The decision on how many Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks will be upgraded will not be made until 2021, says Minister Stuart Andrew.
Speaking to Forces TV here, the Minister made clear that the announcements will be made at the beginning of 2021.
The features originally touted by BAE for their ‘Black Night’ upgrade, which no doubt will likely feature as part of any new proposal from the recently created Rheinmetall and BAE launch joint vehicle design venture, include:
- Active Protection System – Systems allow the tank to detect incoming anti-tank missiles or armour penetrating rounds and automatically launches a counter-explosive to neutralise the threat.
- Laser Warning System – When targeted by enemy weapon systems, the tank can identify the source of the threat then automatically slew the gun to point at that source, making it quicker for the crew to counter-fire.
- Regenerative braking – The tank has been made more energy efficient by using less energy-hungry kit and installing regenerative braking in the turret, which generates power when the gun slows down into position.
- Thermal Imaging Technology – Front and rear infrared cameras (similar to those used in television programmes such as Planet Earth II) provide extremely sharp night imagery, helping troops identify potential threats and move undetected in hostile situations, while also shaving valuable seconds off reaction times.
- Accelerated fightability – New equipment controlling tank’s weaponry is faster, meaning the crew can identify an enemy, target and engage more quickly.
The Challenger 2 tank, built by BAE Systems in the 1990s, served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. Upgrades are being sought to keep the tank battle-ready for the next twenty years, as part of the Ministry of Defence’s decision to extend the tank’s life until 2035.