Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) has been awarded a contract to upgrade 148 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks to ‘Challenger 3’ standard as part of a £800m contract.

The upgraded vehicle, to be called Challenger 3, will be a “network-enabled, digital Main Battle Tank with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities”, say RBSL.

Image via RBSL.

450 jobs will be created and sustained within the UK supply chain, and a further 200 jobs will be created and sustained within RBSL, including 130 engineers and 70 technicians. RBSL will also provide work and training opportunities to 60 apprentices over the next five years.

The work will be led out of RBSL’s Telford manufacturing facility with engineering support from Heavy Armour specialists based at Telford and other RBSL sites in Washington (North East) and Bristol.

The programme will commence in 2021, with an expected in-service date of 2027.

RBSL also say that the Challenger 3 contract will facilitate the UK staying at “the forefront of Armoured Fighting Vehicle development” and will provide the UK with the opportunity to explore new technologies for integration in future capabilities.

Image via RBSL.

The programme, say the builders, protects the UK’s national skill base in both defence and engineering sectors, and could enable exports worldwide.

John Abunassar, RBSL Board Chairman, said:

“What a moment for RBSL, for our Armed Forces, and for UK prosperity.  We are delighted to make this announcement and solidify the return of armoured vehicle engineering to the UK.  This announcement comes after years of hard work and collaboration with our customer, especially in the recent extraordinary circumstances brought about by COVID-19. The British Army will receive a world-class capability.  RBSL, Vickers Defence Systems at the time, handed over the first Challenger 2s to the British Army over 25 years ago, and it is a great deal of pride for our engineers to take this next step together too.”

Challenger 3 tech specs

RBSL say…

  • The new vehicle will be equipped with the latest 120mm High Pressure L55A1 main gun, “firing the latest kinetic energy anti-tank rounds and programmable multipurpose ammunition”.
  • The gun is also complete with increased first-hit capability and the latest fire support technology.
  • The new turret structure and improved survivability systems provides the highest standard of protection for the crew.
  • The long-range commander and gunner primary sights will also be improved with automatic target detection and acquisition. This solution also provides significant growth potential in all Main Battle Tank key capability areas with the new physical, electronic, and electrical architecture.

Who are RBSL?

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) is a UK-based and independent joint venture business between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems.

RBSL was launched in July 2019, and has a long-standing relationship with the British Army. Under different business names, RBSL designed and delivered many of the Army’s existing combat vehicles, including the Challenger 2 as Vickers Defence Systems in 1994.

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john
john
1 month ago

This is the wrong choice. We should have gone for Leopard A7,

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Wrong – we need to rebuilt our armoured vehicle industry.

paul titterington
paul titterington
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

And while we are at it – why can’t we manufacture our own hand guns/assault rifles like other nations do?

The SA80 in my opinion is very poor compared to other nations rifles.

SA80 and the old British Stengun! Why do we of all nations use Meccano guns?

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

You’re 10 years out of date; the SA80 is a much improved weapon and stands up well against other examples.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

A video on ‘Forgotten Weapons’ sets out the problems and solutions very well. I was appalled to learn of the shoddy materials that were used ‘to save money’ resulting in the SA80’s reputational death. Issues so elementary should never been tolerated.

Last edited 1 month ago by Barry Larking
Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

And let’s remember the M16 was also very unreliable when issued in Vietnam. The A2 for the sa80 improved it massively. It’s now decent

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

The A3 even better.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Yeah i imagine so. Good to hear

paul titterington
paul titterington
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Unfortunately, this is why the other nations/soldiers still don’t trust this weapon because of the constant need to improve it.

Even the A3 will never be bought by other nations – other than the UK Mod – because of its early failings. 1st impressions and all that.

Besides, even improved it still always looks ugly and “blue peter-ish”

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

It’s not available for sale Paul, the A3 is a rebuild of the existing stock.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago

The A3 is an excellent rifle. It looks good, for what that is worth.

paul titterington
paul titterington
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I beg to differ!

And the worlds military experts also differ with your admiration for this gun.

Do you ever see these guns in the collections of Gun owners throughout the world? Do you see any of these guns in museums? Boy! Even the poorest of nations military are better armed than the UK when it comes to their assault rifle.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

I’ll admit i have never Fired an SA80 but have handled it on occasion – to me it Screamed ‘Heath Robinson’,especially compared to the L1A1 that proceeded it.Bullpups by Nature are hard to Beautify but the AUG,FAMAS and Tavor win on Looks to my untrained Eyes.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Not so, its a capable and reliable weapon system (not a gun, its never been a gun, it has a rifled barrel and therefore can be called an assault rifle, or a weapon system, due to the “added extras” but gun?) which has proved itself in Afghanistan. It took a while to mature, sure, but so do many weapons.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Paul, Please provide some details as to why you do not like the L85A3. What is your experience building, using or maintaining this weapon?I fired an SA80 yesterday at Lydd Ranges.

Last edited 1 month ago by Graham Moore
Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Agreed.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Expensive paint job and rail could have bought 2 H and K assault rifles for A2, A3 mods

Taffybadger
Taffybadger
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Just heavy compared to other modern rifles

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

The whole SA80 affair is a sorry tale, started by proper designers, who retired mid design, finished by new engineers, strictly controlled by accountants….. This let to a predictable, piss poor dogs dinner of a rifle, it was a disgrace to be frank. Ergonomically it’s terrible, but that’s easily got around by training and muscle memory. Back heavy, poor trigger with a long pull ( not surprising considering the linkage) and excessive weight. The A2 was merely the rifle it should have been in the first bloody place! The A3 is a simple exercise in life extension, with a few… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

everything naturally falling to hand… except the cocking handle which is really irritating.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Agree with you on a lot of it. A think the bullpup as a concept made sense when rifle length was key but i think it kind of messed up. Weight distribution etc, no left hand firing, better off swinging it from the barrel than using the bayonet with it lol. The LSW element was ridiculous. Lo and behold the gpmg is back and should never have gone.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

The French had a bull pup. The Chinese have a bull pup.
The German rifle had alegedly overheating problems, probably over egged by the media (What a surprise) and it’s development cocked up by UVL and HK sued the German govt.

The A3 is a good rifle and sensible upgrade as we wait for the new choice of calibre.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

What has UVL got to do with the developement of the G36 ?

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

She did not have anything to develop it. She got involved in trying to scrap it when there were allegedly overheating problems. It was a scandal and HK took them to court.

My main point is that in fact all rifles have issues in development.
The A3 is a very good gun now.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Funny how SA80 lovers don’t like M4 when the A2 stole its working parts design lol

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

They told the marines they didn’t need to clean the M16 and had problems, a few mods and chrome steel barrel to increase life !

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Indeed a great pity, when designed it was at the forefront of advanced assault rifle design with various novel advances. Sadly some basic and avoidable poor quality decisions and design elements gave it a bad reputation for reliability mostly corrected by Heckler & Koch when it was owned by Bae.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Yes. It was not designed by gunsmiths. But it is now excellent.
The Germans in fact have got in a mess with their rifle, thanks to VDL.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

“UVL” … when she was defence minister. She is a joke.

paul titterington
paul titterington
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

This is why no other nation uses this rifle.

Enfield L85A1: Perhaps the Worst Modern Military Rifle

https://youtu.be/gDCRop6CRwY via @YouTube

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

The video is all about the A1 which has not existed for 20 years. A2 and A3 now, Paul.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Methinks Paul’s never used one 🙂

paul titterington
paul titterington
30 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Never had the pleasure. All my brothers, father, grandfather were/are from a military background (served )

Myself? I’m more from an outdoorsman background. Worked for NZ government re Deer and Possum control/Powis Castle wales UK. My favorite rifles are Winchester 308. and Ruger .270, Ruger 10/22 calibers.

Dern
Dern
30 days ago

I’m shocked (not actually shocked).
Maybe actually use one before you start mouthing off about it.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago

Blair gave some to Zimbabwe and Jamaica loosely described as foreign aid lol

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

It should have been 6.2 mm to have range and stopping power!

lee1
lee1
1 month ago

The SA80 issue is a long standing one. The army was asking for the M16 and at the time it could be bought for a fraction of the cost (something like a tenth) and it was already being manufactured in the UK! The SA80 has been improved and is possibly slightly more accurate than the M16 but it still pales in comparison in all other aspects and has cost a fortune!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

Well, it’s considerably more handy than an M16. Had to carry one on exercise once, it’s like carrying a musket, it’s massive and get’s caught on EVERYTHING. M4’s are much better, C8’s better still, although I find after years on the L85 that even the C8 is really “nose heavy” and I hate the AR-15 family’s cocking handle.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

M16 is like carrying a Musket Dern !?!? South Vietnamese troops who were the first non US forces to be issued with the M16 in quantity, were somewhat short in statue, shall we say and ‘slightly’ built, but they used to love the M16A1 for its manageable weight and length… The M16 is a very pointable rifle in all its variations, not excessively long or heavy whatsoever in rifle form. The M4 is certainly handy, but noticeably less accurate over 300 meters. I’ve used both on occasion and would still take an AR variant over an L85 (A2 or 3)… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Cool, I’ve carried M4, M16, C8, L85 and L86 on exercise and on the ranges, and I stand by my opinion, the M16 is massive, it’s long, it gets caught on everything, much like the crow cannon, and I would never take one over a short modern weapons system like a L85 or an M4. *edit* Yes I’m sure it was fine in Vietnam, just like the SMLE was fine compared to the full length MLE, doesn’t change the fact that in the 21st century it’s horrible. You are wrong about it being pointable, especially the M4 which has zero… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Different strokes for different folks I guess. Personally, the rear cocking M16 is far easier to operate than the ham fisted reaching over with your left hand to cock the rifle on the right. The L86 has now gone I think, haven’t seen one for a good while now. Interesting point on the M4, as I am sure you know the direction of travel is for more down range accuracy now, the USMC has adopted the M27, a modified HK416 and in my humble opinion, it’s the finest service rifle in service today. The US Army will probably eventually follow,… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’ve only had hands on the Hk416, and not had opportunity to fire or carry it for a prolonged period of time, so I’m reserving judgement until I’ve done both of those. Although I will say that the collapsable stock is a definite upgrade over the M16. (I also agree the army will probably eventually go 416). I’m not 100% sure on L86, last time I saw one was about 3 years ago in a CSS regiments armoury, I suppose they might still be floating around there, pr they’ve finally been replaced by GPMG’s by now. tbh I included it… Read more »

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

FN Scar would be my choice lol

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

A2 upgrade cost £400 per rfile. Was that so much?

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I was talking about the original purchase, not the upgrade…

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

The sten gun was a very practical, simple, useful and novel weapon for a specific purpose. Not sure what you have against it nor why you would link it to a weapon half a century younger. I seem to remember that many Americans favoured the Kalashnikov over the M1 because for all its faults at least, due to its lack of sophistication and simplicity you knew it would work.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Nothing wrong with the Sten gun, a perfectly serviceable wartime, select fire carbine.

Issues were mainly magazine related.

Farouk
Farouk
1 month ago

As Bill states, the SA80A2 is actually a good weapon, yes it took us 20 odd years to get to that stage, but it is an effective weapon, the A3 iteration is even better. Whilst the French and Germans have adopted the HK 416 as their new weapon , the fact remains the US is moving to the 6.8mm round having recognised that the current 5.56mm simply isn’t good enough. I personally feel that we should adopt said round ( ironically it isn’t that far off the .280 round the British spent a lot of time and effort knocking out… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

The M16 platform can be re-barreled to a new intermediate calibre with ease.

It could almost be done at base workshop level, if the rifles didn’t have to be re proofed.

In fact, you could even potentially * re-bore the original barrels to the new calibre.

* I would need to check the bore specifications first.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Yes. The EM2 was a good rifle in its day and was adopted for 6 months! But the 7.62 was adopted because the Americans were weded to .30″. The EM2 was built by gunsmiths, the SA80 by (good) engineers who did not know about guns.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

The Rover car company had to be brought in to sort out quality issues with metal stamped parts lol

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

SA80 was fixed by H&K 20 years ago when upgraded to the A2 standard. The A3 version is even better and most would consider it world-class. No way is this a Meccano gun, whatever that means.

Your Sten gun example is ancient too – it was designed in 1940.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Do you feel we are going to be needing tanks in vast quantities on the modern battlefield. I’m not sure we have a role defending continental Europe any more?

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

so what is our role? just lay back and relax and become Switzerland? some may argue with the fact we have carriers and nukes well its cool to have but seriously if we haven’t got a role as a super power then what’s the point? plus its not at full strength yet (21 ish aircrafts rest are American). seriously people we need to stop day dreaming build up our military and then brag! cuz at the moment some people are over the moon with the fact we have 2 carriers! not gonna be useful against future hyper sonic anti-ship systems… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Nate m
Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Show me some proven working hypersonic missles, and I mean ones that really work not magic putin models

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

More hyper sonic missile chuff…..Its doesnt seem to bother the Chinese, Russians, Indians, USA, France etc…..All use and exploit carrier ops never mind the “loight carrier” assualt ship operators. Seriously Nate you need to update yourself with knowledge and facts, not internet gossip and flannel mate..

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Swizerland’s appraoch to staying neatural was to arm to the teeth so no one would invade them, so not sure we could be switzerland.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Nate there are 400+ million EU citizens who should be defending their own back yard. We will be doing more for European security by encouraging them to do that than doing it for them. Two thirds of the worlds surface is ocean – doing our part to securing that whilst working with partners is a massive commitment and a massive aid to world peace. It is not a competition to see who is biggest and best – we win if there is peace and everyone loses if we have to resort to war.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

My thoughts exactly.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Well like it or not and as tempting as it may be to tell them to go to hell a continent invaded and occupied by an adversary would make ‘global’ Britain as attainable as returning to the British Empire. We just about survived it in a near miracle in 1940 but certainly couldn’t this time around. So vast quantities no chance, but some level of qualitative armoured support to continental defence would be more than advisable in the extreme even if continental powers should and would be expected to provide the bulk.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Oh I am not suggesting we should tell them to go to hell I am just suggesting that countries with a population of 400 million plus should provide the land forces to hold a 140 million Russians. Our role should perhaps be to supply air power and sea power and perhaps some reserves. Those defending their homeland will always fight harder they just need to equip themselves properly and then perhaps the Russians will think twice.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

You are right Mark. We got embroiled in defending Belgium and supporting Poland in the two world wars and we lost a lot of blood and treasure, forcing austerity on ourselves for years, losing an Empire and our spot as top dog in the world. We should not commit large troop numbers to Europe again as a BEF, in the event of a threat from Russia, but agree to provide SF and a couple of Brigade Combat Teams in a reserve role, if requested by NATO. Together with as much naval and air power as is available and usable.

Farouk
Farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Good point, Whilst many people bemoan the reduction in tank numbers, we have to remember that the threat of the Soviet 3rd Shock army has gone. With the threat of mass tank attacks gone, the need for an equal number to mirror them has also gone, Yes tanks will still be needed, but as we have seen for the past 20 odd years, for policing actions where the AK47, ATGMs and religious dogmas rules. Cutting their numbers and making them as survivable as possible appears to be the logical move and let’s not forget that any future policing action the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Unless the French try to take Jersey😂

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

NATO was never able to equal Soviet numbers, but rely on superior quality of men and machines and more innovative tactics. I think it unwise to categorically say that the threat of mass tank attacks has gone when we see what the threat nations of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran have in their ORBAT.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Because we left the EU? We are still in NATO, an alliance which still opposes Russia who is frequently described as NATO’s biggest threat. They have thousands of tanks.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham, the remaining EU countries have shown a desire to coordinate militarily. Personally I think that NATO rather than the EU is the proper vehicle for organising defence however we are where we are. It is better that those Countries who are closest to Russia focus on land forces and we perhaps focus more on sea and air power. That said we should always be looking for new weapons capable of taking out Russian tanks in quantity – preferably ones which can be quickly and easily deployed. The US and the UK might need to take a little bit of… Read more »

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Yes, I agree. We have very little deployed in Europe, just a BG in Estonia on tripwire or deterrent duties and an amphibious engineer squadron in Germany together with some training facilities and equipment depots. See the British Army Germany article in Wikipedia.
That is how it should be. We should be prepared to deploy SF and a couple of Brigade Combat Teams (in Reserve) if the Russian threat translates to armed action, and no more ground troops than that, plus of course air and naval forces if available and usable.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

NATOs Centre of gravity is Europe. We are a leading NATO nation so we can’t ignore Europe. You got your wish to not have tanks in vast quantities as we will only have 148 compared too the 900 Chieftains of yesteryear.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

ironic innit? we created the armoured vehicle industries yet we lack the capabilities to create heavy armour in large numbers!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

We don’t need large numbers Nate. For a young lad, you have some very old-fashioned and outdated views. But, you are passionate, I’ll give you that. 👍

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

You could argue that many a decade ago we produced such good tanks and main guns that they lasted so long in service that the lack of advanced planning, development and orders crippled the design and production capabilities, not the only example I believe which is why the long term naval building plans are so welcome. We need similar in land systems and indeed air systems too to retain capabilities though in reality for land it’s already to late for a truly British option now I reckon. I remember a long time back how it was saved in heavy armour… Read more »

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I remember the days when we had 5 AFV manufacturers – Alvis, GKN, VSEL Barrow, RO and VDS. How times change. All now under the banner of BAE Systems who for a long time preferred to shut facilities rather than make vehicles.
Still we now have the Rheinmetall/BAE JV and the American General Dynamics facilities. But not too much work for them, so they spin out the work and charge a fortune – 9 years until CR3 is at FOC! It will need an upgrade in 2030. And what will, the Out of Service date be?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Hi James, agree, but why can’t they upgrade at least 150, tongue in cheek, it’s sound better! Even 200 sounds more substantial and it is! Surely, it would be good to have some fully kitted out tanks reserve quantity just in case?

Kizzy p
Kizzy p
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Not sure its worth investing in all the infrastructure , support , retraining etc etc for just 148 tanks . At least with the challenger option there must I assume be carry over parts , supply etc . And if you keep a decent amount of chally 2 in preserved storage at least there is a fallback position given any attritional combat losses?

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Kizzy p

That is the whole point. So we will have, eventually, 2 front line armoured regiments and a training regiment. Get into any fairly serious conflict and we can’t replace a thing.

Kizzy p
Kizzy p
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

I think thats pretty much the case across most main military assets across all services for all countries . Any country that gets in an attritional war that lasts more than a couple of weeks will probably need to fall back on older tech stored assets. This is where countries like Russia ,China and N.Korea may gain an advantage if not defeated quite quickly. Assuming those assets are stored in a ready to use condition .

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

The situation will only be an exaggeration of events during both World Wars when we were junior partners relying on supporting greater presence on the ground of French forces who were expected to form the bulk of forces on land. This time it will be part of a greater European based force ourselves as a smaller constituent part. Not ideal but inevitable especially as the tank becomes a less than predictable asset than it was before. We might do better taking a greater interest in providing continental forces with specialist highly mobile anti tank anti air support on as large… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Hi Rob, with such a small why not fix up the whole 225+ in stock if all are still “road-worthy”? Does the upgrade include a new power pack and suspension?

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The bill for remanufacture got the 148 is steep at £500m. Guess the coffers ran dry to do any more.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  john

There are some interesting viewpoints in this article that suggests the purchase of 150 Leopards could make local production a commercially viable option?

And cheaper too in the long run? One for the experts to ponder.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2020/11/11/british-army-german-tanks-london-might-not-like-it-but-it-needs-to-buy-leopard-2s/

Image-2-Leopard-2-A7-Main-Battle-Tank.jpg
Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Cost of the infrastructure for a very different tank would be huge, and need for major retraining of crews and maintainers.

Warren
Warren
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Where we went wrong was not continuously upgrading the fleet and keeping the knowledge with in the workforce

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren

There just aren’t the numbers to keep the company or the people employed, even states are struggling with the m1. Took congress last thing I read to keep factory open. There are many other things for us to spend the cash on. We need to pick our fights economically it’s not the cold war

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

Spot on. The days of each European nation having a viable manufacturing base for all key needs is folly and unsustainable. Better that each base its efforts on a smaller set of R&D areas and outputs.

UK Inc should IMHO, focus on marine and air assets. Be at the global cutting edge for those systems. Doesn’t mean you don’t have a land fighting capability…just means you buy that in the kit efficiently and you focus R&D into those areas you have a real chance of maintaining an international client base

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren

I agree. We are also making a similar mistake again. Where the US succeeds is by ordering an initial batch then the rest get trickled in over time and so the manufacturing of the equipment is over a long period. They then upgrade their fleets and so again keep the skills and factories up to date. It also means they can easily manufacture replacements for ones destroyed or otherwise out of service. I mean the US even totally overhaul the their tanks to the point that they are effectively new again once they roll back out (they dismantle them completely… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren

Exactly a lesson not learned time and again, the sort of short-termism that leads to the attitude that the next Govt (or one after) can deal with the resulting problem. Much of British Industry suffered under similar policies back in the day with no reliable orders foreign producers with more assured markets could far more easily compete. Bad management and complacency did the rest.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Warren

Too true Warren. Of course we used to regularly upgrade AFVs and the Wikipedia entry on Chieftain emphasises this. Need to at least consider an upgrade for an AFV fleet every 5 to 8 years. Then find the money and push it through swiftly and not dawdle.
The irony is that upgrades for CR2 and WR were discussed, designed and developed but never embodied. Needs to be an Inquiry on that.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  john

I can see some need for some tanks but aren’t tanks yesterday’s weapons?

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

I think you are contradicting yourself there. 148 is not a large number. We either have heavy armour or none at all i thought the UK was steering away from any major land warfare?

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

We took Challengers to Iraq in modest numbers. We have been in the deterrence game for the last 70 years and would only be looking at engaging a peer player as part of a multinational force. Today’s weapons include tanks as autonomous weapons are in their infancy and tanks are in stock.

We are always in a position of trying to cater for every scenario that an adversary might throw at us but I personally just can’t see a need for tanks in quantity in the future although it depends a little on your point of view.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

I agree.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

We took 120 tanks to Iraq in 2003 compared to 221 for Gulf War 1. Interesting that with 148 tanks, we could not do GW1 again and would just about do GW2 if nearly all tanks were serviceable and we accepted zero activity elsewhere.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Yes

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

It depends if you need to take or hold ground or not…

Tanks are still crucial in ground wars.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  john

I’d rather our troops survive contact with the enemy.

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  john

I disagree. The Challenger is a fantastic vehicle and with serious upgrades will be amazing. I just hope the decision to go with the old chassis will not cause issues.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

Tanks hulls are fully stripped in rebuild program and inspected for wear and welds checked with ultra sound. In the past they were shot blasted and dye pen tested not sure if new process is much cheaper. If leopards were bought would they not just be old A4’s rebuilt or new A7 , New is reported as 10 million us dollars

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Leopards lost in action at leat 10, Challenger 2 or even Challenge 1 lost in action 0.

The right choice…

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

“Leopards lost in action at leat 10, Challenger 2 or even Challenge 1 lost in action 0.”

That is of little relevance since Challenger did not fought in mountains against Kornets and other heavy ATGM’s.

Last edited 1 month ago by AlexS
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Disagree. If we are destined to buy foreign better to wait for a new design that’s a step change than to get a Leopard 2 which is only a minimal upgrade over an improved Challenger 2.

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  john

No. The C3 is a great choice for the next 15 years or so. If we had a new tank now it would need to be replaced from the mid-30s anyway. And if we did pick a new tank now Merkerva iv is likely the best around.

Graham
Graham
16 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Trouble is that FOC for CR3 is not until 2030. Unbelievable but true. They will need a further upgrade in 9 years time.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  john

That argument has been done to death on other threads on here! Read those to see the reasoned discussion on the subject.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  john

Why? Would that be better or cheaper than the CR3 option? You would have to bin all the CR2 support and create Leo support – and retrain all the crews and maintainers.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  john

How the wrong choice, German turret and gun, better Cr2 hull , better ceramic armour . Two double road wheels fewer is useful cost saving ! Hydro-gas suspension which is so good the Germans bought Horstman in 2019. Torsion bars are so 1970′ which is why most cars ditched them years ago!

James
James
1 month ago

Once again foreign bidders benefiting because much of the UK arms industry is destroyed. Rather than upgrade ancient tanks the money would have been better spend on autonomous tanks that are cheaper long term to produce and revitalise UK armoured vehicles industry. 2027? By that time much of Russian tank fleet is autonomous as they already have autonomous tanks in service. Conventional tanks are obsolete as the Turks have shown when they face drones

Last edited 1 month ago by James
Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  James

I’m confused James you seem to be saying that the future is drones and tanks are dead but on the other hand condemning the UK arms industry for not focusing on tanks. This to me sounds like an interim measure and we should focus our new skills base on the future which like it or not is autonomous.

If you were setting up a defence business now would it not automatically be directed at autonomous weaponry. If johnny foreigner wants to waste their time on conventional tanks – let them it is a dead industry surely?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

I tend to agree, it’s about a stop gap decision now though as it will only be fulfilled around 2027 that sounds a little contradictory doesn’t it. Don’t know enough about autonomous but sound an ideal alternative along with enhancing of available weaponry. My only worry derives from seeing how ten years ago the Iranians took control of a then advanced US drone and landing it virtually undamaged (subsequently reverse engineering them and testing one against Israel a few years back. Now how does that square with autonomous systems used against the likes of Russia/China who have some of the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

😀 Throughout history warfare has always been about finding a weapon and using it only to find out next time your opponent has a better weapon or finds a method of shielding themselves from your weapon. This is no different. Might be handy if we don’t take the opposition for fools though and protect the communications😂 The autonomous vehicle thing is tricky for computers. Life has built these skills for millions for years and they are quite impressive (until you have a few drinks). Early days I would say but progress is being made. Yes the Chinese and Russians have… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  James

A very expensive, utter waist of money, guaranteed to be both late and way over budget, with 148 units being about as useful as chocolate yes pot!

So far below critical mass, they are effectively redundant, I’ll wager they will never fire a shot in anger.

The numbers should never have been allowed to drop below 220, the absolute minimum needed to form a credible deployed 100 tank armoured division.

148 means we will only ever make a token contribution in the future, with a light brigade of no more than 40 MBT’s… Pointless.

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Like the EU, Boris expects the Americans to shoulder the cost for the majority of the tanks, APCs, ect in a war against Putin or the Chicoms. 148 tanks is laughable. lol

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

No Dan I think Boris expects EU member countries (especially Germany and France) to shoulder the responsibility for the bulk of the land forces initially engaging any Russian force. The UK are busy building the Royal Navy back up to help ensure we rule the waves as we are no longer sure how reliable the Americans are😂

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Indeed it’s been the expectation in every major land operation in Europe since we started to get involved in European conflicts in the 18th C. Our abilities are better exploited in the main elsewhere especially when the hardware involved is by no means the winning weapon it once was or indeed tank v tank engagements the only option any more.

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Dan, Australia has only a small tank force – are they unreliable US allies too?
The EU needs to front up more money for its defence. But the UK is a reliable and valued US ally that more than pulls its weight.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

100 tanks does not an armoured division make. Calling it a ‘division’ doesn’t make it so. Anymore than the RAF calling 9 planes a ‘squadron’.
It ain’t.

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

Think you’ll find if 9 planes can do the damage of 20 plane’s it’s a squadron.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

There has been times when squadrons in various forces were as few as 8 planes or as many as 20 it’s a moving target.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

I would call an Armoured division, 10,000 plus personnel, with 100 MBT’s at its core and all the supporting mechanised infantry and support elements, HQ, artillery, signals etc.

That’s the sort of Army formation we would have offered in the event of a US led serious action in the near past.

Not anymore though, our future contribution will be far more light infantry, SF/ Elite forces and advanced air power.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Too few tanks, not enough teeth at the sharp end no doubt.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

How about we use challenger 3 to control 2 unmanned tank drones each to build up our forces.

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  James

The Russian Autonomous tank you are likely talking about is the Uran-9. It is not main battle tank it is more of a support weapon and in combat it appears to have failed in every possible way…

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  James

I do tend to agree an£ though not yet by 2027 that conclusion may well be the mainstream one. Decisions are tricky presently as if we are to update tanks we need to make those decisions now (it’s already late) but generally I think we need to get into the specialist tank destroying business increasingly over tank users. Drone/helicopter destroyers too for that matter. Let others more suited do most of the heavier stuff. If it ever gets to invasion here a tank force of the size we retain won’t be much of a deterrent by that stage and will… Read more »

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago

I blame Iran….. no seriously, I do, if it wasn’t for the revolution, we’d probably still have 1000 plus Chieftains …..😎

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

If it wasn;t for Iran the BA would never have been equipped with Challenger at all.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Yes mate, I know……. That’ why I said it. 🙄

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

The other way of looking at it is if the Revolution didn;t happen and all 1225 Shir 2 Tanks were manufactured and delivered maybe ( just maybe ) a viable Tank Factory might still exist today 👍

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Reckon ? 😄

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago

Ridiculous, only 148. Tanks aren’t extinct yet. How about ordering another 500.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Haven’t you heard? There’s a bit of a financial crisis. 500?! Four 58 tank regiments would be nice.
148. Where did that come from?

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

What is the financial crisis?

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

It’s when you’ve printed such a shitload of money that nobody knows what the actual numbers mean anymore. Biggest debt in nation’s history should clarify the ‘crisis’ element nicely.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

There are also the Challenger ARRVs of the REME, and the DTTs. Do they get updated?
There are also Titan and Trojan.

So getting rid of Tanks impacts other areas too.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago

Ideally some (50?) of the unmodernised CR2s will be converted to CRARRV2s, noting the existinf CRARRV is actually a CR1 based design and was delvirred between CR1 and CR2.

Trojan and Titan are much newer, even than CR2 and pretty good.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Titan is being refitted with a new bridging system. They are replacing the scissors bridge with the horizontal laying system.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Scissor system announces your presence and has had a few mishaps if rams not in sync. High winds are also problematic. Germany and Indonesia seem to have gone with horizontal systems!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

I’m kind of hoping we can use the unmodernized CR2’s for a Reserve Challenger regiment. (Then again I live in hope that we can orgainse the reserves into something resembling a regionally aligned division, so…)

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Right, MOD. Nose to the grindstone and show my last post wrong – Please. Prove that the design isn’t at early stages as quoted. Such that, from now on at least, the C3 build represents some degree or taxpayer value i.e. doesn’t come with the expected, ‘unexpected issues’. Produce it as the worthy successor to the current Challenger that the breed asva whole deserves, since cutting edge tanks will likely remain integral to future armoured mobility. Only as part of a combined force including Fires, forward Aircover and Communications, of course. In essence, the rules of future rapid manoeuvre were… Read more »

dan
dan
1 month ago

About time they gave the Challenger the 120mm smoothbore gun! 148 tanks isn’t enough though. Need to double that number at least. Ugh

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

typical British bureaucracy. these so called “leaders” have no interest in the future of the realm they only care about personal glory. how much i wish Churchill was alive.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

I often think what Churchill would think about the size of our forces ,I guess he would turn in is grave .when I seen this post on the challenge 3 first thing came to to mind great news for a tank which has served the UK well to be up graded just 800 or short.

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Probably make some sort of ‘twee’ comment Andrew! 😁

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

And what makes you think Churchill would be a good leader in 2021? We are spending 190Bn on equipment. That is not small change. Especially during a global pandemic, and no direct military threat to the UK.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

What’s not a threat today could be one by tomorrow my friend 🙄

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

That is true Andrew. And we are investing heavily in the equipment and capabilites we will need to fight future conflicts, not re-fight old conflicts.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

true. but someone with the same ambitions as him. Someone who actually cares and will live up to the promises they make.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

I’m sure there are plenty in government that care. Just because we are not buying 500 new tanks doesn’t mean politicians don’t care. We are spending a lot of money on equipment we actually need in the 2020’s and well beyond. It isn’t 1980 anymore.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

ok maybe not 500 at the moment. but at least 200 should be the international standard. in a modern conflict a tank has a life expectancy of a north Korean…. well north Korean! ya know with attack hellos and strike fighters like the a10.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Agreed. It looks as though France and Italy are upgrading @200 MBTs each. Germany only have 100 or so operational but are planning to upgrade > 200. Italy also operates 150 Centauro.

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

They may be upgrading more tanks than UK but so what. The UK has 2 aircraft carriers – which they each don’t have. Countries have different priorities.

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

The smoothbore is essential and long overdue. 148 would be fine if we were going to keep the capability to make more at short notice. However I fear that once the 148th is delivered the production line will cease to exist and the capability to make anymore will be lost.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

What about these APS I keep learning about on here? Does CH3 have one? Or is it FFBNW again for not much short of a billion?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

I’m sure I saw somewhere, possibly around the time when the initial jump the gun announcement was made, that we were buying something like 60 aps systems and fitting them as deployments required. Also saw a long twitter post about all the other upgrades such as the power pack etc.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I have read about only 60 Trophy to be bought.
But no firm confirmation even.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago

I posted some APS thoughts on today’s C3 thread at link below if interested. APS is pricey based on recent contracts, Trophy seems to be ~$2M per vehicle based on the recent German army contract, and that doesn’t include integration costs, so rotation through deployed UK tanks if fitted seems likely.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/what-upgrades-will-britains-challenger-3-tanks-get/#comment-558289

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Already saw GHF, thank you.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

Why 148 tanks? Why not 3 Regiments?

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

Because the British Army for a long time has been planning on only maintaining 2 Challenger 2 Regiments to support 2 Armoured Brigades.

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

This stuff makes me livid tbh. If we are an American poodle it makes sense to buy Abrams. Spares and backup make more sense than semi patriotic guff. The numbers are not worth the expense, and a decade? Come on let’s get serious. Procurement in Britain is a joke. Off the shelf, buying is more cost-effective and gets the kit on the ground quicker. When part of SA80 trials we told the PTB it was rubbish, we were proved right. “They,” asked us sneeringly what would we choose, we told them to keep L1A1 or if you go 5.56 let’s… Read more »

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago

i wanted to join the army but what’s the point when we don’t even have heavy armour! might as well join the vatican city national guard or Bahamas army!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

And with that attitude, they wouldn’t let you in. Don’t talk about it. Do it. The Armed Force’s is still a fantastic career, and a life experience all of it’s own. And you will work with world class people & equipment. Regardless of what you read in these comments.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

fair point. kinda hard to be proud of our military when everyone calls u hitler for even saying the word “military” !

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Yeah we don’t have battleships either for good reason. We really don’t understand the potency of tanks beyond the next 5 to 10 years at most which raises many questions it’s difficult to answer. Which is a real problem, however in a conflict it will inevitably be expected that Germany and France with US build up will supply the mainstay of any heavy armour, we will only bulk it out somewhat at most. Meanwhile we take on other responsibilities in the air generally and at sea protecting the Atlantic approaches. Location plays an I portent role in such matters especially… Read more »

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

ok. so what ur saying is we stick with the 148 and know our place in the world and basically not try to be the best and work in a hive mined group and not question any thing.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

No, any military plays to its strengths and mitigates its weakness by using Allies, TTPs etc….we have capabilites in some areas second only to the yanks, so we provide and play to them. Come on Nate, your posts are showing your immaturity and lack of subject matter knowledge.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

You might also add Poland, Italy and Greece to France, Germany and the US.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Theres shed loads of jobs in the Army, loads, to include heavy armour. What a childish post.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Honestly with that attitude… I’m not sure I’d want him in the Army.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

still doesn’t hide the fact we have a small tank fleet.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

No buts its not trying to hide any facts. Why do we need more? What number do you suggest? Do we also need more HETS, CHARRVS,, will they be going to Europe, quick or slow, forward deployed or reactive? Nate, we could all count tanks and say we have the biggest/greatest number therefore we are best! Doesnt work like that im afraid. Its about capability, ability and deployability. I would like more tanks personaly, but with APS etc, also more IFVs, more AD, certainly more overwatch assets, more ATGW in a mobile dedicated platform, more comms, more ISTAR, more of… Read more »

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

I agree with the fact we need more logistics but we should try and maintain at least a fleet of 200. that way we have a decent number to contribute. sure we may have top notch weapons but we need them in good numbers to be effective.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

I agree, totally, but we have to play the cards we are given, and play them financialy well with an eye to the future.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

Defense news US states that the initial operating date is 2027 with a full operational aim of 2030. The RBSL contract is for £800m. Presumably the balance of the £1.3b spend revealed in the Defence Command Report will go on upgrades to the power plant?
Given how long this has been under consideration, the timescale seems astonishingly slow.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Far far too long a wait considering it needed upgrading 10 years ago! 2027-2030??
No active defence? Those enemies must not know about top down attack missiles that render that thick frontal armour useless.
Either do it right or don’t do it all!

Damo
Damo
1 month ago

I have a soft spot for Challenger 2 having been bailed out of the mire by one when it was all on top. My immediate reaction is that this is great news. In a similar vein, people moan about warrior but having that cannon laying down some serious lead is real asset when you’re on the ground

dave12
dave12
1 month ago

I really dont see the point ,148 tanks ,you might as well have none.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Eh? Why is it all or nothing?

dave12
dave12
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Well its not all is it ,its 148 of 227 operational and 227 is way to low numbers as it is.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Eh?

Again, why does it have to be all of them or zero.

Does the word compromise not feature? If you couldn’t afford a Rolls Royce you just fo “sod it, it’s that or I’m walking everwhere”?

If just someone could evidence any kind of maths as to numbers rather than just bleating “more, there should be more”, that would be a change.

We have a requirement for 100 in the 2 Op Regiments, this gives a 50% reserve.

Struggling to think of any other kit we have such a healthy reserve of.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Agreed, although I think we’d all prefer to see a triangular division instead, but 2 is certainly better than none (plus the Yeomanry).
Could be worse, could still be stuck with the 432…

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

They still have 432 Bulldog and only recently fitted new type of exhaust, as they cost about 1/4 of the cost of running a Warrior the MOD bean counters seem to like them lol

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  peter wait

Someon doesn’t get irony….

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago

What about the 200 mothballed c2 are they still in storage? Why bother if they aren’t upgraded surely the guns will be useless

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

Go watch force’s news it’s 148 getting upgraded.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

There is no definitive answer as to what amount are in Storage – some say that most of the surplus Examples were scrapped (RTP) some say that they are stored.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago

“Challenger 3”. Feels like an insult

Jonny
Jonny
1 month ago

Are they getting active protection systems?

MARK MEREDITH
MARK MEREDITH
1 month ago

Good news here is that the Government has kept at least one promise from the review process. There was much discussion on what was good and bad about the review. The main one was would anything happen? So the good news is that this is a start. If the rest of the promises are kept then armed forces are in a good place.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  MARK MEREDITH

Oh you just committed the cardinal sin on this forum, expressing optimism and positivity…

SOP here is bemoaning the lack of battleships with 50inch guns or hypersonic Harrier jets 🤷‍♂️

Something different
Something different
1 month ago

We should have brought the Abrams, not that we’ve ever countenanced buying American tanks before…

phill
phill
1 month ago

So whats more powerful.400 challengers on your doorstep or 148 of the upgraded ones.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  phill

I’d Take 400 fully Trained and Crewed standard C’2s over 148 upgraded Trained and Crewed ones any day of the week.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago
Reply to  phill

Depends who we’re fighting. If it’s a bumf*ck country like Argentina, then definitely 400 non-upgraded Challengers. If it’s a peer adversary like Russia, definitely 148 Challenger Mk3s; the rifled gun and HESH rounds on the previous model likely wouldn’t so much as scratch tanks with modern armour, and the APFSDS penetrators were much too short to be of any consequence

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Lots of posts on this one. My penneth worth….not enough, yes, we would like more. Tanks neccessary? absolutely. Relevent in the era of drones? of course, why wouldnt they. For those people saying tanks are no longer relevent due to the recent proof of drone superiority in Armenia, well its a wake up call for sure, BUT, why? Drones are a development, and what we do, and all Armies (should do), is progress with anti drone hard/soft kill, ECM, TTPs etc. Weapon development never stands still, and just because an asset suddenly shows a weakness, you dont just bin it,… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

I often feel like people’s attitude to drones could be summed up in WW1 when the Germans started using field artillery pieces on tanks. “Well they can counter Tanks now so we should stop using them.”
Tanks will have to evolve, just as infantry will have to evolve to counter the drone threat, but as you said, the need for an armoured punch will never go away.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Spot on, all military kit, and tactics, evolve over time to stay relevent and counter the new threats….tanks will be no different. But, as a light role soldier for nigh on 29 years, I have to say, I friggin love tanks, the support they give and the capability they bring, essential!

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

A few observations. We should be anticipating threats, not reacting to them at the time they are exercised. The threat of drones has been clear for years, so no one should have been surprised by the N-K conflict, but clearly many who should have known better were. Similar to how armies were surprised by IEDs. There is way too much looking in the rear view mirror wrt military assets and relying on what worked in the past continuing to do so. The lesson from N-K is that adversaries will develop asymmetric counters to a threat and there may not be… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Not much on that which I will argue about mate, but a lot of it is all about what we could/should be doing and unfortunatly Carters infatuation with light role, ie Strike has decimated the Army, while producing little more than buzzwords and chuff. Cheers.

BB85
BB85
1 month ago

All the complaints about only 148. The UK is never going to be involved in a large scale land war on its own. In Europe France, Germany, Poland and the US will make up the bulk of our armour so if we are going to contribute its better to have networked cutting edge tanks that provide the best protection for a smaller number of troops. This is great news and hopefully we will see more on precision fires like archer and 120mm mortar options.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

I am trying to understand if this is an upgrade or a new tank. Reason is simple new turret, new gun, new optics and targeting systems, new powerplant, new suspension and I think a new armour package. It might as well be a new tank. Apart from that the only real gripe I have is numbers, with all 150 to be completed by 2027 the production capability will go again. Maybe we could at least after 2027 put say 20 per year of the remaining Ch2s the upgrade package. Yes I know money. However with the batch 2 upgrade group… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

“Triggers Broom” mate…..😁

Marked
Marked
1 month ago

Just seen this, apparently there will be an active defence system after all – https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events/news/2021/05/challenger-3-upgrade/

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago

Great news, yes 150 odd isn’t great, more would be better but we need to pick where our cash goes very carefully. Will allow us to use them in limited way like Afghan or Iraq but leave European massed armour to closer countries in nato while we provide other needed capabilities.
Two questions. Are we buying an APS off the shelf? Are we replacing the struggling power pack?

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago

George, do you know that the article rating system doesn’t seem to work anymore?

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago

Excellent news. By any measure the resulting Challenger 3 will be the very best Western tank. Best gun & ammo, best armor and best off-road mobility. Buying either Leopard or Abrams and modifying it for British Army standards & equipment would be horrendously expensive and would result in an inferior tank. You can quibble about numbers but there’s plenty of time between now and the early 2030’s to add to the order. You could easily envisage building brand new C3’s, all the facilities & abilities are available. Also excellent news that 500 million is still left in the upgrade budget… Read more »

Callum
Callum
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron5

I can’t necessarily see new C3s being built, but given that we have ~120 of them in storage, plus the 79 from the active fleet not being upgraded, we have a large enough reserve pool that the option to double our active tank fleet is actually plausible.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Callum

Probably all cannibalized.

Callum
Callum
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Perhaps to varying degrees, but that isn’t particularly important given how much the C3 upgrade is replacing

Derek
Derek
1 month ago

Somewhere in my brain is the echo of an announcement during a previous cut to the Army (I think Cameron’s) that – ‘for the first time, the reserves will train on and use the same equipment as the regular Army’. How does that work with 148 total?

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek

Probably 56 in QRH, 56 in RTR, and the remaining 36 in the Wessex Yeomanry, with BATUS probably retaining CR2’s.
Or the Wessex Yeomanry will be on CR2s?