Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made a bit of a fanfare over the UK’s new main battle tank (MBT), the Challenger 3, and its first public appearance in prototype form.

Britain’s current MBT, the Challenger 2, is getting a bit long in the tooth and is basically obsolescent. First introduced into British army service in 1998, some 447 were built, including 38 for export to Oman. 

I have always said that one indication of a weapons system’s usefulness is its sales performance to other states; those sent to Oman are Challenger 2’s only exports, which compared to similar statistics for the tank’s main competitors within NATO, the German Leopard 2 and the American M1 Abrams, are paltry. More recently fourteen Challenger 2s from UK stocks were donated to Ukraine.


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The tank’s performance in UK service has been acceptable. It has been employed in British armoured deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and elsewhere. Only two have been lost to hostile action, one to “friendly fire” (there is no such thing!) in Iraq in 2003 and another more recently in Ukraine succumbing to mine and/or drone damage. 

Britain, however, made relatively few improvements or upgrades to its tanks over the past twenty years, in contrast to the Americans and Germans who cave made major improvements iteratively. Consequently Challenger 2 is now comprehensively outclassed by the MBTs of friendly nations.

In the light of this, plus the perceived revival of the threat of conventional armoured warfare in Europe in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, the decision was taken to upgrade Britain’s ageing tank fleet with the aforementioned Challenger 3, prototypes of which have been on trials in Germany.

The “new” tank will be a major improvement on its predecessor, no doubt about it, although it utilises the redundant Challenger 2 hulls as the basic building block for the new vehicle. That said, the hulls will be stripped down to the basics, refurbished, and improved in some ways. So “nearly-new” is probably a fair description.

The major change is above the waist with a completely new turret. This will boast many new systems including improved sights and optics and  better armour protection, but the most obvious improvement is the adoption of the German 120 mm smoothbore cannon as replacement for the British 120 mm rifled gun of its predecessor. 

Not only is the German gun superior in performance to its predecessor but it also uses ammunition compatible with the MBTs of other NATO nations, most notably the American M1 Abrams and the German Leopard 2. Many of us had been banging on (no pun intended) about adopting the German cannon for 40 years, so better late than never I suppose.

Accordingly it looks as if it’ll be a decent vehicle with initial deployment or “initial operating capability” planned for 2027 and a full in-service date of 2030, although previous history suggests that both dates should be taken with a pinch of salt.

And that’s good news; an almost brand new and modern tank for the British army is on its way. Now for the not-so-good news.

First and foremost of that is that we’re currently planning to procure only 148 of them, which is embarrassingly few when you remember that at the height of the Cold War, not that long ago, the British army’s Royal Armoured Corps could hope to field around 900 MBTs. No wonder some US senior officers have said that Britain is no longer a Tier 1 military power.

One hundred and forty eight is about sufficient to equip two armoured regiments plus reserve and training vehicles. It’s laughably small. In Ukraine the Russians have lost roughly 3,000 tanks in just over two years, and in 1944 the British and Canadian armies lost approximately the same number in about three months during the battle for Normandy. 

So 148 MBTs might last about a fortnight in intensive combat if we’re lucky, and after that there will be no replacements. If there’s one lesson to come out of the current conflict in Ukraine it’s that you need lots of stuff, to use the correct technical term, and clearly 148 tanks ain’t going to cut it.

Next is that, despite reported upgraded armour, Challenger 3 seems to have precious little to counter the drone threat despite what we have witnessed in Ukraine and elsewhere. The new tank is fitted for, but not with, active protective systems (APS) which could shoot down incoming threats. Only 60 sets of APS are part of the Challenger 3 order, which makes you wonder what might happen to the remaining 84 unprotected MBTs. 

Finally, for this article at least, there is no replacement powerpack planned. Challenger 3 will weigh around 70 tonnes and will still have a 1200 bhp engine, as does Challenger 2. Reports from Ukraine suggest that the Ukrainians regard the latter to be underpowered, and both M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 have 1500 bhp powerpacks. It would seem that Challenger 3 may be as underpowered as its predecessor.

All of the above is subject to the caveat that the UK does not think it will be embarking on conventional armoured warfare in the future solo; it will be alongside NATO allies and so will be fielding its meagre tank fleet together with the much larger fleets of others. 

I never said that Challenger 2 was or is a bad tank, just that it was the wrong tank for the British army for reasons I have explained many times before until I’m blue in the face. I fear the same will be said of Challenger 3; produced in small numbers, no export potential doomed for extinction.

We were presented with the broad autobahn to the future offered by joining the Leopard 2 club, and instead in its wisdom the MoD has chosen the cul-de-sac that is Challenger 3. Very British, choosing the winding country lane that leads to a dead end. 

Again.

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a defence analyst and former army officer. Sign up for his podcasts and newsletters at www.DefenceReview.uk. First published on ThinkScotland.org.

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Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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Martin
Martin (@guest_817293)
11 days ago

We do not need 900 tanks or 150,000 strong Army. Two reason can not afford it, can not man 900 tanks and can not put 150,000 soldiers any where and numbers do not mean better. Its an out dated argument that keeps getting used, i do agree 148 is a joke, not much if any in reserve. Todays contact battle is about speed Arty fire, drones, long range interdiction, fire and forget weapons. Attack choppers and ground attack aircraft are the past ie the A10. Tanks are great in an open plain breakthrough battle and that is about it. Vehicles… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_817306)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Glad someone has actually said what a lot of people are actually thinking ….

Dern
Dern (@guest_817309)
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Except even in todays world calling in Artillery or drones is slow. Direct application of 120mms of HE is considerably faster. And until we can replicate mobile protected firepower in a way that isn’t a tank, the tank will not be replaced.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_817334)
11 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes however assistance from tanks only lasts as long as the tank. Today’s wars seem to have brought new ways of attacking these vehicles. Drones may be slow (for the time being) but you can mass produce them cheaply and swamp your opponent giving them a big problem. Faster isn’t always better.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817348)
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Contrary to what people are claiming tanks are not being swept from the battlefield however. What we are seeing is pretty standard attritional warfare, which we in the west just aren’t used to seeing. There will be tank losses to drones and mines and artillery, but there will also be SPG losses, drone operator losses, yet because those don’t feed into the narrative (and are less dramatic on film) they don’t get released (reminder the vast majority of drone on tank kills are on tanks that are already immobilized). Direct Fires are generally preferable to indirect fires, because yes, getting… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_817356)
11 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes the strategy in the west appears to be getting invincible kit and put that up against masses of dodgy disposeable kit & troops which seems to be the strategy in the East. If attritional warfare is the reality we need to ensure we either have the quality and/or quantity to deal with it. Sometimes I suspect it means accepting that tactics & kit might need changing quicker than in the past.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817377)
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

I mean that’s a blatant mischaracterisation and strawman, we’ve never aimed for invincible kit, we’ve just aimed for a qualitatitive edge over our opponents, and a combined arms approach that has resulted in several overwhelming victories in the last 30 years. People are really focused on attritional warfare because that’s what’s happening in Ukraine right now, but there is absolutely no guarentee that’s what will happen if NATO comes up against an opponent, and in fact, given the lack of a Ukranian Air Force, Navy, and significant shortages of artillery, armour, and air defence, there is every reason to believe… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Dern
Mark B
Mark B (@guest_817410)
11 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Sorry Mate that was not my intention. Challenger III seemed to me to be an attempt to plug some of the gaps of Challenger II caused by modern tech (or lack thereof). Invincible might have been too strong but I was comparing it to a different strategy used by the Russians which seems to rely on quantity & cannon fodder (which might also be too strong). It is impossible to say how good C3 is until it is used in combat.Any weakness will be exploited and will show in the numbers we lose. This begs the question will drones and… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817447)
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Of course we plug gaps as tech advances, that’s why the M1 Abrams is on the M1A2SEPV3 model, and why Leopard 2 is on it’s now on it’s A8 version. But as I said: It’s about a qualitative edge, rather than aiming for “invincibility.” And nobody is pretending that we wouldn’t loose M1E3’s, Leo 2A8s or Challenger 3’s in combat. People have been keen to be the predictors of the end of the tank since 1916, especially in the lay community, and it’s rife in this day and age of “distrusting experts” who actually know what they are talking about.… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Dern
Wasp snorter
Wasp snorter (@guest_818316)
7 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Just on the horses point, despite the Wehrmacht being know for tank mobility, Operation Barborossa was only possible by massive use of horses, which lasted throughout the eastern war. Despite their obsolescence being overstated by the Germans against Poland (Poles still fielded Cavalry) horses were still used in WW2 by the Germans, obsolescence isn’t that clear cut.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_818081)
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Well written Mate!

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817480)
10 days ago
Reply to  Dern

What we are seeing is pretty standard attritional warfare,

Disagree.

Drones with missiles, suicide drones, small drones that drop HEAT grenades, better ATGM with longer range and more widespread, more precise artillery with dumb rounds and even more precise with guided rounds.
Better detection devices that can sometimes achieve the “transparent battlefield” making manoeuvre warfare impossible.

All of that is a significant qualitative and quantitative increase in the threats against the tank

Dern
Dern (@guest_818020)
9 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

So how do you explain the actual succesful offensive in Kharkiv when the Ukranians used their tank brigades to knock a hole into the Russian line and then used manoevure warfare to keep the Russians off balance and force a general retreat?

I suggest what you mean is “attacking into prepared defences without air superiority or operational surprise results in high casualties and a very slow attritional advance.” … which has been true for ages.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_818729)
6 days ago
Reply to  Dern

It is explained in the above text i wrote. Seems you did not read it properly.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817315)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin. I’m 100% with you on this and was about to post similar, along the lines of – if Tanks are as vulnerable as we are seeing, is it thus not correct that we are not going all in on them and buying in large numbers? It cannot just be down to how Russia uses them, Drones have arrived. We still need the capability, sure, as any armoured vehicle is vulnerable, and you need Tanks for firepower and shock action as much as you need IFV, APC, and all the rest. And Drones can and will be countered like any… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817317)
11 days ago

TBH I think what we are seeing is the West having to unlearn some bad habits we’ve picked up after 2 Gulf Wars, where we expected to see virtually no armoured casualties because we overmatched the enemy so thoroughly.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817326)
11 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern, Okay, which are?

Dern
Dern (@guest_817443)
10 days ago

As in what bad habits?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817559)
10 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Morning mate. Yes.

Dern
Dern (@guest_818016)
9 days ago

The idea that we’d fight a war and sustain 400 odd deaths over the course of a decade would be one.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_818038)
9 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Ok.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_818510)
7 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Bit late to the party, but nonetheless: I think it’s also worth pointing out that the vast majority of Ukraine’s tank casualties, particularly the NATO ones that everyone talks about, have been when a) they were forced on the attack with insufficient support, and b) on the defence when they had insufficient artillery ammunition to stop Russian attacks before they hit the line- and so had to blunt them with heavy armour instead. Another couple of bad habits to get rid of based upon that: a) Our strike/ordnance options (air, land, sea) are limited and really cannot be. b) Our… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_817321)
11 days ago

That is my point what would do with 900 tanks? we need some very good tanks which we will get and we have up coming great vehicles on their way, less for a wheeled IFV!
We need a lot of modern layed air defence long range not just very short range or one Regt of meduim range with only 5 launchers/complete systems 2 are which are in the Falklands, drone defence, and fast in to action out of action Arty with a long reach and as much ISTAR as possible,

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817324)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Yes, I include AD with artillery, above all at the mo the way things are going.
I’d read that report of “5 systems” and wasn’t sure on it.
I’d like to know what a “system” actually comprises, as AFAIA our 4 Batteries have 2 Fire Groups each, each Fire Group with 2 or 3 launchers and a Radar.
One Battery covers the FI Roulement and the Poland Det, one FG each.
According to CGS, SHORAD will triple and MRAD double, so we shall see beyond the spin what that actually translates to in reality.

Martin
Martin (@guest_817414)
11 days ago

CGS oh oh i trust him, not, spin, spin, lets wait and see so the UK as whole will have no anti missile defence for the nation and some MRAD which has limited response time due to range, and speed of incoming missiles.
Ukraine has the tightest air defence in Europe and get it NATO as stripped its own down and still Ukraine is not safe.
Look at what Ukraine has now to what the entire UK has, its a joke.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_817421)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Ok but Ukraine hasn’t the airpower to take the fight to the Orcs! I can assure you it will be a different matter facing NATO jets roaming the skies as what this war has shown us the Orcs have no AD themselves with slow drones penetrating 1500km with no bother!

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_818104)
8 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

This is likely one of the biggest differences between the current Ukraine Russia conflict vs a NATO Russia conflict. Air power would be a massive deciding factor, if it was to ever happen.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820073)
2 days ago
Reply to  Martin

We only had 900 tanks at the height of the Cold War, so I agree that we don’t need that number unless someone tells us that we are in another Cold War.

It was decided that we needed 386 tanks for the post-Cold War world hence that’s the number of CR2s we then ordered in 1991 and 1994, which were then fielded from ’98 – and that was before we saw tanks being used in number in GW1, GW2 and more recently in the Ukraine war.

Martin
Martin (@guest_820075)
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

i do totally agree 148 is not enough, double that is needed to have a reserve as well.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_817915)
9 days ago

I’d be more impressed if someone had ordered a version of Boxer with Skyshield or Mantis and 2 others with an auto mortar and Brimstones.

Brian Dee
Brian Dee (@guest_817327)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Yes but battle casualty replacements take time to train,around 6 months for an infantryman,look at Ukraine having to conscript

Martin
Martin (@guest_817329)
11 days ago
Reply to  Brian Dee

Ok, what has that to do with not needing 900 C3 tanks?

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_817337)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Entirely related to this discussion is the treason committed by Theresa May when she effectively gifted BEA Land Systems to Rheinmetal as a demonstration of the country she really loved (The Eu) when she was thankfully removed from Office

Simon
Simon (@guest_817397)
11 days ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

45% of Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, is owned by BAE Systems. not quite sure what the EU has to do with it!!

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_817406)
11 days ago
Reply to  Simon

A new European MBT project has been launched by France’s NEXTER and and Germany’ Rheinmetal, no other companies will be allowed to join, no mention of BAE. If you have knowledge that BAE will play a part please let me know.

Simon
Simon (@guest_817415)
11 days ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

Graham mentioned that we have observer status in the European MTB project and there are a couple of articles online to say the MOD were discussing it. The Rheinmettall part of RBSL is Rheinmetall UK

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_817420)
11 days ago
Reply to  Simon

Observer status? No input and no control right?

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_818111)
8 days ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

Do you want us to money in? The pace on this project is very slow and as both countries have very different ideas on what they want from a tank it doesn’t bode well! Hence the Panther from Germany.

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_818172)
8 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

NO!
I want us to design and manufacture our own MBT

Lord Baddlesmere
Lord Baddlesmere (@guest_818115)
8 days ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

Spot on Colin we’ll get what we’re given

Lord Baddlesmere
Lord Baddlesmere (@guest_818114)
8 days ago
Reply to  Simon

Which buys all its bits from Germany and is there to promote German products & technology- they are not doing r&d into new vehicles- it’s just like a big BMW dealership really. We aren’t even supply our own munitions for C3 just a vassal nation really

Simon
Simon (@guest_818182)
8 days ago

Perason are supplying the turret subsystems. G&H are manufacturing the periscope, there are other UK suppliers involved. ,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820078)
2 days ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

Mrs May as PM did not gift BAE Systems to Rheinmetall. She would have no authority or ability to do that to a privately owned company.

Those 2 companies freely chose to form a JV called RBSL to build CR3, and to possibly do other AFV work in the future.

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_820097)
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think you will find that a PM leaving office has a ridiculous amount of power.
Would you like to explain why one of the largest defence companies in the world would want to become a junior partner to a tiny company like Rheinmetal?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820288)
1 day ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

A PM leaving office has zero hard power but may have a considerable amount of soft power if they are popular and well connected in a given field, in the case Defence procurement. However, that is irrelevant. Mrs May was the serving PM when the JV was being planned and set up – she had not retired. She left office on 24 Jul 2019. The JV had already been announced to the world on 21 Jan 2019. Why do you think Theresa May would have any role at all in bringing BAE and Rheinmetall together to form a JV. Large… Read more »

Colin Brooks
Colin Brooks (@guest_820474)
6 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I had to do a little research here:

BEA is ranked as the 7th largest defence company in the world, with 5 US companies and 1 chinese company above it.
Rheinmetal is ranked 19th.
BAE defence related revenue $25 billion
#Rheinmetal defence related revenue $5 billion.
I repeat my question, why would BAE VOLUNTARILY agree to be a junior partner to Rheinmetal?
figures from ‘Defense News’.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820644)
8 minutes ago
Reply to  Colin Brooks

I was quoting the info as regards the 2 companies that actually signed the JV – for the UK that was BAE Systems Land UK, not the whole of BAE across the entire world or the whole of BAE’s global Defence operation.  You are not looking at the two registered companies that collaborated and signed the JV – you are looking at a much, much larger BAE entity instead. Why? Anyway, I have furnished the info that is in the public domain. I repeat that I am not on the Board of either company so I cannot say why BAE… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817353)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

It is said that the Soviets in WW2 won by industrial might rather than military competence. Roll forward to today and we see Russia using the same attrition tactics in Ukraine.

If NATO goes to war with Russia we will need AFVs in greater numbers than we currently have.

Martin
Martin (@guest_817362)
11 days ago

What we need is lots of ammo, we out number the Russia in most bits of kit, with all of Nato russia would not last long unless it went Nuclear. Russia can do the numbers thing with Ukraine but not NATO. If Ukraine had the AMMO then it would be a lot diffirent, may be not an win but a lot more than just stalemate

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817402)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Well watch out Russia because in 6 years time we have built 148 tanks !

In the same time they will have rolled out 600 to 1000 new T90Ms

Martin
Martin (@guest_817413)
11 days ago

And we would fight Russia on are own of course? Google ‘NATO’, that might help you understand things. What a stupid reply,

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_817426)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Bringing less troops, ships, AFVs, aircraft etc to the strength of NATO every year weakens NATO, not strengthens it. So our contribution, while not fighting in isolation, diminishes NATO. We should be increasing actual war fighting forces, not “agilely” cutting them or just marching time.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817625)
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Ok, if you want to bring down a civil discussion with insults and ridicule then that speaks volumes about you.

If Trump wins the next US election there is strong possibility he will withdraw US from NATO. We will have one less big friend to hide behind.
U

Last edited 10 days ago by Bringer of Facts
Martin
Martin (@guest_817626)
10 days ago

Get off your high horse, and get over your self. He can not with draw with out a vote in congress. Why are we hiding behind any one? I do feel your understanding of the world is some what limited by your ego,
I like a civil discussion but i’m not here to talked to like a moron or have put up with your sarcasim.
Take my advice if you have no clue what you are on about and just want rant then it might be wise to not say much

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817642)
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin

A bit triggered are we ? How dare I have a different opinion to you !!!
We are here to discuss not to throw insults, as you have done in you last 2 posts

Last edited 10 days ago by Bringer of Facts
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820086)
2 days ago

That would be an issue if we were going to go toe-to-toe with Russia on our own. However, we will be alongside 31 other NATO nations, including the USA!

Ex-RoyalMarine
Ex-RoyalMarine (@guest_820167)
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m many days late to this party but, if I were to point out that in 1939, the UK was fighting alongside several other “allied” countries in 1939. That number went down to just the UK in short order.

Forget history at our peril. Not saying it will be the case with NATO, You can almost guarantee Putin will make many NATO capitals think whether they will trade Paris, London, Berlin etc, for Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820301)
1 day ago
Reply to  Ex-RoyalMarine

I like the post. More recent history shows that every NATO country stepped up to the plate when Article 5 was called after 9/11. But of course it was not an existential crisis for those nations, so you may be right that some NATO nations might opt out of WW3, if they were not on the axis of advance for Russia’s forces. We shall find out ‘on the day’!

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_820224)
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

That is certainly the position on paper Graham. But I have serious doubts that the largest NATO army in Europe, Turkey, would join in at the outset or maybe at all. Erdoğan is facing several ways at once and shares a number of common strands with Putin. Ditto Hungary under Orban, Slovakia, Bulgaria, all of whom have Russophile sympathies. All we need is an isolationist US President who.is antipatheric to European affairs and thinks he can do business with Putin to give NATO a serious setback. The main Western European powers need to be doing a lot more and planning… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820341)
21 hours ago
Reply to  Cripes

Hi Cripes, you have a very good point. Turkey is often singing off a different page, somewhat anti-Ukrainina, often very pro-Putin, they delayed Sweden joining NATO etc. I am sure you are right about the other 3 countries. An isolationist US President, which doesn’t have to be Trump, could join the next big war 3 or 4 years late, as happened in the last two world wars, or may not participate at full effort, or even at all (but that seems exceptionally hard to believe). I believe that over time European NATO (and the EU?) should find the will and… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_817493)
10 days ago

Some of that industrial might employed by the USSR in world war 2 was in the UK and north America and shipped to the USSR by the arctic convoys.

Martin
Martin (@guest_817494)
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin

I noticed that there are apparently two martins posting the above on arctic convoys is the first from me.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817634)
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin

That misses the point I am making. In order to take on a country like Russia you must have the the military industrial capacity. Dont forget that Russia also cooperates with Iran, China, North Korea all of which have large military industries.

The Ukraine war has shown that this alliance of autocrats can out produce/ out supply NATO.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_818513)
7 days ago

In a general war with Russia all those manufacturing sites will be prime targets!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_818344)
7 days ago

Had the allies not landed in Italy or done d day the Soviet’s wouldn’t have won on the eastern front. The standards to which the T34 and other kit was built was awful. Parts missing, low quality etc. a large portion of losses were just due to bad quality rather than enemy engagement.
There has to be a balance between numbers and quality. Russia/Soviet’s went to the low end and the west went high end. The balance is probably somewhere in the middle.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818674)
6 days ago
Reply to  Martin

I am not sure we should assume that all armoured warfare will be like that in Ukraine. There are many differences compared to how a NATO-Russia conflict would play out – for example we would conduct manouevre warfare in combined arms groupings with at least local air superiority.

Martin
Martin (@guest_818746)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

True there is a danger of us taking too much away from the war in Ukraine. Its a risk we might want re fight battles that are in most cases not what a Russia NATO war would be and it would not drag on two years.

Tim
Tim (@guest_819181)
5 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Nonsense

Martin
Martin (@guest_819671)
3 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Please enlighten me. If you feel its not correct then a counter point is most welcome.

Paul
Paul (@guest_817302)
11 days ago

I believe the Ukrainians have also found the Challengers they have as unable to move well in the muddy conditions. The Polish tanks are able due to a lower weight.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817305)
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul

This is from a single sun report that was spinning a narrative (in fact if you read the report with a critical eye you’ll see the reporter saw a rookie crew bog their tank in, and a more experienced crew then not get bogged in in the same conditions). Doesn’t matter how good your tank is, a rookie crew will be able to bog it in.

Martin
Martin (@guest_817313)
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul

C2 is heavy if add on armour is fitted , and under powered for such a weight. its 1200 hp. Where as to L2? MIA2sep4 etc are 1500 hp, its gun although good is no as good as 55cal 120mm Smooth Bore. And its ammo stopped being made a while ago. Its under hull armour is thin and its drivers position is weak spot as is the hull front.
Great tank 25 years ago but not now.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817384)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

CH3 will have a 1500hp engine as well as armour enhancements

Martin
Martin (@guest_817386)
11 days ago

I know same MTU engine as L2, replacing the Perkins/condor 1200 hp engine. And blast attuation seats, Throphy APS,

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817392)
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

The Engine in the CR3 will not be changing to an MTU unit – no one has suggested this, the original CR2 Engine will just have some ‘tweaks’.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_817409)
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Correct, it’s being converted to a common rail diesel, plus new turbos etc. Should pump up the horsepower to a reliable 1400hp. I would expect it could go further, but would start shortening the life of components.

pete
pete (@guest_817887)
9 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

No common rail , Cat developed a system but not used .The 9A has bigger turbos and radiators.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_818536)
7 days ago
Reply to  pete

Well every bit of info I can find on the inter web says the 9A is a common rail engine capable of between 1200-1500 bhp and is the engine going into CR3

pete
pete (@guest_818655)
6 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Would require fuel water separator as fitted to T2 and fuel return heat exchanger to prevent condensation. Does have funky new induction IMH so great clouds of black smoke on cold starts below 5 degrees should be thing of past and B bank starter will now be easy job. The exhaust location is problematic as fuel balances under the exhaust housing so cold fuel meeting this causes condensation which encourages bacterial growth. Both water and dirt are bad for common rail due to high pressures and small tolerances.

Last edited 6 days ago by pete
Martin
Martin (@guest_818747)
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

you are right i was wrong,

pete
pete (@guest_818991)
6 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Common rail would be folly as bacteria eats the fuel sponges and fuel bags and would corrode pump and injectors causing poor reliability. One useful mod would be lengthening and re-routing APU fuel hoses away from its exhaust . If when replaced they are not carefully clipped or slight twist produced when tightening its a fire hazard.

Jim
Jim (@guest_817308)
11 days ago

Might be useful if you run through just how many leopard 2 tanks have been knocked out in combat compared to challenger then go back and tell us why leopard 2 is better. Maybe some analysis like we might expect in a defence journal rather than just opinion like we might expect in the daily mail.

Martin
Martin (@guest_817364)
11 days ago
Reply to  Jim

More were used, more were supplied, C2 in its day best there was, not now its not kept up with things. Not saying L2 is better its gun is and its faster thats about it

Pmichael
Pmichael (@guest_817699)
10 days ago
Reply to  Jim

One is actually used in frontline units.

Louis G
Louis G (@guest_818149)
8 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Chally 2 is there in miniscule numbers and has seen limited combat. Realistically, the greatest impact sending them has had is breaking the taboo of sending western tanks to Ukraine. The M1 and L2 and just better tanks for Ukraine, they have much better supply lines and support facilities, as well as being more capable on difficult terrain.

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_817311)
11 days ago

He’s right. Despite not being primarily a land based power 148 is clearly not enough. I would take £1bn a year from the foreign aid budget and get a tank production line going for Ukraine. The MoD can then place orders without having to pay for the capital investment.

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner (@guest_817333)
11 days ago

I am astounded that they are not upgrading the power pack, penny pinching at its worst.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817385)
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

AFAIK the CH3 engine will be upgraded to 1500hp

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817393)
11 days ago

It won’t be.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_817638)
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

I am just quoting I have read from the many available online specs. Nobody said a new engine would be used , so I assume that the original engines will be modified

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817673)
10 days ago

The existing Perkins Condor Engine of the CR2 will undergo some modifications and enhancements,DaveyB describes best what these will be,but to get to 1500 BHP is very unlikely given budget limitations ( see reply by Grinch ) also any usable power is measured in Torque which is another rabbit hole altogether.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_817700)
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Designing a tank power pack requires a great deal of skill, experience & money. Because of the severe constraints imposed on power packs, increasing power is very difficult because of the knock on effects on such things as cooling, transmissions, gearboxes etc. Let alone the problems packing the changes within the current envelope. Unless, of course, such increases were forecast and including within design margins. It would probably be easier/cheaper to entirely replace the Challenger power pack with the MTU/Renk Europack. I believe that was a feature of the export versions of Cr2. As in the version that was unfortunately… Read more »

pete
pete (@guest_817889)
9 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

American Alison transmission would be better as it is designed for Abrams which is heavier with add on armor .

pete
pete (@guest_817888)
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

What would the point of bigger turbos and radiators be then ?

Lord Baddlesmere
Lord Baddlesmere (@guest_818120)
8 days ago
Reply to  pete

Make it more obvious to IR cameras?

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817394)
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

The CR2-3 power pack will see some enhancements, that is all.

Peter
Peter (@guest_817336)
11 days ago

As a fan of 1980’s sci-fi I’m disappointed we haven’t got hover tanks with plasma cannons by now.
What’s the hold-up?

dp
dp (@guest_817464)
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter

This requires a compact 3rd generation fusion reactor. Unfortunately, 1st generation city-block size reactors are still always 50 years in the future…. More seriously, the latest remote weapon stations coupled with best fire control systems are allowing very good accuracy, so the Hammers Slammers idea of tanks providing their own missile and air defense is getting more feasible. The solution to drone attacks may be an AI-enabled top remote weapon station with a HMG or light autocannon or (possibly in more distant future) a laser. Of course, that adds weight, but so does other active defense, and it does have… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by dp
Davy H
Davy H (@guest_817703)
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter

Don’t worry. Just as the epic clash between the Monitor and the Merrimac (CSS Virginia) rendered all wooden warships obsolete, hover tanks and plasma guns will be invented on the day after the last vehicle in the Ajax programme enters service. 😀

Dern
Dern (@guest_818017)
9 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

Side note: As great of a US PR line that story about Monitor and Merrimac “making every other ship obsolete” was, the Royal Navy had had an armoured Warship for over a year at that point, and unlike, especially, Monitor; the RN version was seagoing. (There’s a reason you can only see the first US Ironclad’s turret these days while you can have a gentle stroll along the decks of the Royal Navy’s first Ironclad, and enemy action is not that reason).

Last edited 9 days ago by Dern
klonkie
klonkie (@guest_818082)
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

you are referring to HMS Warrior, yep?

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_818088)
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, I know. I’ve been fortunate to see both the turret of the Monitor (and other artefacts) in the Maritime Museum at Newport News and stepped aboard HMS Warrior in Portsmouth. Both wonderful experiences. And let’s not forget France’s La Gloire, launched a year before the Warrior. I could be wrong but I think the 2 American ships, however, were the first ironclads to demonstrate to the world’s navies how devastatingly effective this new type of warship was in combat, particularly against wooden ships.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_817342)
11 days ago

It’s not surprising the author has a downer on Challenger!he is of the opion that we should have got leopard from the get go! It’s not a “ nearly new” tank the hull has been completely refurbished to new condition and a new turret,isn’t the engine now unrated to 1500 bhp? He mentions Abrams and Leo’s getting upgraded while omitting the fact these upgrades in some cases are on hulls older than CR2🙄

NoPoet
NoPoet (@guest_817367)
11 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Are you suggesting that a refurbished tank can be sold as new? Because you can’t do this with other refurbished items. Apologies if I read you wrong, my brain isn’t what it once was!

Last edited 11 days ago by NoPoet
Jacko
Jacko (@guest_817374)
11 days ago
Reply to  NoPoet

Dunno I’m not in the market for a tank👍

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_817379)
11 days ago
Reply to  NoPoet

Just had a google Australias ‘new’ M1A2 are being re manufactured from M1A1 hulls so I suppose you can😉

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817460)
10 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Believe CR3 will be a significant improvement over CR2. May have been the case that during contract negotiations MoD revealed the budget and required number and relied on RBSL to make the appropriate design trades w/in the budget. Really don’t find significant fault w/ refurbished/upgraded MBTs, especially as an interim measure (US is similarly upgrading M1A1 to latest M1A2 config at a deliberate pace). Do believe that it is unfortunate that funding was not available to upgrade all remaining operational hulls. Perhaps MoD will partner w/ a successful consortium for the development of a next generation MBT. 🤔🤞

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_817509)
10 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

👍

Oliver Gilkes
Oliver Gilkes (@guest_817355)
11 days ago

Barely 150 tanks is indeed pathetic. But even more so is the dreadful state of triple A systems. With the lessons of Ukraine we might bemoan the lack of artillery systems and logistics even more. Hard decisions are required. We need an army, small efficient and solid. But I would suggest a larger airforce and more robust navy are even more importsnt for the UK. Only in the last century has Britain gone down the road of mass field armies (as opposed to garrisons). There is no reason we have to continue along that path.

Sonik
Sonik (@guest_818734)
6 days ago
Reply to  Oliver Gilkes

I agree, we have many conflicting priorities, so the key is to maintain skills base and operating model.

In a crisis, it’s much easier to add mass to an existing base, than it is to regenerate an entire capability from scratch. Although 150 seems a paltry number, I suspect that maintaining a minimum base is the logic behind CR3.

Given that we are an island nation, and the future of the tank itself is subject to much debate, it’s not an unreasonable strategy at this point IMO.

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_817357)
11 days ago

If extra money could be found, I would increase C3 numbers from 148 to 200. Probably all the hulls we have got left. Also 50-70 medium tanks in the 30-40 ton range that can go places 60+ ton tanks can’t. The new US Booker is an off the shelf purchase based on Ajax family hull. Finally, the Austrians/Germans are buying Boxer with 30mm gun & light SAMs for short range air defence. The British Army needs some of them too.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_817630)
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

There’s zero commonality between Booker & Ajax

pete
pete (@guest_817890)
9 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

You don’t change the suspension to more expensive Hydro-pneumatic unless you have a problem.

Dern
Dern (@guest_818018)
9 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

Not exactly. You probably will struggle to take parts off a Booker and put them on Ajax, however they are both very much based off of the ASCOD family of vehicles.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_818183)
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

So not true

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_818637)
7 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

Not what I was saying. You would not take off bits from one to put on the other. Those who maintain one, should not find the other too great a leap to look after. Booker is just a repeat of British Army using 30 ton Grant/Shermans during WW2. Commonality with a major ally.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820011)
2 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Incorrect. Booker has zero to do with ASCOD.

David Owen
David Owen (@guest_817400)
11 days ago

Cheap way to build a tank ,upgrade the warriors ,take off the turret ,upgraded power plant, 30mm gau from a warthog ,a tin can shredder and used for anything, hehe cheap option 😄 😅 but a bit of food for thought and cheaper option

pete
pete (@guest_818997)
6 days ago
Reply to  David Owen

Ammo from warthog is fired in bursts of several seconds and all expended after about 17 seconds firing , suppose the warrior would have more room . Maybe Cockerill 105 turret , as experts CMI defence might have more luck than some companies.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_817405)
11 days ago

I’m not convinced that the switch to a smoothbore cannon, requiring a new turret and reducing ammunition capacity, was the best use of the budget available for upgrading a tank that will only last until the mid 2030s. The Rheinmetall cannon is marginally more effective in penetrating armour up to @ 2000 metres( a combination of higher muzzle velocity and longer penetrator). But it is less accurate at longer range and less effective when using HE rounds. We could instead have refurbished more units along the lines of BAEs Black Knight proposal. This could have provided a perfectly adequate tank… Read more »

dp
dp (@guest_817466)
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

For the successor, maybe they’ll end up keeping the new turrets but attaching them to a different hull… $12M vs. $50K cost for MBT vs. javelin is not quite accurate — more like $13M vs. $200K if just counting weapon and crew…. Moreover, some nordic experiments with networked light infantry with modern ATGM vs. armored units indicated the armor just bypasses most of the infantry after initial contact, so except in special cases like urban fighting you really need to add in the cost of upgrading the ATGM teams with APCs, drivers, etc. and when you’ve done that, and paid… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by dp
Peter S
Peter S (@guest_817663)
10 days ago
Reply to  dp

I was giving ballpark figures just to highlight the enormous cost of a new MBT relative to what can destroy it. The round cost of Javelin was what we paid for an order of @ 9000. Your comment on Nordic exercises is interesting- do you have a source? I take your point on the cost of a vehicle to carry the PGM. I did note that anything less well armoured than an MBT is hopelessly vulnerable. Perhaps a light, unarmoured vehicle to carry the ATGMs and relying on high mobility and lower observability would do better? It’s curious that warships… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_817789)
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

A Panzerfaust for a pittance could take out a Sherman with ease at 100m. Its always been the same except with Flak 88’s at 1500m with Crusaders which cost a comparable amount .I hope that helps.

Dern
Dern (@guest_818019)
9 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

^This.
Always also worth food for thought: If you have 100 tanks then every enemy infantry unit has to carry AT weapons with them. That doesn’t just have a financial cost; ask any infantry soldier who has had to carry the AT system with them how easy it is, and whether they’d be more effective at their job of fighting infantry if they didn’t have to carry a 12 kilo pipe everywhere with them.

dp
dp (@guest_818067)
8 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

Yeah. Of course, a 7.62mm bullet can take out an infantry man for $0.40, which is cheaper than an anti-tank weapon.

It’s always combined arms…

dp
dp (@guest_818066)
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

It’s certainly is an issue and the “tank to munition cost” is real. I think it was a finnish exercise in 2013 in which dismounted recon troops (or Jaeger) were supposed to slow down a simulated Russian mechanized attack by using anti-tank weapons and calling down fire from artillery, etc. The conclusions were similar to your suggestion: they needed more mobility as otherwise the enemy punched through. Of course, that was 10 years ago, so a more more modern force with drones, guided rockets, etc. would probably do better. I am not certain of the source as I read a… Read more »

Rob C
Rob C (@guest_819351)
5 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

@Peter S; it’s a small point but the USN has started designing in small amounts of ‘armour’ including kevlar into the latest Arleigh Burke destroyers. I think I read that it adds about 90 tons to the top weight which given how much more a destroyer weighs in comparison to a MBT, doesn’t sound like much armour, at all!

pete
pete (@guest_818998)
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Perhaps rocket assisted technology could have been developed from XM 1113 project to keep rifled barrel.

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_817429)
11 days ago

The unpalatable fact is that everything is so hideously expensive that we really need to start spending less of our limited defence budget on “Rolls Royces” (or the latest ‘shiny’ model of something) and focus on less expensive items that can do the job just as well. It’s no use quoting how many tanks we had in WW2 or at the height of the Cold War when the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania were all part of the Warsaw Pact. The reality today is that East Germany no longer exists and Poland and the others are… Read more »

Marked
Marked (@guest_817448)
10 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

Errrmm,we won’t have IFVs when warrior is retired. So far boxer is just a battle taxi with a pea shooter on its roof. A fat drone target too since it has no anti drone system.

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_817472)
10 days ago
Reply to  Marked

And that’s another issue, specific to the British Army. Nevertheless, it doesn’t negate the premise that modern armies may not need numbers of expensive MBTs in the same numbers as previous eras when IFVs are currently evolving into more capable instruments of war. So, in the context of the British Army, how is allocating money upgrading the very limited number of remaining Chally 2s going to solve the issue you raised?

Marked
Marked (@guest_817483)
10 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

It isn’t but there’s a bigger problem at the root of this.

The British army seem to have a) forgotten everything it ever learned about armoured warfare and b) is not looking at how to counter the threats of today, never mind the threats of tomorrow.

Its a mess from top to bottom, though undoubtedly the mess starts at the top and runs downwards…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818305)
7 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

You think a 25-30mm IFV cannon can do what a 120mm tank cannon can?

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_818393)
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

When did I say that? Do you always use a sledgehammer to crack a peanut? Everyone knows 120mm is very effective, particularly against other MBTs, but there are many situations in the infantry support role that do not require such large calibre ordnance, particularly with the availability of the likes of programmable ammo that can punch through walls before exploding inside, etc. Remember, I said, “modern armies may not need numbers of expensive MBTs in the same numbers as previous eras” – I didn’t say they don’t need them at all. I also drew attention to higher calibre armaments being… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818563)
7 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

Ahhh, OK. Tanks and Infantry provide mutual support. Tanks are focussing on engaging heavy armour and strongpoints. AI/Mech Inf are engaging enemy infantry (whether mounted or dismounted), clearing enemy AT teams, and targetting medium and light armour. It would be a rare and strange situation for an MBT to waste 120mm rounds on peanut targets, when the Infantry should be doing that. I hadn’t spotted that you were talking about very large calibre IFV cannons (eg 50mm). My reference to 25-30mm was of course to cover the vast majority of IFVs in service today, those recently fielded (ie Puma) and… Read more »

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_818673)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

A 50mm calibre (Bushmaster Chain Gun) is slated for The U.S. replacement for the Bradley. Great weapon that it is, I’m not sure why the 30mm was chosen for the Puma (perhaps subsequent improvements to ammo or space issues in the unmanned turret?), particularly when my understanding that one of the reasons for the U.S. looking at larger calibres is the perceived upgrade in armour of new generation Russian IFVs, where it was reckoned that a minimum of 35mm calibre was preferable to defeat these. I even read recently that Sweden’s next version (Mk.V) of the CV90 may select a… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818892)
6 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

Thanks. I could the US rowing back from the 50mm at least due to the reduced ammunition load-out compared to 30/35/40mm option.

We shall certainly see a reduced number of MBTs in our future armoured force, but its not down to fielding ever more capable IFVs with more firepower. MoD has decided to scrap IFVs and drastically reduce the Infantry’s firepower!

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_817481)
10 days ago

A couple of points: Firstly the upgrade package was finalized before the full extent of what was seen and the lessons learned from the Ukraine War, meant for heavy armour. Where the final design had settled on better optics and thermals, newer composite armour and the redesigned turret for the smoothbore gun and its one piece ammunition. However, due to how well Trophy performed against unguided RPGs and ATGMs for the Israeli Merkavas. Fitting Trophy to Chally seemed a logical upgrade path. On a separate tack. There is also the Heavy Armour Automotive Improvement Program (HAAIP) This is a precursor… Read more »

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_817639)
10 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

You are incorrect on the horsepower increases. Such increases would require wholesale changes to the drive train which is not happening now. There’s a faint chance it will in a future program. However the current HAAIP will not increase HP.

ed
ed (@guest_818080)
8 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

I don’t know much about automotive transmissions. When you install an engine with greater horsepower, do you have to replace the transmission as well, or is transmission more tied to other factors?

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_818236)
8 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

Straight from the horses mouth, HAAIP will increase power over the current value. The main gearbox and differentials do not need upgrading as they were originally design for a 1500hp power plant with a 15% overload margin. Which means they could take up to 1725hp before failing. However, the final drives and suspension arms take a battering when the TES is fitted, hence they are being upgraded.

pete
pete (@guest_818663)
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

TN 54 has clutch packs and epicyclic gears not differentials , although designed to take 1500 hp they are all part worn and been repaired .

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819618)
3 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

Do you have an idea as to how much the bhp is increased by for HAAIP on CR3?

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820013)
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Zero. DaveyB is pushing nonsense.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820012)
2 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

Your horse is misinformed, there will be no increase in hp for Cr3.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_818539)
7 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

Even the very latest info on CR3 has the Perkins CV12-9A as the engine! A common rail capable of 1500 hp rating.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820015)
2 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Cr3 is not getting any HP increase. HAAIP is to improve reliability at the higher weight.

It’s mainly the current cooling system that’s preventing any power increase.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_820041)
2 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

well Perkins,RBSL are telling us fibs then! ALL spec data show the 9A not the 6A is the engine with an improved cooling system so if you have definite info perhaps you could share it.

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820240)
1 day ago
Reply to  Jacko

Please share any official announcement that the Cr3 will have increased HP.

I’ll be waiting.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_820248)
1 day ago
Reply to  Grinch

Please share any spec info that doesn’t show that 9A is not being used?
It’s really not that hard just google what engine is CR3 having and its there in black and white.
ill be waiting👍

Last edited 1 day ago by Jacko
Jacko
Jacko (@guest_820259)
1 day ago
Reply to  Grinch

PS even Rhienmettal have under the mobility section have.
3rd generation hydro gas suspension,
upgraded engine with improved cooling,
through life costs reduced

Grinch
Grinch (@guest_820454)
7 hours ago
Reply to  Jacko

Still struggling to find an official statement that says the Cr3 will have 1500hp?

Let me help you out:

Written Parliamentary question, 11 March 2024

John Healey (Shadeow Defence Minister):

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what Brake horsepower will the Challenger 3 engine be capable of outputting.

James Cartlidge (MoD Equipment):

Challenger 3 will have the Caterpillar CV12 9A engine which produces 1200hp.

Bye bye.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_820478)
6 hours ago
Reply to  Grinch

Read the engine specs it can be rated to 1500🙄

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_817704)
10 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hello DB. I know you like random blue sky defence thoughts, so here goes, very O/T: What is the feasibility of a high speed Spear variant? I’ve been looking recently at FC/ASW and the two variants, and think a similar combination could apply at the smaller scale, with adaptations to the Spear design: Replace the small loitering turbojet with a more powerful afterburning type or a Meteor-style ramjet, for increased thrust. Replace the large fold-out glide wings with slide-out strakes, similar to the supersonic FC/ASW, for reduced drag. Add a more aerodynamic nosecone than the current semi spherical radome. With… Read more »

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_818244)
8 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

I do know that the RAF are looking at a more reactive missile for ground attack. From what I can tell, this is for those pop-up targets that need a fast response to eliminate. Spear-3 is more for known targets. Brimstone does have this capability, but is relatively short ranged. To me there are two obvious off the shelf choices, ASRAAM and Meteor. Both missiles have a greater than Mach 3 performance and carry a 10kg fragmentary high explosive warhead. However, they would need further modifications for ground attack. Of the two I would say ASRAAM would be easier to… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by DaveyB.
SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_818250)
8 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

If you put strakes on ASRAAM, as they have done with CAMM (turn CAMM-ER back into air launch?), how much extra range would that give you? Tied with adapting the seeker to be an AGM, that effectively gives you what I was describing. Isn’t Meteor a bit expensive for an ARM? It costs around £2m, while even the US’ new AARGM-ER, as far as I can tell, only costs a little more than a million. The range is more for AARGM as well, because it is a larger missile that also uses a ramjet motor. As ever thank you for… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818308)
7 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I liked all the maintenance points. The other thing about torsion bar suspension (Leo2, M1 Abrams) is that it produces an inferior ride to hydro-pneiumatic/hydrogas – one reason why the supposedly ‘underpowered’ CR2 can motor at the same cross-country speed as those two.

After the conversion of 148 CR2s to CR3s – you ask what will happen with the remaining CR2s, which of course will be in a variety of conditions. Same as always. Equipment declared Obsolete is gifted (to Ukraine, museums, to units as gate guards) or sold. The very last resort (very rare) is to scrap them.

Ian Walton
Ian Walton (@guest_817490)
10 days ago

At the moment the tank isn’t redundant, in the context of the war in Ukraine I’d say far from it. British thinking in producing a very heavily armed & therefore slow tank doesn’t translate to a good tank in conditions that Asia throws up but they would stand like rocks in a storm against a Russian offensive against Europe.

Micki
Micki (@guest_817571)
10 days ago
Reply to  Ian Walton

What Russian ofensive against Europe ?, they,re not able to win a war just a few kilometres from the border.
So Russia is very powerful or It,s a disaster , option 1 or 2 ?
European and British press they don’t clear up at once.
Russian propaganda is a joke but the euro-British one is similar.

Last edited 10 days ago by Micki
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818311)
7 days ago
Reply to  Ian Walton

I am sure some people thought the tank was redundant in 1916 when the first anti-tank rifle was fielded by the Germans, or in the early 1940s when the bazooka was first fielded or in 1959 when the first ATGW was fielded.

The attack drone is just the latest anti-tank weapon – counters are being devised for it.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_817497)
10 days ago

With all the extra defence monies surely they can fund the extra 100+ APS sets and some counter drone gun mounts on the turret? Just common sense isn’t it? Isn’t Ukraine showing loud and clear what’s needed?

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_817733)
10 days ago

900 Challenger 3s for The British Army please ,and up the number of soldiers to 150,000 .No not happening , for me this is what we need I know hardly anyone will agree with me even though we have war in Europe.At least when we had these numbers we we’re Respected ,and no one really wanted to mess with us.Sorry Guys just my opinion 🇬🇧

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_817911)
9 days ago

I am just so fed up with the argument about the CR3, we will have 148 and that’s it. So unless HMG finds an extra Billion to convert as many of rest of the CR2 we have 2 Armoured regiments. What I find way more baffling is the lack of AD for what we do have, it’s as if no one is watching what is happening in Ukraine. Without adequate AD for the Army, what ever we send is just going to get obliterated. As I understand it we have bought 10 Sky Sabre Battery’s, units or whatever else we… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_818208)
8 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

GBAD went years ago mate, way back 1998-2004 time frame. 4 Regular and 3 Reserve regiments, plus the 4 AD Sqns of the RAF Regiment, reduced to 2 and 1. 16 RA consists/consisted of 4 Fire Batteries. Each is made up of 2 Fire Groups, each FG has 2 or 3 Launchers and a Radar. 1 Battery takes the FI and Poland deployment, 1 FG assigned to each. It is a murky area just how many systems we bought, I’m still not sure. The Regiment provides area defence in the rear areas of the Field Army. Then you have 12… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819619)
3 days ago

Wiki: “106th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, HQ in Grove Park, Lewisham (Army Reserve air defence, equipped with Lightweight Multiple Launcher Starstreak and formerly with Self Propelled HVM Stormer) — paired with 12 and 16 Regiments RA”

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_817982)
9 days ago

Why isnt anyone discussing a new hull maybe made in partnership with Poland and S. Korea?
At the same time maybe we could build a lightweight version with a commonality of parts.
If combat becomes necessary in the South I dont think a 60t or 70t monster is going to be viable.
Bump up to 200 CH3’s and then 300 CH4LW’s with an emphasis on electronic defence.
The person who ordered the destruction of so many CH2’s should be identified.
Who was it?

pete
pete (@guest_819000)
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

David Cameron , also emboldened Putin by pulling back troops from Germany !

Finney
Finney (@guest_818050)
9 days ago

CH2 didn’t sell because the late 90’s/early 00’s was the worst time to try and sell new tanks, as their were reduced requirements and loads of cheap Leo1 and Leo2 available 2nd hand. Upgrading 148 does feel a bit pointless though as I can’t see the Germans or French or pretty much anyone else buying our new turret. Think it would have been braver to do some limited obsolescence management and a limited engine upgrade, and then build some really good heavy AFVs/APCs or something with a market that isn’t sewn up by the USA/Germany/France already.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818313)
7 days ago
Reply to  Finney

Why is it pointless to upgrade equipment that is well overdue an upgrade?
I of course agree that 148 is too small a figure, by a long way.

Ex_Service
Ex_Service (@guest_818128)
8 days ago

There is always a counter system for any weapon system created, that is simply the evolution of any battle space, so arguments about the demise of the usefulness of the MBT are ignorant of the tactical and strategic value of them. At the end of the day, should HMG not be properly advised, nor invest correctly, it simply means the UK will have to accept greater losses until a war economy (led by the surviving military leaders…not the politicians who know nothing about service to their country) can be stood up…hopefully before the UK has to sue for peace and… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_818133)
8 days ago

148 tanks…but people always want more… A few questions. Some will undoubtably be sat in Estonia etc. Fine. Thats where they are best placed for use. How many will be sat in the UK and where? If in the worst case they are needed 1500 miles away in the east(Poland /Ukr) then how will they get there? Rail moves? Tank Transporters? Do we have enough capability to move 148 tanks let alone the hundreds more that people want? You also need to shift the logs supply train to support them and all that encompasses. RA, Signals, RE, REME, RLC, Mech… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_818205)
8 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

“it is spookily enough a bit more complex than just shouting “We want more Tanks! We want them now!”.” Exactly, I wonder how many don’t actually realise that the CS CSS even exist. Yes, Marchwood Military Port is the SMC. A rail link is at Tidworth but as you say not good for MBTs. We talked of this a few months ago, it has been retained and maintained so assume B vehicles and lighter armoured types could move via rail. Rest on HETs, which we do not have enough of, with only 19 TT Sqn remaining. They also use “Sponsored… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_818265)
7 days ago

is the rail link from Ludgershall to Marchwood not any good for tanks ? nothing seems to changed as such with it. the 2010 decision to withdraw from Germany and do away with the transport units at the same time seems crazy now

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_818267)
7 days ago
Reply to  Simon

It’s the clearances on Network Rail lines I think.
I’m pleased the line is still there, though most of the yard network has gone with the closure of the Ludgershall site.

The niche, specialist railway units were such a small saving in the wider scheme of things.
Those, the JNBC Reg, the Bay, and Fort George. All utterly demented.

Simon
Simon (@guest_818292)
7 days ago

there was some sort of issue with clearance at Castlemartin as well. The story goes it was sort of ignore, until someone loaded an armoured vehicle a little more off centre then usually and it hit something!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_818346)
7 days ago
Reply to  Simon

There is a rail link to Castlemartin?
Interesting.

Simon
Simon (@guest_818353)
7 days ago

Sorry, it goes to Pembroke Dock Station were there is a ramp at the end of the one station platform. However it seems now they go to Havodford West station were there is a Network Rail/MOD goods yard next to the station. thats quite a bit further away from Castlemartin then Pembroke dock which must mean a track issue and it has been mentioned about a tunnel on the line to Pembroke dock have clearance issue for large passenger trains, so may bit is that

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_818328)
7 days ago

507 STRE have an excellent hell site account. On my followed list.
Always lots of well I never knew that and why didn’t i think of that.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818314)
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

We have some tanks in Estonia and some in storage in Germany. Sure, if the balloon went up we would need a lot of tanks to deploy from the UK to the Continent. We cracked this nut in 1916 – we designed the tank for warfare on the Continent. We have had over 100 years experience of deploying tanks (and other AFVs) strategically to France, Korea, the Gulf, Suez, the Balkans etc etc.. What would we use? As you say, they would not do a 1500 mile road march. You have given all the answers/options, but I would add STUFT.… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_818329)
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Bombed up vehicles in any road tunnels get people twitching. The restrictions on routes you can take are laid down in JSP covering movements of haz materials if I remember correctly.

STUFT we can still do. Some Fast Cats would manage it. But with large numbers of vessels going via the Baltic route to get to Poland you then start adding in CAP, MCM, SAG and ASW to the mix…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818383)
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

There is a JSP covering movement of HAZMAT in poeacetime. I think a lot of peacetime rules would be waived in wartime.

I agree there is a need to protect sealift in wartime – I don’t doubt that we could do it.

Sonik
Sonik (@guest_818735)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

TUFT can also include HETs, and their drivers if needed. There are plenty of suitable vehicles in use by industry for moving construction and mining equipment.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818893)
6 days ago
Reply to  Sonik

Yes. Many of our tanks do non-exercise/non-operational moves on hired civvy HETs, notwithstanding the existence MoD HETs (MoD 2023 equipment spreadsheet shows holding of 182, which sounds too high).

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_818136)
8 days ago

I think he is wrong about the power pack. It will not be the same one as the Challenger 2. It is an upgraded version with improved thermal management and fuel injection. It will be at least 1500 bhp if not 1600. This is the same if not better then M1 and Leopard. This power pack will be linked to an improved transmission, and a advanced 3rd generation hydrogas suspension. I would not rush to get on the Leopard bandwagon… it has not proved noticeably better in Ukraine than Challenger or M1. I would see CH3 as a stopgap until… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_818203)
8 days ago

Funny how certain countries like the USA, Germany and France etc., always seem to benefit financially from war, and the UK is always the poor relation. I think there is an opportunity here for the UK to reverse decades of de- industrialization by re-kindling it’s heavy armoured vehicle design and manufacturing capability. By learning the lessons from Ukraine, looking at emerging technologies, and using the what industrial base remains, the UK could come up quickly with a low-cost, KISS world beating MBT (CH4?). e.g. Have a chat with JCB for starters. The rapidly deteriorating world security situation, and the unreliableness… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_818348)
7 days ago

While everyone bangs on about to small numbers unfortunately this is all the army is capable of operating in its current set up. To increase numbers would require restructuring and increasing numbers of other kit. Looking forward all the old kit is going so the force is going to be CH3, Ajax versions, boxer, some artillery and M270. A little over 2000 vehicles. With 72,000 troops that’s about the best that can be put together. Personally I think 100,000 is a decent size for the army and another 100k spilt between Navy, RAF, cyber etc. that allows more kit to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818670)
6 days ago

The 447 figure includes the 22 Driver Training Tanks.

I don’t agree that the usefulness of an equipment is partly predicated on its export sales performance – at the time that CR2 was being manufactured (1993-2002), few countries were in the market for a sophisticated western tank. US were building M1 from 1978 and Germany was building Leo 2 from 1979 – so they stole a march on us for exports. Besides we had a very strict security position on its Special Armour.

‘The tank’s performance in UK service has been acceptable’- talk about damning with faint praise!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_818843)
6 days ago

Come on HMG we need 200+ of these vehicles not 148 and they ALL need to be fitted with the trophy APS, not just 60 or so vehicles. Time to get real please.

Andrew H
Andrew H (@guest_819161)
5 days ago

why not just buy c300-400 of the German or US tanks, taxpayers money so badly spent on these disastrous domestic procurement projects…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819610)
3 days ago
Reply to  Andrew H

CR3 will be very good – why do you think otherwise?

Programme is ahead of schedule, two quality companies involved – so hardly disastrous.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820090)
2 days ago
Reply to  Andrew H

Can you buy 300-400 of the very latest M1s or Leo2s plus Initial Spares Pack, STTE, driving and gunnery simulators, other training aids, publications etc etc. for the same money as we are spendng on the CR3 project – £800m. I doubt it.

CR3 is so far not looking at all disastrous as a project. It is well ahead of schedule – and no hiccups have been reported.

Francis Cook
Francis Cook (@guest_819185)
5 days ago

1) It is fairly asinine to simplify “usefulness” of a tank to its exportability for a number of reasons. I note a some here: a) Tanks are meant to fit the tank warfare doctrine of the user and the UK, unlike Germany and the USA, who value mobility first, has a different balance, valuing protection over mobility, for example. Unless a nation has the same priorities then it will likely not select your tank. I note that several Abrahams were lost in the Gulf war to enemy action but no Challengers. I personally see the Leopard as too vulnerable and… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_819536)
4 days ago
Reply to  Francis Cook

Yes all good points. I note that quite a few leopards, including A6 have been knocked out in Ukraine along with a few M1s. Only one Challenger has beeb knocked out but the crew got out. It looks like it was immobilised by a mine and then abandoned by the crew. It probably had the hatches open and was then attacked by a drone. If it had been a British CH2 it would have had a TES with extra armour and supported by other tanks and infantry. It probably would not have been knocked out it it was a British… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_819602)
4 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

I suppose it depends how many of each of the tanks were actually sent and utlised at the front.
We only sent 12 & It has been stated by the UKr that the CH2 is underpowered , gets stuck in the mud BUT the gun is great – they consider it a ‘sniper’ tank
Its just a shame we got rid of the ‘sniper’ gun- and kept the rest.

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_820275)
1 day ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Yes CH2 has suffered in the mud but it is not the only one… it will be ok in summer. CH3 has pore power at least 1500hp and improved transmission and suspension. So it should have enough power to tackle mud.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820342)
21 hours ago
Reply to  Rob N

Dern said it was one rookie crew that got stuck in the mud, the next CR2 tank that drove past the reporter had no trouble with their more experienced crew.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819622)
3 days ago
Reply to  Francis Cook

CR2 has very similar X-C mobility to M1 Abrams and Leo2 due to its superior hydrogas suspension, which helps offset a P/W deficit.

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_820276)
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The new one pore power and next gen hydogas…

Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan (@guest_820383)
10 hours ago

The thing people tend to forget when they talk about the obsolescence of the MBT on the modern battlefield (and the Ukrainians might disagree with you on that) is that when they state (rightly) that 148 Chally 3s is a token force and that the real power lies in massed fires, rocket artillery and armoured strike brigades etc, is that – like a credible MBT capability – we don’t have those really either. A few GMLRS and a couple of dozen Archers is not going to cut it if you are suggesting this is now the main combat firepower of… Read more »