I have written in the UK Defence Journal before on why I thought Challenger 2 was the wrong choice of tank for the British army and why our AFV procurement processes are so shambolic

My views have only been reinforced by the current imbroglio over the purchase and introduction into service of the Ajax scout vehicle, which to date has seen just over of £3.5 billion spent over the last ten years with only 14 of the non-turreted version, Ares, delivered.


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines.


Trials and training on Ajax/Ares are now suspended, the MoD has finally admitted publicly, because of unacceptable noise and vibration problems with these new vehicles. This leaves the procurement of the Boxer IFV as the only shining light in the dark, dystopian world of the army’s equipment procurement programme.

The troubled ‘Ajax’.

Even then we joined, left, and then rejoined this programme, delaying its entry into British army service by at least ten years and also no doubt at a higher price than if we had stuck with it from the beginning.

It couldn’t get much worse, I thought, and then it has.

Only weeks after the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, announced to some fanfare the underwhelming news that a paltry 148 Challenger 2s were to be upgraded with the inclusion of the Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore gun (Hallelujah, at long last!) plus other enhancements in what is essentially a new turrets on old hulls lash-up, we learn that this was not the only option. But it was the only option to which the MoD seems to have been kindly disposed to listen.

The above is a brief sumamry of what is involved in coverting tanks to ‘Challenger 3’ standard.

MoD and serving army sources have now revealed that, a year before the announcement, Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the manufacturers of the German Leopard 2A7, had approached the MoD with an offer which would seem to have been the answer to the maiden’s prayer. The deal tabled was for KMW to lease the current model of the Leopard 2, the 2A7 model, to the MoD and British army for an initial 20 year period with guaranteed buy-back at the end of the timeframe. On top of this, the company also offered to build a second UK factory that would have created circa 500 jobs in addition to supporting the existing supply chain of 3,000 jobs that the same company is developing for the Boxer IFV procurement.  

Again, I have written in the Journal before on the benefits of leasing rather than buying defence equipment and do not intend to repeat the arguments here. But two points are worth re-emphasising perhaps: the first is that with Leopard 2 come the economies of scale that accompany the continuing developments of a tank that has been supplied to twenty or so countries worldwide. Those countries can available themselves of the improvements and upgrades that are made to the tank that accrue as the tank continues to evolve.

The same cannot be said of the 148 Challenger 3s which have been ordered for the Royal Armoured Corps. And secondly as the numbers produced go up there is a natural pattern for the unit price to come down.

A Challenger 3.

In this context, for example, it is understood that KMW has been working on a tank autoloader for some time, one that can be incorporated into the existing Leopard 2 turret, but one that is also likely to be a standard feature on any future tank such as the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), the joint Franco-German project. The common consensus is that future tank designs will almost certainly incorporate autoloaders. The Russians have had them for 50 years and it’s time we all caught up with them and the French, whose Leclerc tank has one too.

Will the KMW autoloader be able to be retrofitted into the Challenger 3 turret? I don’t know, but a better question might be will it be worth it. 

Leopard 2A7

On top of this, even if MGCS comes to fruition, Leopard 2 will remain in service across NATO. It will not be immediately obsolete. Adopting the German tank would allow British expertise in armour to be added to a new version of Leopard (the A8), increasing its protection, and making Britain part of the international supply chain. The future for tanks is not the UK, Germany and France developing them independently, but international cooperation. Buying or leasing Leopard 2 would have been an ideal means of kick-starting British membership of the MGCS team and influencing what it becomes. With Challenger 3, we have relegated ourselves to the role of off-the-shelf customer.

In essence, by plumping for Challenger 3 the MoD has chosen to go with an old chassis with no money to modify it or the powerpack, which means no increase in power or mobility despite an overall increase in weight. Yes, it will have a new turret and electronic architecture, but the price only includes 60 sets of the APS, to be issued on an as required basis which will hardly encourage those crews unlucky enough to come down the pecking order. Deliveries are mooted to begin in 2027 but informed commentators will tell you that 2030 at the earliest is much more likely. And, when and if it does enter service then, it isn’t really going to be much better than Leopard 2A7A1 is today, if at all. 

In the end, of course, and sadly, it all comes down to finance, and on the face of it Challenger 3 seems to be cheaper overall than Leopard 2. But a quick look at the actual costings indicates that leasing Leopard 2 as offered to the MoD would be less expensive over the lifetime of the tank than the shorter term solution of Challenger 3. While a lease agreement would have avoided the higher initial purchase cost of Leopard 2 versus Challenger 3, the tables are also turned when it comes to support costs. Leopard components are available from multiple sources, ensuring a ready supply, but also competitive costs. 

Leopard 2A7 at Eurosatory.

While KMW has declined to provide any detailed cost breakdown, according to military sources annual support costs for Leopard, based on data provided by Germany, Denmark and other EU users of Leopard, are less than 2% per annum, whereas those for Challenger 3, which has a single UK supply chain, are expected to be above 6%. The MoD will also be forced to purchase spares upfront, adding further to Challenger’s maintenance costs. Over 20 years, the total lifecycle costs for Challenger 3 are therefore likely to considerably outweigh those for Leopard 2.

So, against this background, it seems a crass decision, and the MoD’s attitude might well have been that it was open to considering all options as long as they were Challenger 3. Who took these decisions? No individual will ever take responsibility because that’s not the way it happens in Defence Procurement within the Ministry, but suffice to say that senior officers at three star level were intimately aware of the detail of the KMW Leopard 2 offer and turned it down. That the Defence Secretary, CDS, and CGS are all essentially infantrymen at the light end of that spectrum will not have helped matters much either, for not only are any of them not particularly renowned for being on more than a nodding acquaintance with original thought, but their collective knowledge of matters AFV will obviously tend towards zero. In military parlance, they don’t know their arses from their elbows.

We will only know for sure with hindsight, I’m afraid, but I will not be surprised if the Challenger 3 procurement programme ends up being added to the litany of recent British army procurement disasters alongside Ajax, Warrior CSP, and the SA80 rifle. What a pity Dominic Cummings resigned before he had the chance to sort the MoD out!

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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Finney
Finney
2 months ago

Thought provoking stuff, thank you. Another advantage of leasing Leopard is that it probably wouldn’t be hard to increase the number of units at relatively short notice, either from the manufacturer, or to lease more from allies (was it Denmark who we pinched some Merlins off for Afghanistan when we were desperate for helos and then replaced them later?). If we got embroiled in a major operation, we could probably rapidly buy up spare parts and even spare hulls/entire units off countries that weren’t involved. With Challenger 2.5, in 2030 we will have 148 units, with 148 bespoke turrets, and… Read more »

andy
andy
2 months ago
Reply to  Finney

it does put things in prospective, but a sergeant major told me long ago if there is a another major world war and god forbid there never is, we would not be on the winning side, to many do gooders and people who are happy to bow with this woke snowflake attitude where just about everything offends somebody no matter what it is

Portsea Islander
Portsea Islander
2 months ago
Reply to  andy

If there is ‘God forbid’ ever another major World war, the likely winners will be cockroaches, everything else will be toast.

BB85
BB85
2 months ago
Reply to  Finney

Food for thought. It was never an easy call for a politician to make as the main stream media would have crucified him if he scrapped C2 for a ‘German’ tank. The piece about the autoloader confuses me. If it had been in development why wasn’t incorporated into the C3 turret? I thought all of the auto loading R&D was going into 130mm ammo which RBSL built a second demonstrator on the challenger chassis for. UK land projects has been a depressing read for the last 10 years. Boxer order 10 years after it should have been, Ajax years late… Read more »

DAN SPILLETT
DAN SPILLETT
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

auto loaders jam and breakdown human do not a country that does not make it’s own amour is doomed and we need to boycott EUSSR fourth Reich goods buy british challenger 3 will be made in the UK giving jobs to UK workers not German ones

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
2 months ago
Reply to  DAN SPILLETT

Well, apart from a major component, the gun

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  DAN SPILLETT

Like most things in service in the British army, there has always been problems, as with the SA80… doomed from the get go, they were offered to buy the M16 system would have been a much better deal and much more reliant in the field.

The Germans to make better gear, simple as that. Are the Germans perfect, no… compared to what the UK produces… hell yes.

DAN SPILLETT
DAN SPILLETT
2 months ago
Reply to  Finney

8 leopards destroyed in iraq no challenger 2 even nocked out so you want our troops in a tank like that. me 21 year service british army

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  DAN SPILLETT

“8 leopards destroyed in iraq no challenger 2 even nocked out so you want our troops in a tank like that. me 21 year service british army”

How to lie with statistics. Evidence XYZSDGTY560900

Dave
Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  DAN SPILLETT

If the said 8 Leo’s had been CR2 and used in the same manner by the same crew then the outcome would of been the exact same. Tanks are not indestructible, it’s tactics that the crew employ that keeps them alive.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Finney

Abrams,Loepards have ‘bespoke’ turrets! Yet both and now Challenger will have the same gun same ammo etc.
The above tanks have basically the same hull as when they were introduced in the 80’s but the Challenger hull is actually newer. So it’s ok for others to upgrade the turrets but when we get around to doing it somehow it’s wrong!

Mac
Mac
2 months ago

First of all, any tank force of just 148, whether Challenger 3 or Leopard A7, is nothing more than a token force, that won’t be taken seriously by any peer or near peer threat, certainly not Russia, the only foe they would ever likely face. No one seriously believes the British Army is ever going to be in a tank battle with the Chinese, either. Challenger isn’t there to win a massed tank battle, it’s only there to provide very limited support, in low numbers, to British Troops in an Iraq style scenario, where the level of armour they’d face… Read more »

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
2 months ago

Be in no doubt – the decision to continue with the obsolete aircraft carriers for the RN has undermined the UK’s defence budget for a generation.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

Your obviously not aware how forces budgeting works. Each service receives a third of the total budget they then spend that as they see fit within the overall national defence strategy. To be fair the same argument has been put forward by Army officers even though they’re perfectly well aware that it’s a lie. The Army is responsible for it’s own decisions and mistakes.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

David, where do you get that notion of allocation of monies from? The Equipment Programme budget is not allocated to the three services in equal portions, for them to spend as they please.

MoD’s four Front-Line Commands (Navy, Army, Air and Strategic Command), the Defence Nuclear Organisation and the Strategic Programmes Directorate – get a slice of Equipment Plan monies for development and support.

From:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/The-Equipment-Plan-2020-2030-Report.pdf

before imposition of realism measures for the period 2019-2029:
figures were:
Navy – £2675m
Army – £1337m
Air – £3494
Strat Com – £2782m
Def Nuc – £1257m
Strat Prog – £382m.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi my fault didn’t make clear. Nuke deterrent comes out of all 3 services budgets then you’re only counting equip budget. I’m talking whole budget incl manpower etc.Equipment takes a much bigger percentage of RAF/RN’s budget than it does Army’s. If it was just equip Army would be very happy RAF and RN not so much.

Les Booth
Les Booth
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I think they believe its the Army’s turn to have a spending disaster!!! The RAF had the Nimrod programme, the Navy have these two huge targets (sorry Carriers) and now the Army are committing to tanks that are so heavy with all the bolt ons, flags, bells and whistles that they can hardly move! The AJAX programme should just be scrapped…A vehicle that shakes so much it can’t shoot and actually exhausts its crews while moving…and as if that isn’t bad enough, cannot reverse over a 20 cm step?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

What? How are our shiny new carriers obsolete? They are cutting edge and the design and technology have impressed many American naval officers. How has the defence budget been undermined for a generation – they were relatively cheap, despite political mess-ups – some say one sixth the price of a US carrier – and one carrier cost the same as the NHS spends on admin support in a year.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

There is a thinking that i share a bit that surfaces ships are in great danger from missiles. That any concentration of power – like in aircraft carriers – will be destroyed by hypersonic and other missiles/drones. This thinking means basically that we are in a Missile Age and dispersion of assets is the only solution and camouflage/denial : Which means any surface ship should be able to submerge. Same is applicable to land battle all major combat will be with artillery forces(missiles and guided rounds), tanks will have a minimal impact, and infantry will only have to occupy the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Any piece of equipment, anyone in a uniform, any sub unit, BG, Brigade level group, Divisonal etc etc are in danger from missiles. Its called war, your not suprsied by that surely? And by the rest of your comment your subject matter experience of ground combat doctrine is also very very limited.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

So you expect the next war to be like the last war?

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Where did I say that? Anyway which last war? Theres been so many, but maybe one where different armies have different capabilites and each side maximises its effects and mitigates its weakness (as professionals do). Try not to put your words into my mouth as you have limited subject matter knowledge. Thankyou.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

If your attitude is that the Cold War carrier have the similar comparative power (in relation to the threats) to defend itself as the current ones.

In my opinion they got more vulnerable

Or if you think that land combat did not changed significantly since cold war.

In my opinion long range fire is displacing short range fire because i think the long range combat will be enough to significantly decrease the side that lost that combat phase will to fight.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

May attitude? You can gain my attitude from a single post? Wow mate you are a ninja! All assets are vulnerable, no matter what tech or tactics change. Professional militaries see a threat, and egt platforms and TTPs to counter that threat. Its called evolution. But the basics have not changed. Long range firs has ALWAYS displaced short range fires, even during the cold war, its just that capabilities have improved, ranges have increased and tech makes for smarter and more efficient targeting. Howevevr your comment about how “tanks having a minimal impact, and Infantry only going in after the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Apologies for the typos, doing two things at once here…..

Nathan
Nathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, I read recently that Russian, long range fires basically minced a Ukrainian column of armour before it even got to its destination. I have no idea on how this works – which is why I’m messaging you – but practically, how does armour hold ground if you have such adversaries on your door step? I presume you need to have air cover in the first place? But if you have aircover why do you need armour? I see an argument for Ares and Boxers etc. for getting foot soldiers into position and moving on but not tanks. Surely… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Mate this has always been the question through the ages, since AirPower and yanks first ever met 😂! There are tankieson here who could answer better as I was always light role but to keep it brief, here goes. Firstly long range fires have always been an issue for armoires columns, even during the Cold War as long Range fires were utilized to take out rear ech columns and reinforcements moving to the front lines (have a look at stay behind OPs), but all sides had tactics and kit to mitigate these, such a short their own long range fires,… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yanks should read tanks!

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Bloody hell sorry about the typos.

Nathan
Nathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Thanks – useful. Not an easy answer I see. Would you prefer to see 150 tanks or 300 Apaches? Doesn’t the latter cost about half the former?

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Would prefer an increase of both platform types mate. Both are force multipliers and both have specific roles within a well formed, well structueed military. For example the Apache is great, but faces a range of threats totaly different than a MBT, has a lot shorter loitering time, limited weapon loads, increase of maintenance and support etc, but has speed, mobility (both tactical and strategic) and a decent weapon TYPE with very good sensors! The MBT has more staying power, closer cooperation and situational awareness with other supporting formations, more ability to take hits and survive, very good sensors and… Read more »

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

All surface ships are submersible, some only the once.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon

🙂 “U.S. aircraft carriers are already facing risks from hypersonic weapons that are now entering the inventory of American adversaries and the Navy has developed early defenses for the threat, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said last week before the Senate. “It’s important that we have that capability now because the hypersonic threat is there now,” Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces last week.” Note the issue is not only hypersonic but the fact that there are anti aircraft carriers missiles with more range… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hypersonic missiles are not hypersonic in the lower atmosphere, regardless of how quick they get from the launch point they have to come down and also slow down to then reach a target.

Considering very little is known or proven about them air defences will still work against them as ultimately they are supersonic when within a certain range.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham. Fat D pops up now and again bemoaning the carrier programme. I had tried explained to him before how the budget works and the carriers have not stolen the other services budget but it clearly fell on deaf ears.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

Oh here we go again, Fat Dave and his obsessive dislike for the Carriers. Your subject matter knowldge and experience on the matter would be intersting Dave? Have all the other countris who have, or are building Carriers, got themselves in the same “boat” or is it just the UK carriers that you dont like.

BobA
BobA
2 months ago

As much as I love a bit of Carter bashing, I’d like to point out a few things. He commanded 2 RGJ on two operational tours (Bosnia and Kosovo) when it was an armoured Infantry Bn. He then commanded 20 Armoured Brigade in Iraq in 2004. So the synopsis of him being an infantryman at the ‘light end’ of the spectrum is a bit crass at best, false at worse. So he’s deployed armour under command at several levels and probably understands it better than most people. He’s also one of the most dynamic and revolutionary thinkers the Army has… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  BobA

Agreed!

andy
andy
2 months ago
Reply to  BobA

SA-80 entered my Bn exactly midway in my 22 years service. In addition, I was a regular Bisley shot. I hear ‘old sweats’ lamenting the loss of the SLR and all I can say, as a career infantryman who used both SLR and SA-80 all over the worlkd and at Bisley, is I would pick the SA-80 any day of the week.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  andy

Deffo mate. While the SLR was built to last and put people on their arse, it wasnt a weapon system, which the SA80 is, it was a rifle!

Smudger
Smudger
2 months ago

Only problem with leasing is that we would leave behind Cobham armour and that’s what separates us from our European allies, having three regiments worth of tanks would be lovely but we’ve already fallen to two if your in the know. We would if conflict opens up just be another country cutting it’s cloth to suite a NATO boundary corridor in a delay across eastern Europe until the Americans arrive en masse.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Smudger

I doubt that Chobam is still being upgraded.
When Challenger went to Iraq it went with extra armor from Rafael, an Israeli company.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Are you sure? CVRT was upgraded with this armour not Challenger.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacko
Smudger
Smudger
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

What I’m saying is if you lose the CR2 Hull when you lease Leo2 you lose Chobam which is a massive plus for our vehicles. You had ERA added to the TES CR2 but you still had Chobam.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

But the base vehicle was still made from Chobham! You can add on armour and passive/active defences from any suitable manufacture, but the base build is still made from Chobham, and in defence of Smudgers comment, you ask any tank crew, and they are pre-desposed to trusting the Challys armour.

Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, to be accurate, the hull and turret of Challenger 1/2 is made from fairly “ordinary” steel armour. The Chobham is applied in the form of applique plates bolted to the outside. I can recall seeing Challenger 1’s stripped of their Chobham at 23 Base Wksp in Wetter, very odd sight.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Apologies I did mean that, as its a layered system, and I was under the impression its between the “normal” steel and therefore hard to access.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

My source is
Tankograd British Special no. 9009 British Next Generation Armour. I don’t know how reliable it is that.
Nevertheless if you think how Challenger have been let to be increasingly obsolescent by the Army you can also put in doubt if its armor is recent.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

its called something else now as it was a trade mark of vickers

simon alexander
simon alexander
2 months ago

present govt had a nice offer from a county that faces proper tank war. we preferred to build a UK main battle tank despite the history of poor delivery and lack of exports.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

worked in WW2

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago

IIRC ALL these points where discussed at great length and detail when the decision was announced! Just check out the Challenger threads and all your questions will be answered.

Arthur Grun
Arthur Grun
2 months ago

It has been painfully obvious for decades that the top brass have little idea of the realities of armoured warfare and how best to procure and develop the appropriate vehicles. One just has to look at how the deployment of a full regt of CVRTs instead of just 2 troops would have curtailed the Falklands War. A total overhaul of the MoD to ensure those that are most experienced contribute most to the development of military equipment is sorely needed. Too often redundant and/or out to grass senior officers are found to be totally out of their depth when it… Read more »

Darren hall
Darren hall
2 months ago

Well, he knows his tanks… After that much time in… But We could argue about the Challenger 2 hull actually being newer than the leopard and Abrams hulls. That the Challenger 2 was designed to a different ‘trinity’ that its German and American cousins, one that favours protection over mobility… Look at how many Challenger 2s have been engaged and survived to leopards or Abrams in similar engagements. Or the fact that he forgot the A7 Leopard has a new ‘bespoke turret’, so what’s wrong with giving one to the Challenger? But for me, the biggest issue is the leasing… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Well said but it’s not just the MBTs that would need replaced!
ARRV,AVRE & AVLB would also need to be changed,so that is another 100 or so platforms to pay for. So ‘just’ changing the turret makes sense

Marked
Marked
2 months ago

Anyone who believes c3 will enter service in 2030 is tripping. Give it at least another 5 years for the guaranteed MOD errors. By the time it’s in service there’s a good chance it will already be obsolete.

peter french
peter french
2 months ago

Is there really going to be another “conventional War” . I suggest not Further I suggest that Tanks are the now the Dreadnoughts of yesterday and totally vulnerable to air and ground < missile attack
Food for thought

Nathan
Nathan
2 months ago

Surely the point of C3 is maintaining the supply chain’s technical abilities so we have something to bring to the table for whatever international project replaces it.

Britain is happy to cooperate but Britons don’t like becoming dependent on others for technologies we believe we should be able to deliver ourselves.

In short, its political and economic. And, I supposed without technical subject matter experts working in those project teams, we would be able to exert very little influence in the direction of C3’s replacement during its development.

peter wait
peter wait
2 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

The Challenger 2 hull with Hydro-gas is superior to the Leopard 2 which seems to be carrying on with outdated torsion bar system. He is wrong about the engine it is upgraded with new turbos, fans and radiators to produce more power. Using same running gear as Titan and Trojan gives some economies for supply chain. Not sure the leasing of tank transporters under PFI was a saving as often Metcalf Farms seem to be transporting tracked vehicles as well so perhaps mileage in the small print of contract was limited ?

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

“its political and economic” Nail on the head Nathan.

Chally 3 is a totally political procurement, a Leopard 2 lease seems like a a very sensible solution to me, but hay ho, same old, chuck a billion away re-inventing the wheel for a niche requirement that will probably never see any action and probably cancelled in the 2025 SDSR anyway….

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

OK so if you Lease a MBT, and you go into action and compare them like for like with the Lep2 and Ch2. loss rate is set @ 5 to 1. you lose leased units. WHAT DO YOU SELL BACK. you retired some 20 years ago and the Army’s entire procurement issue is. LOST FOCUS AND SPUNKED MILLIONS. every top brass involved in Army procurement should be charged with theft. as you been getting paid for nothing. thick as thick

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

There won’t be a loss rate because Chally3 will never be deployed in anything other than a ‘bit part’ backup, or support roll for Uncle Sam. We’ve lost the capacity to deploy a division with 100 plus Tanks at its core, due to continued hollowing out. A light armoured brigade is about the best we could do now. The future for the UK is light scalable deployments up to a max of 10,000 personnel (for very short periods), but probably no more than 3,500 will be anything like sustainable. That seems to be the decision made and the focus for… Read more »

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

And lets face it, How would a CH3 fleet of say 300 tanks defend the UK isles better than 150 and 300 Apache Attack helicopters. ISTAR would track Tanks and attacked before they crossed the channel. What was a better Tank in WW2 a tiger or a Sherman? So the idiot who wrote this guessing he drives a Mercedes and has had the penis removed from his forehead..

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

The decision is political, CR3 is seen as being British and Leopard is clearly not. Even if Leopard was being built under license in the UK, a lot of money would be flowing out of the country rather than staying within the UK economy. It is less about capability and more about the financial and employment aspects.
CR3 could still be a great tank.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

I think the author is missing a few points. The Leopard is in fact an older tank then the Leopard. So to make out it is the newer tank with a newer hull is incorrect. Challenger 2 has the newer hull. The British armour is arguably the best in the world – Challenger benefits from this, In Iraq a Challenger lost its tracks and got stuck it was attacked from all angles by ATGM and RPGs it only took minor damage. An RPG-29 in a separate incident did penetrate the very low front armour of the CH2 but the weak… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

Correction on my last Leopard is an older desighn than CH2. Also the desighn philosophy is different. The Leopard puts firepower first, then mobility and lastly protection. The Challenger put firepower first then protection and lastly mobility. These vires still feed into both desighns today. Also it is quite plainly a non-startter for the UK to rent tanks tgat are only as good as tge current Leo. We wanted something much better and we have got it in CH3. Best gun, best armour good mobility – what is there not to like. Also the new factory in the UK has… Read more »