are being considered. But in their current state as you say these brigades are completely half arsed lacking in firepower, and the 3 decent… Read more »


It’s ironic I feel, but opposite to popular precictions over the decades robots and computerisation will replace the more complex high value jobs far more quickly and completely than cleaners or bin men. Humans are simply cheaper in such scenarios than using expensive mechanoids to do low profit value but often situationally unpredictable jobs that would need very complex programming in areas the human brain excels in (ie decisions on the hoof) but computers struggle to grapple with.


Werner Von Braun explained that the reason for putting humans in space ships was that humans are the only machine that can be easily mass produced by untrained workers.

john melling

So they are putting the Multifunctional Self-Protection System (MUSS) on a Challenger,
BIG WOW….Hardly a game changer is it.
Its a little box that tell the tank what it should do.. blow smoke, play some music. try and jam the missile and redirect it.
Surely they have been making more progress that this….

The project, just like others, all seem very slow


We don’t have enough money .
All 3 services are below critical mass.
So any updates or new equipment costs more because we don’t order enough .
BAe told the MoD that if they upped the build rate on the type 26 they could have 10 for the 8 billion but the treasury said no because they don’t want to spend the money earlier .
Little known fact for a extra 1.5 billion we could have had 3 carriers but again the build was stretched for political reasons.

The treasury has a lot to answer for.

Daniele Mandelli

I think CASD being brought into core by the Treasury is the killer.

34 Billion in the 10 year equipment plan on Submarines. Most of that on Successor no doubt.

If Gav can get that removed that’s him deified in my book.

Meiron X

Trying to hide military expenditure like the Chinese do, will cause other economic problems, just like China has massive debts, a ticking time bomb!
Nor does it Not solve the underlying problem of the UK having chosen an outrageously expensive CASD system. An alternative deterrent would make more common sense, like ‘Astute VLS’.

James M

Problem with an alternative deterrent is the cost to develop it. Trident has already been paid for and the US will cover a fair amount (the majority) of the cost of any future development. How much would a completely new system – submarines, warheads, and the missile itself cost?

Mr Bell

Meiron- it is not a deterrent if it can be defeated or shot down. Currently there is no defensive missile system in the world that can defeat a trident ballistic missile with multiple re-entry vehicles travelling at + mach 8.
An astute class with VLS fitting what? tomahawk, storm shadow (navalised version)- all of which can and would be intercepted if targeting a high-value defended target.
Happy to debate but any CASD has to have ballistic missiles otherwise zero point deploying them other than annoyance factor.

David owen

Tory asshole politicians have ran our army into the ground,the Russian and Chinese armies are on the rise again,build a new mark 3challenger ,if the lessons are not learned God help us !!!!!

Daniele Mandelli

Tory or Labour it makes no difference.

I remember the dark days 1998 to 2010 and what happened after the “New Chapter” in 2004.

The only reason the army didn’t get the chop then was Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both the RN, RAF and wider MoD programmes were badly cut by that government.


Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of votes in defence so money is spent bribing the electorate in nice little giveaways but they chop defence because it’s a soft target. I think Williamson is doing his best to stop the rot.

Mr Bell

Got to agree David- a challenger 3 using all our expert materials science to develop a tank with the very best active and passive defensive system, best gun/ armour combination if exactly what the UK needs- no German replacement a BAe built challenger 3 is precisely what the army needs. Although I think the challenger 2 with these upgrades is still going to spank the famed Russian Aramata T14 with ease- better materials science- I fail to believe that Russia can develop an armour that will withstand a APFSDS round with tungsten or DU penetrator fired by a Chally 2… Read more »

john martin

Williamson wants to be PM that is his ambition not a better armed force for the UK.


Probably got a reasonable chance of becoming PM, when you look at the turdingtons jostling for position!

captain P Wash.

john martin, can you tell us how you know this ?

Personally I reckon He’s a Breath of fresh air in a World of Political Guff. A Chap with Balls and a sense of Direction at odds with the Usual Free Loading Elite Money grabbing London Focused Fuckwits who have run Rough Shod over this once Proud Country for so long.

Bring on Brexit, Bring on a new bloody Order.

Bring back Common sense and good old British Values.

There, That should bring out the Moaners !!!!

john martin

He is where he is on a lie a politician,all the same never trust any, wait and see.


That’s all we have, god I remember when we fielded four armoured divs and a heavy infantry div in Germany. Then when BAOR was restructured (cut) to three armoured divs and a infantry field force we were trying to figure out how to stop the Russian juggernaut. Now we have flexible battlegroups, em has the government forgotten that when tanks are used in smaller numbers mixed in with infantry they get picked of by tank only units such as what Germany did to the British Army in 1939-40 or what the Russians work at. Numbers need to be brought back… Read more »

Meiron X

We should Not try to hide defence expenditure!! The former Soviet Union hid military expenditure on a massive scale, over 15% of GDP, which resulted in the massive structural distortion of the economy of the Soviet Block.

Meiron X

I can Not see any other budget you put the deterrent in?
To put the deterrent in another budget would be similar to what the former Soviet Union did to hide military expenditure, which resulted in real military expenditures exceeding 15% of GDP. This hidden military expenditure coused massive structural distortion of the Soviet economy.

But the UK government should make defence expenditure clear, by pointing out what is front line defence expenditure, and background expenditure, like pensions and research. In other words, redefine what defence expenditures meets the frontline need of 2%


I love armchair talkies…. Fear Naught