The Ministry of Defence has awarded contracts to BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH to progress the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project.

The agreements, worth £23 million each according to the Ministry of Defence, mark the start of the competitive Assessment Phase.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:

“Modernising the British Army’s Main Battle Tank under the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project involves partnerships across Defence exploring innovative solutions.”

A press release adds:

“Recent developments in electronics, computing and sight optics mean upgrades to several of the tank’s components are now possible.

The total value of the Challenger 2 Assessment Phase is £53 million. This includes both £23 million Assessment Phase contracts and a further £7 million to cover additional work. The MoD’s investment will allow BAE Systems and Rheinmetall to undertake technical studies, produce detailed digital models and consider how upgrades will be integrated onto the current platform.

At the end of the Assessment Phase the companies will present their solutions to the MOD for consideration. The Demonstration and Manufacture Phases of the project will follow.

We are building the most adaptive force to meet the threats of the future and this phase will enable the companies to develop innovative upgrades which will keep the formidable Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, crucial for the delivery of a modern ground manoeuvre warfighting capability as part of Joint Force 2025, in service with the British Army until 2035.”

Chief of Materiel (Land) for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, said:

“Challenger 2 is an excellent Main Battle Tank with an impressive operational track record. The Challenger 2 Life Extension Project will upgrade the vehicle with the latest technology to make it available for operations out to 2035.”

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This is a poor decision – the money would be better spent on new Leopards with reactive armour.

This is a prime example of the MOD wasting money – challenger is an old platform that needs replacing not updating.

William Burnett

Leopard 2 is a faulted tank. It has 23 rounds exposed in the hull which is the leading cause of leopard 2 destruction in syria!

Mark Hulican

Why is every thing BAE(Bad At Everything) do cost so much? I’m sure they didn’t cost 23 million to start with.


British And Expensive 🙂

A Rad

Leos are being killed with Turkish force. Chally is best way but lets hope they get full upgrades and all it needs.


And Abrams are being killed in Yemen…..

In both cases it is usually down to the incompetence of those operating the vehicles.


Also the armour packages on the export models are not as good – at least on the Abrams anyway. Can’t say if the same is true on the Leopards.

Alex Ho

does this include re-barelling the gun?


Not at the moment although Rheinmetal has stated they might make recommendations that include the gun. The MoD SOW is limited to sighting/optics and associated computer updates – nothing for armour or main weapon improvements.


Notice how the minister didn’t mention we are too loose yet more tanks – potentially up to one third of the 227 remaining after the last cuts. Switzerland will have more tanks than us if the reductions go ahead – incredulous!!! Seriously, when will the savage cuts EVER end??? One day they will come home to roost and then what???


So, BAE have been given a £23m of taxpayers money in order to enter a ‘competition’ that everyone here knows they will win….. that will eventually deliver minute incremental improvement on a minute tank force!

The British people are being had.


Yup Joe – that about sums it up but you forgot to also mention it will be years late and over budget too!


Do the VSO even want tanks anymore? The way this gets kicked down the road repeatedly I’d say no.

If thats through an attempt at long term thinking and say something like fielding 10,000 land launched brimstone and CAS as replacement fantastic.

If it’s a drawn out cost cutting measure with a sprig of corporate welfare can we just call it done and take a Canadian approach to the world with our soon to be self defence only forces.


What makes you think BAE SYSTEMS win everything? They spent a lot of their own money and lost the FRES and WCSP bids to GD & LM 6 years ago and shut a number of sites as a result. I’m surprised they’re getting involved this time round as I’m sure the outcome will be the same.


i agree with the guy who said bae should be desolved and let all companies compete,if we have any other companies out there,because bae have the monopoly and are charging stupid money for things that are either behind schedule or dont work or better still break down and then we the tax payer get stumped with the bill yet again,or our defense has to be cut just to cover some fat money knacker who does not have a clue


Britain is fast becoming irrelevant . What’s the point in dreadnought if everything else is crap . BAE is taking the piss And perhaps it’s time for one interested missile system across the services instead of army , navy, airforce having seperate systems . Ie brimstone Anti tank for airforce and army , anti ship for fast attack swarms for navy . Artillery gun , same on land as ship ,one gun, two jobs . Integrate not seperate . But for Christ’s sake build us ships ,planes , tanks , ect 12 billion in foreign aid while our armed forces… Read more »

Bill Gibbons

BAE has to either come up with the goods at realistic prices or broken up. This has gone the same way as British Leyland , badge engineering . A brand new cutting edge tank is needed , look to Poland for how it should be done . Maybe brimstone missiles could be adapted to be fired from all our army vehicles , inter operability would save us a fortune , brimstone from land sea and air platforms , one missile one price . Could a shore bombardment gun be used as an artillery gun too . Scalp on both air… Read more »

Nick Bowman

I had awax in my ear but my girlfriend’s a nurse and she got rid of it.