BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall and others in the industry have expressed interest in the Challenger tank upgrade project.

As announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, Challenger 2 will form a key part of the British Army’s capability through to 2035. In order to achieve this, several key systems will need to be replaced.

BAE Systems recently announced their industry team, ‘Team Challenger 2’ is made up of seven key players in the defence industry: General Dynamics Land Systems-UK; General Dynamics Mission Systems-International; Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES Ltd); Moog, QinetiQ and Safran Electronics (formerly Sagem).

Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), said:

“We have taken an innovative approach in teaming for this bid to enable the best and most experienced partners to develop and deliver a winning solution. This approach gives us access to capabilities and facilities that will sustain Challenger 2 through life and offer a value for money solution for British taxpayers.

BAE Systems designed and built Challenger 2, we are now excited about the opportunity to use our expertise with the rest of Team Challenger 2 to update and integrate new technology to further extend the capability for the British Army.”

Lockheed Martin UK, also confirmed it was bidding:

“Given our successful involvement in the Ajax program as turret provider and Warrior capability sustainment program as prime contractor, we are in a strong position to compete for the project with a proposal that demonstrates strong UK industrial participation involving a wide-ranging supply base. We plan to announce further details of our proposal in due course.”

According to DefenseNews, surprise Belgian contender CMIDefence wilkl announce next month that it is partnering with British company Ricardo UK to bid for the Challenger 2 upgrade.

The MoD is to name the winning teams around October and select a winning submission in 2019.


    • I thought the company who can make new ammunition was a Belgian company. The ammunition was trialled in 2009 and was a success they make tungsten hesh and fin shells.

  1. Britain’s attitude to MBT’s over the last twenty years has been an odd one. The fact that the UK deployed them in the Gulf and Iraq with considerable success, didn’t change the decision to reduced the fleet to such a low level? Who in the MOD continues to convince consecutive defence ministers, that MBT’s are no longer part of the battle field scenario? I beg to guess he or she are from the moon?
    The current Challenger 2 is derided as having a good chassis but a poor gun, and point to the Leopard 2 has a much better tank all round. Shooting competitions apart, this German machine has never faced a true battlefield situation, counter to the British machine, that has shown its mettle consistently. Even American commentators have declared that if it had been equipped with Challengers in Iraq, their tank losses may have been much reduced.
    Sadly, as part of the UK’s downgrading of the MBT, we have lost the means to manufacture a replacement, which must be one of the worst post war polices. Denuding manufacturing capability, leaves the UK with no option but buy US or German machines in the event, of a major crisis. Worst still, we may not have the option of a German tank, if post Brexit cools the apatite to supply to the UK, regardless of NATO membership. That leaves the US or possibly a Japanese manufacture, as the only suppliers? The new European tank to be jointly produced by Germany and France, would make sense for British partisipation, but again, post Brexit attitudes may forbid this option?
    The upgraded Challenger makes sense however, and sadly, the fleet wont be 300 or so, but most likely no more than 125 machines. That begs the question, is it worth bothering?
    The UK did not build enough Challenger 2’s, and that crass decision means we will have to go looking with a begging bowl to other counties for its replacement, if an emergency conflict demands it.


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