Nine months into the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) Assessment Phase, Team Challenger 2 has set out some of the improvements it will provide British Army tank crews.
Simon Jackson, BAE Systems’ campaign lead explained:
“We will be giving the Royal Armoured Corps a Challenger 2 Mark 2, customised for the British soldier with the latest and best sensors, weapons control systems and crewstations. When a crew climbs into the Challenger 2 Mark 2, the first thing they will see is a brand new, modern Commander’s crewstation designed specifically for the British Army. All systems – including lethality, sighting, situational awareness, battlefield management and survivability – will be run and managed from this integrated crewstation.
A modern electronic and video architecture backbone underpinning all vehicle systems will enable the Commander to transfer tasks to other crew members, such as the control and viewing of additional sensors and systems. Crew menus and displays will be more intuitive and have the same functionality as AJAX – making it much easier for Commanders to move between Challenger 2 and AJAX and vice versa.
New control panels, the latest hand controllers and intelligent flat panel displays will give an instant feel of a more modern vehicle with major improvements. We will provide improved survivability measures, a better hit probability, faster targeting and vastly improved sighting systems.”
Using an Open Architecture approach means that future upgrades will be incorporated more easily. Team Challenger 2 is ensuring that the tank is ready to receive further capability enhancements such as active protection systems, future electronic countermeasures, training systems and enhanced decision support systems.
There are also opportunities to make Challenger 2 forward-compatible with other emerging technologies say BAE.
“By following the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Open Architecture approach, the newly updated tank will be capable of operating with unmanned ground and aerial vehicles, and potentially autonomous vehicles. This could mean sharing situational awareness and even coordinating attack or defence with multiple unmanned weapon systems.”
Simon explained: “Our focus is to offer a solution that meets exactly what the British Army needs and what the MOD has asked for – keeping the tank in service until 2035 in the most effective and efficient way possible.
But we also want to customise what is already a great tank to give soldiers a significantly better vehicle; one that can easily receive further updates as the battlefield demands, all delivered within the available budget.”
In addition, Team Challenger 2 will offer option packages to ‘enhance protection and lethality’. These will include soft and hard kill defensive aids systems, modular armour and a choice of weapon upgrades.
Partners in Team Challenger 2 include
- Design Authority – BAE SystemsSystems
- Integration and Engineering
- BAE Systems
- General Dynamics Land Systems-UK
- Specialist technologies
- General Dynamics Mission Systems International
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES Ltd)
- Safran Electronics (formerly Sagem)