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Rheinmetall has submitted a comprehensive offer to extend the life and substantially upgrade the capabilities of the Challenger 2 tank fleet in response to the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project.

According to a press release from the company, Rheinmetall provides a wide range of cutting edge systems that are integrated in tank fleets around the world and is currently actively engaged in the upgrade and delivery of Leopard 2 MBTs for two major international customers. Through continual investment in research and development Rheinmetall has remained at the cutting edge of tank technology.

“Rheinmetall has leveraged its extensive knowledge of MBTs to develop an innovative solution for the Challenger 2 that will not only extend the life of the tank but allow it to be brought in-line with the latest generation of MBT capabilities using proven high technology readiness systems. Rheinmetall’s solution will replace major obsolete components in the Challenger 2 while at the same time introducing new capabilities that will substantially improve the combat power of the British Army.”

Ben Hudson, Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division, said:

“Our team has put together an innovative proposal to solve not only the obsolescence issues of the Challenger 2 but to also cost effectively enhance the capabilities of the MBT. One example of this is that our solution can integrate either the existing 120mm L30 rifled gun or our proven 120mm L55 smooth bore system that is in service with the German Army and can fire the latest generation kinetic energy rounds and our unique 120mm air-burst ammunition. When combined with the new optronics, situational awareness and fire control systems our solution will allow the Challenger 2 to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.”

The release adds that Rheinmetall is committed to, and has the expertise to, undertake all aspects of the Challenger 2 LEP Design Authority and will fully incorporate UK suppliers into the Program conducting both the fleet upgrade and Through Life Support in the UK, while also establishing a long term UK presence linked to this and other projects.

Peter Hardisty, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK, said:

“Incorporating UK suppliers into our team is fundamental to the long term supportability of the UK fleet and we have had fantastic support already from a number of UK partners who are members of our team, including Supacat, Thales UK and BMT. The Company is committed to transferring substantial MBT technology into the UK and generating an enduring UK capability to support not only the MBT fleet but also the fleet of over 7,000 trucks we have delivered to the British Army.”

BAE Systems 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.

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.”

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

6 COMMENTS

  1. This is a waste of money. We should either buy new tanks or scrap the idea of having them at all in preference to a larger Apache fleet.

    The rationale of this statement is that if we did not deploy during op herrick when will we. Whilst we do deploy apaches to the point that they are overworked.

    Our mainland European partners should provide the bulk of the tank force and the U.K. Should concentrate on equipment we can deploy to Europe quickly from our shores and use in expeditionary encounters. So tanks are not needed. Having said that if we are going to have them then let’s have new leopards.

    • Which is basically what happens! we have a relatively small tank force. However, what happens when you don’t have air superiority and you’ve lost the apache cover?

  2. I think Karbala in 2003 showed Apache can’t totally replace armour – flying tanks they ain’t. Too vulnerable to small arms.

    • Tbh I am all for a balanced force and believe that the uk military should be integrated so that we have 4 frontline divisions of 20k personnel 2 mechanised and 2 light info each with dedicated equipment and a budget of £4bn p.a. To equip and run.

      For the mechanised divisions I see approx 200 tanks and 1200 Ajax/warrior, 64 apaches, 64 F35, 64 typhoons, 64 merlins and 32 chinooks. These would be under the command of the divid all commander and be independently deployable.

      For the light infantry I would purchase a high volume of Polaris all terrain vehicles and kit them out with gpmg’s and trailers with mortars. Is this expensive – yes, but it is also doable over time. My view is that we need to be highly deployable and have a diamond formation of four units that rotate through and when deployed have 2 flanks a centre and reserve. This is sustainable from a deployment point of view and also allows for the RM’s to be integrated into our land forces as we would have an elite division.

      Having said the above. My main view is that continually investing in omething that is past its best is a game of diminishing returns. Challenger was good but is sadly out of its generation now.

    • There is still a need for MBT’s and we should retain the CH2. However, upgrading needs careful thought if key components are procured from a foreign supplier. With the UK about to exit the EU it needs to choose wisely when dealing with former members. If the German option is adopted, it would be prudent to order considerable number of guns and firing systems for strategic reserve, in the event of soured relations with the latter. A country’s defence should be provided by indigenous manufactures to truly stay self reliant, as we were for most of the 20th century.

  3. 7000 trucks and hardly any tanks .
    Forget the tanks and go for Apache gunships .
    Brimstone should do the job , and the MBT could become obselete on the future battlefield .

    UK soon will only be a defence force .
    The British public support the armed forces , the British government support themselves and foreign aid .

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