In a recent session at the House of Commons, John Martin McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, sought clarity on the contents of the UK’s latest military aid package to Ukraine.

The question was directed towards understanding whether the package included Challenger Main Battle Tanks, amidst reports of significant military support from the UK.

Previously, the United Kingdom had donated 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, weighing 71 tons each. The Ukrainian air assault forces’ 82nd Brigade utilised these tanks, with 13 remaining after one was destroyed in combat near Robotyne, southern Ukraine, last summer.

The Challenger 2, which is the sole tank model in service with the British Army, was also notably used during the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is speculation that the UK’s initial donation of Challenger 2 tanks was intended to encourage other NATO countries to contribute their main battle tanks.

The inquiry was prompted by a press notice published on 23 April 2024 announcing what was described as the largest-ever military aid package to Ukraine during the Prime Minister’s visit to Poland.

Leo Docherty MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, responded to McDonnell’s query, stating unequivocally, “The military aid package announced on 23 April 2024 does not include Challenger Main Battle Tanks.”

While the Challenger tanks were excluded, Docherty highlighted the substantial support that would be part of the aid package. He detailed, “The package does include more than 400 armoured, protected, and all-terrain vehicles, more than 1,600 munitions in the form of both strike and air defence missiles, as well as additional Storm Shadow long-range precision-guided missiles.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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AlexS
AlexS (@guest_816805)
20 days ago

There are no more to send.

Dragonwight
Dragonwight (@guest_816806)
20 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Sure there are. What about that one they upgraded. 🤣

pete
pete (@guest_816812)
20 days ago
Reply to  Dragonwight

The upgraded ones are prototypes for testing, a number will be in long term storage and a bit duff. Also some part converted for upgrade project which would only leave unit ones.

Arson Fire
Arson Fire (@guest_816831)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dragonwight

Can’t believe you got a bite on that one. Kudos!

Jim
Jim (@guest_816814)
20 days ago

It’s quite astounding after years of being slated by fanboys on the Leopard and Abrams that the C2 seems to have performed better than any other tank in Ukraine.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_816870)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Bit of an issue with that. Currently Ukraine only has 7 out of the 13 running due to lack of spares. I’d imagine the British Army is suffering the same or worse.
They have to wait a long time for spares if they come at all.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817082)
19 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Interesting. Where did you hear that UKR only has 7 running?
They have a tank company of 10, so they had 4 spare tanks to start with. 1 destroyed as we know.

I have no idea if we supplied any spare parts, that detail does not get reported.

Typically a British Army fleet should have about 70% fully serviceable at all times, but that is not in combat.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817246)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Morning Graham,

I would assume a reasonable spares package would have to have been delivered along with the tanks, or their availability would be now be rapidly dropping.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817431)
18 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It would be usual to donate a spares pack, but no details were published.

James Hancock
James Hancock (@guest_817247)
18 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

You can’t use up war stock?
That’s what an army stores man would tell you ? 😆

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_816900)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I don’t get where you that information. C2 is considered very underpowered by Ukrainians, its lower frontal armor had to be reinforced because it is very thin, the commander sight is not a search sight like in Leo and M1. It has not blowout panels like Leo and M1.
The only think that Ukrainians gave unreserved praise in C2 is the gun and its long range precision.

JoeF
JoeF (@guest_816912)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Isn’t the gun one of the things that is being changed in the upgrade program?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_816968)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Slight concern that the praise for the gun over its rivals is something it won’t have when it becomes C3. Let’s hope this is mitigated by aspects that of course are not being supplied to those tanks of any variety being given to Ukraine. In all honesty it would seem that Bradleys and CT40 type vehicles along with high mobility types are far more useful to Ukraine than any more tanks. The only advantage to the Russians in terms of tank benefits is that they have so many and have so little concern for loss of life they can sometimes… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817077)
19 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

They call it the sniper tank. They have a criticism not to the gun itself, but that it do not have appropriate rounds for anti-infantry. I tend to agree with your opinion concerning what Ukraine needs more. Insofar as they can continue to be successful killing Russian tanks with other weapons. Bradleys seem have given a good account. For the tank future, i think it is grim because i don’t see the case for new investment in a very heavy gun only for direct fire in a vehicle that will be made at most in 200’s quantities in a battlefield… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817113)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

I had not heard UKR criticism that CR2 does not have any anti-personnel rounds. It is not the primary role of a tank to take on dismounted infantry, its not even generally considered to be a secondary role.

US will make higher quantities of a future tank than the 200’s. So too would any Euro collaborative venture.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817173)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

 It is not the primary role of a tank to take on dismounted infantry

That was the NATO Cold War tactic in 70’s due to large superiority in numbers for Soviet tanks. Not after the end of Cold War, HE and APAM rounds with sophisticated fuses exist long ago, note that target is not only infantry but ATGM teams, buildings.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817375)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

My operative phrase was ‘primary role’ not ‘only role’. Clearly a tank can fire at anything if equipped with the right ordnance and munitions, but with limited numbers of tanks there has to be focus of use. I suspect our tanks will always be up against a larger enemy grouping of tanks and other AFVs, and that was not just a 70’s phenomenon. The US M1 has an impressive variety of rounds that it can fire including the quite new M1028 120 mm anti-personnel canister cartridge and the M908 obstacle-reduction round to destroy obstacles and barriers. The US may well field… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817482)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It is perfectly logic for a Ukrainian to make that criticism since: their Soviet era tanks were multi purpose and the other NATO countries with Leo, M1 also have multi purpose function.
The 120mm NATO evolved, the British 120mm did not. I think that is a legitimate critic.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817533)
17 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Fair enough.

With their APFSDS and HESH, CR2 can engage heavy, medium and light armour, and buildings/strongpoints. They could only take on dismounted infantry with the chain gun and the pintle MG, or even 120mm WP, but have no cannister shot.

Our doctrine is to task infantry supported by artillery to deal with enemy infantry including their ATGM teams. I am content that we focus the very limited number of tanks that we have on the more difficult (better protected) targets.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817093)
19 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Not sure if we supplied 120mm DU ammunition to UKR – I doubt it, but its possible. They have exceptionally good penetration.

Development and Deployment of good anti-drone systems should lessen the tank’s vulnerability to attack drones.

Chris
Chris (@guest_817104)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes we did supply apfsds d rounds.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817791)
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

So we supplied DU 120mm? I wonder if UKR has DU rounds for the Abrams and Leo2s or if they have Tungsten?

Chris
Chris (@guest_818753)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes we 100% did not sure about the other nations to be honest.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817086)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

The comment about CR2 being underpowered seems to have arisen as the Ukrainians sometimes bog them in, and then application of power often does not get them out of the deep, claggy mud. They have very good speed X-country, in large measure due to very much superior suspension than Leo and M1.

In the interest of balance, it might be worth mentioning that UKR has had at least 5 (of 31) M1’s destroyed or very severely damaged and has withdrawn the fleet from combat. Far more of a damning situation there.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817174)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

1200hp vs 1500hp

They have also significant number of minor malfunctions.

Last edited 18 days ago by AlexS
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817376)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yep, Alex, I know that. There are other factors beyond engine hp that determines a tank’s top speed and acceleration, principle ones being weight (thus P/W ratio), gearing, track aggression, and suspension performance.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817575)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Certainly but we are outsiders and from available data we have on Challenger, appears to have less available power. 300hp is also significant.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818048)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

As I said, don’t just look at one number (engine BHP at the flywheel) as there are other factors, which I mentioned,which dictate mobility performance. CR2 can motor cross-country at 40kph (some say faster than that), the same speed as M1 Abrams and just about the same speed as Leo2 (estimates vary but most say 40 or 45 kph).

Chris
Chris (@guest_817101)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Frontal armour on cr2 is normally beefed up before we use them on ops. But we sent them bare. Agree that the engine is underpowered but the Commanders sight is an independent sight or can slave to the gunners.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817579)
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Commander sight in C2 is not a 360º sight unless you slave it to the rotating turret and also do not have thermal image so its not night and smoke efficient.

Chris
Chris (@guest_817102)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Oh and to add it does not need blow out panels as the ammo we use is not 1 piece and the bag charges are stored separately in specific holders below the turret ring.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817110)
19 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

CR2 has no blow-out panels in top of turret bustle – different design philosophy. Bagged charges are more safely stowed in the hull below the turret ring in pressurised Glycol charge bins.

ChrisP
ChrisP (@guest_817230)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Knowledge on this stuff is limited but the publicly released information and news reports: From the known battle actions in Ukraine involving the C2 it’s very arguably the strongest tank on the field. Of the proportion of tanks arrived and used in Ukraine to the losses and destroyed enemy tanks, the C2 is the best current performing tank. I think a lot of that is the armour (the L2 and M1 both use a lesser version of the C2 armour), the gun and shells used (it uses HESH rounds to turn the inside of the tank it hits into a… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_816922)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Due to the limited amount provided and the difficulty in deploying them your statement cannot be accurate.

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_817205)
18 days ago
Reply to  Jim

based on what data exactly?

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_817244)
18 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Noncesence. There are over a 1000 Leopards. It would stand to reason more will be lost

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817387)
18 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

There are not 1000 Leopard tanks of any type in Ukraine, where did you get that little nugget from ?.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_816822)
19 days ago

OK…know there will be plenty of incoming resulting from this question, but am compelled to inquire regardless–what will happen to the delta between the 148 Challenger tanks being converted to CR-3 configuration and the presumed official total of approximately 213 currently serviceable CR-2 tanks (227-14(UKR)?)? Remain in storage? Salvaged? Find it difficult to believe that additional units could not be regenerated, given enough time and budget. Even if it required three tanks to build one CR-3 from stored CR-2s, that would still provide 20+ additional CR-3s. Presumably less expensive and politically more palatable than purchasing foreign tanks. If budget is… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_816826)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Oh now you have opened a can of worms haven’t you?😂

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_816857)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

😁😉

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_816845)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

We bought 386 CR2s, which were fielded from 1998, then deemed to be a very small number. Under the Future Soldier ORBAT the army comes down to just 2 armoured regiments (tank battalions in US-speak), likely to each be 56 tanks strong. Therefore 112 CR3s required in the future Field Force. MoD has decided that just 36 additional tanks are required to serve in the Training Organisation, Repair Pool and Attrition Reserve. Hence 148 CR3s. We do not keep equipment once it has been declared Obsolete for a number of reasons, mainly due to lack of hangar space and the… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_816859)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

🤔😱! Understand, the explanation is complete and logical. Question, does any serving or retired officer ever question the logic of the system? It’s tradition, may not suffice at the Parliamentary Inquiry investigating the state of readiness of the Army prior to the next land conflict.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817019)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I doubt any or many serving or retired officers question the political and economic logic that ensures superseded equipment is quickly disposed of.

We could not easily (if at all) ramp up to the numbers of equipment (manpower is a different story) required for warfighting that is existential for the UK homeland and/or defence of the Continent.

It is all very short-sighted.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817057)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

An honest and quite concerning assessment. Vaguely reminiscent of the post Dunkirk status of the British Army in WW II, intact, but w/out the heavy weapons necessary to successfully confront the Wehrmacht (now Orcs). Unfortunately, the RAF does not possess the same 25 Squadrons of fighter a/c to conduct a second potential Battle of Britain. 🤔😱

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817099)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

If the RAF had 25 Squadrons of Fighters during the Battle of Britain things would have worked out for the worse – ACM Dowding wanted 52 and he got them.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817147)
19 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thought that Dowding told Churchill that he had to reserve 25 Squadrons for home air defence, and therefore could not commit them to the Battle for France. May have transposed number.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817120)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

We only sent 10 manouevre divisions to France (BEF) in 1939 plus 3 Pioneer divs, not the whole army of course. Yes, the BEF lost all their heavy weapons, artillery and vehicles. In those days we could re-equip a lot more quickly and had a large enough army to fight elsewhere despite the Dunkirk equipment losses. The British Army was still able to fight elsewhere in 1940 – ie. Norway, Egypt. Very true about the stretched RAF of today. We have only two Typhoon bases in the UK – 4 sqns at Lossiemouth in Scotland and 2 sqns at Coningsby,… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817159)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

An intriguing theoretical question: which branch would take the least, or conversely, the longest, timeframe to return to Cold War standards, presuming an existential crisis which eliminated budgetary restrictions?

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_817206)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I’d go with the Navy being the longest purley due to the lead-times delivering ships- and army shortest as its far easier and quicker to train men.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817212)
18 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Concur. Deliveries of any, or all, of F-35A, F-35B and Typhoon a/c, though requiring multinational participation for production, could still be accelerated more quickly than expanding/renovating multiple shipyards. 🤔

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817366)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

A very interesting question. It was once said that the RN and the RAF ‘man the equipment’ and the Army ‘equips the man’. A tired cliche and rather pre-dates the era of the Army having a lot of complex equipment to man, so it may well have had more veritas before mechanisation in the 1920s! But a grain of truth survives. The army is nothing without manpower and lots of it. If the MoD sacked Capita, the totally hopeless civilian company that recruits army manpower and reinstates High Street ‘Army Careers Information Offices’, then we stand a chance of speeding… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817223)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

*15. 9 Infantry divisions (split 1/3/3/2 between GCHQ and the various Corps) in the BEF proper. 1 Infantry Division attached to the French 3rd Army. 3 TA Divisions where deployed on rear echlon tasks and further training 1 Armoured Division was sent to reinforce the BEF on the 10th of May 1 Infantry Division deployed to France after operation Dynamo was completed, and had to be evacuated separately. There where also 3 unattached Armoured Brigades. By comparison Norway only saw 4 British Infantry Brigades deploy, and the WDF in 1940 consisted only of: 1 Armoured Division (The Mobile Farce as… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817226)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Huh, never knew there was conflict in Kenya and Somalia (presumably during the North African campaign?)! Thoroughly enjoy learning additional info on widely varied topics on this website. 😊 👍

Dern
Dern (@guest_817260)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Yeah it’s not a very widely publicised campaign. Italy had Ethiopia and most of Somalia as colonies pre-war, and a rather sizeable force, even some minor successes early in the war when the British colonial forces hadn’t been stood up yet. But as I said, eventually the British Army mustered 5 divisions in two formations, and Cunningham did a great job when he assaulted the Juba River with the 1st and 2nd African Divisions, broke through 2 Italian divisions and covered the 200miles to Mog in 3 days. I think it’s not talked about for a few reasons: 1) Despite… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817261)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

And the massive difference between then and now is the ‘vastly’ larger domestic industrial base we had in 1940 and the economy on a war footing. By example, we lost three quarters of our Bren Guns, but ROF Enfield was working 3 shifts, 24 hours a day and turning out substantial quantities a week. All manner of equipment for all three services was pouring out of hundreds of factories and a steady (and rapidly increasing) number of newly trained volunteer and conscript personnel were joining the fight. The often quoted ‘critically short of rifles’ was actually nonsense, that was more… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by John Clark
Dern
Dern (@guest_817275)
18 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

But they where not doing that in 1936, which is more the stage we are at ATM. (Also fun fact about WWI Enfields, the Rifle No 4 wasn’t actually adopted until 1941, until then all issued Rifles where the No 3 (or SMLE MkIII) which was the WWI rifle.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817290)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Morning Dern, I would say the huge difference between now and then is that the UK in the 1930’s was a major industrial world power, that huge manufacturing base could be turned to War production and the actual foundation of the planning for war had started way back in the very early 1930’s. True re the SMLE, in fact both rifles remained in production alongside each other through the bulk of the war, the No4 in three UK factories ( and two North American) and the No1 MK3* via BSA dispersal, being assembled from supplied parts all over the UK… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817299)
18 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I mean I could counter that in 1930 we where a world power that was basically capable of fighitng another world power on its own which is not what we aspire to today, but we can keep this up indefinietly, because the 30s and today are not an exact analogy

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817411)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern. Very different to my own perceptions. I read somewhere that the BEF comprised about half the UK-based British Army – is that about right?

Dern
Dern (@guest_817463)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I mean, it’s really hard to count and depends on your definitions. The British Army in theory had 30 divisions, plus 3 (7th Infantry, the Armoured Division (Egypt), and the 8th Infantry) overseas. But of those 30 divisions 24 where TA, and well, 3 of the Divisions that went to France where still training and being issued kit, which is why they got put on rear echlon security detail while they continued training. So yeah, I mean, on paper, about half would seem right. In practice? If 3 TA divisions got deployed that where still in the process of forming,… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Dern
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817529)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern. I really appreciate your knowledge on this.

It all seems rather sad that today we would have trouble assembling, then deploying just a single warfighting division with full manpower numbers and modern equipment and plentiful ammunition supplies….and have no Army Reserve (was TA) formations at all.

Dern
Dern (@guest_818024)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In fairness: A 1939 TA division only consisted of 7 Infantry Battalions (2 brigades of 3 and one divisional battalion), and 2 RA Regiments with towed guns, plus enablers. You could easily achieve that by splitting 19L in half and moving AR attachments out of the Regular divisions.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818214)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yep, fair enough.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_816902)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’ve been thinking recently that NATO would have gotten a lot of value for money out of a joint vehicle storage/graveyard somewhere dry like Arizona.
Imagine if we still had all those old tanks to donate.

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_816955)
19 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

From what I have read there are about 400 challenger 1 in the Jordanian desert no longer being used . Im not sure the cost benefit ratio but have wondered if these tanks with Jordanian permission , could have been refurbished or maybe the hulls converted to apc use if possible

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_817055)
19 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

And what about the Omani CR2’s?

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817071)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

Yes the Omanis have just over 30 ch2 , also about 30 scorpions I noticed . I’ve had a quick Google scan and looks like oman not replacing ch2 anytime soon. Rheinmettal maybe involved maintaining Omani ch2 tanks or upgrading them but that requires more research. Oman did inquire about the Korean k2 tank before covid but that looks to be on hold . Oman new kit budget is something like 1 billion dollars plus a year. I even read one article that rheinmettal got hold of some ch1 for refurbishment in 2023 but I guess that has gone quiet… Read more »

Chris
Chris (@guest_817106)
19 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

The export cr2e we exported was a much better variant more reliable in most respects and has probably been better looked after so are probably in much better condition than our cr2 fleet.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817671)
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris

There were no CR2E Tanks exported – no one bought any and it was removed from any catologues when Greece chose the Leo2 instead.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817124)
19 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Yes Jordan has finished with the CR1s we supplied them some 20+ years ago. They have been replaced by a mix of Leclerc MBTs and Italian Centauro Tank Destroyers. Not sure what they are going to do with the CR1s. The Jordanians are perfectly capable of refurbishing the CR1s if they wanted to gift them to UKR – very hard for UK to do that – we have no CR1 spares, publications or Special Tools, as they all went to Jordan. Converting a MBT to an APC is very difficult as the powerpack (except for Merkava) takes up the rear… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817145)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

OK thanks I did not realise that Jordan was probably in a better position to refurbish the tanks compared to uk , but that makes sense as we gave them the whole lot for a tuppance. Seems a waste to me as the ch1 chassis have Chobham armour , so a shame for them to be sitting unwanted . Yes I was thinking of the israeli setups of ifv using mbt chassis , but I get what you mean now about engine wanting to be at the front for an ifv conversion , that must make using the ch1 for… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817341)
18 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

I seem to recall that Jordan payed for the UK to do a Base Overhaul on the CR1 tanks (not cheap!!) and shipping costs. They are a relatively poor country (not an oil-rich state) and didn’t have the funds to pay a full market price for them. We had a major problem disposing of the tanks due to their security classification and the solution of passing them on to Jordan with very strict security rules was deemed to be the best solution – it was also a political/diplomatic matter – Jordan was and is a pro-UK middle eastern country. You… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817454)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

A waste as in 400 no longer required, if a possibility they can go to Ukraine , not a waste to go to Jordan . And agree politically a good move

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817492)
17 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Understood. Any possible transfer of CR1s to UKR is very much up to Jordan.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817430)
18 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Jordan has a very good capability in the King Abdullah Design & Development Bureau (KADBB) estb 1999 – I went there once.
They can do major engineering work including Base overhauls and major upgrades on AFVs and can produce their own light combat vehicles such as Fast Strike vehices for Jordan’s SF etc. They upgraded a number of their CR1s to the Falcon standard which incorpprated a 2-man turret.

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817457)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks , I did not realise Jordan had an accomplished vehicle program

Steve
Steve (@guest_817023)
19 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

It involves a cost. Even in the US boneyard there is cost involved in making sure all the stuff in their is maintained to a level that could be recovered. Look at Russia, massive reserves and yet they are struggling to actually get them activated to get them to the front line because they have been stored but not maintained.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817121)
19 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Yep, finding that huge chunk of bone-dry desert in the UK always was going to be a challenge!

Many reasons we don’t keep very old equiment – happy to elaborate if requested.

Jon
Jon (@guest_816947)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Lack of hangar space? Haven’t we closed down enough RAF bases over recent years?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_816974)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jon

My thoughts entirely, as we know the military is just run as any other UK business (predominantly short term and short sighted in nature exploiting or over reality) so conflicts and wars have to fit in with this innate philosophy which only encourages our potential opponents of course. Wouldn’t mind so much if it created even a semblance of efficiency.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817127)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jon

As soon as a redundant RAF base is available it is occupied by one or more army field force units (eg as was the case with RAF Catterick, Kirton in Lindsey, Woodbridge, Wattisham, Brawdy etc etc) or a training org (eg ex-RAF Lyneham) or an army or MoD HQ (eg ex RAF Andover) or is sold off for housing.

Generally they do not lie around disused for years and years.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817252)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We’ve discussed this before mate, it’s so incredibly short sighted isn’t it.

No depth, absolutely none….

It’s quite incredible they didn’t store all the surplus Chally 2’s.

I quite understand that they would have progressively lost their main guns and power packs to sustain the active fleet, so perhaps with both the engine and main gun out of production, those in charge couldn’t see the point is storing what amounts to an empty tracked hull…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817484)
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

John, you are puzzling me. We did store all the surplus Chally 2s. We bought 386 CR2s, fielded with an ISD of 1998. Cameron, as PM, cut the AS-90 and CR2 active fleets in his savage defence cuts of 2010. 159 CR2s went into mothballs in Ashchurch and were designated as the Inactive Fleet or Out-Of-Service Fleet or surplus vehicles, if you like. 227 tanks soldiered on in the Active Fleet. 14 were gifted to UKR thus 213 are now in the active fleet. Of the 159, they were seen as a source for cannibalisation and later some 43 were… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Graham Moore
John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817536)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Morning Graham, my point being that I will wager the majority of the remaining stored Chally 2’s sit without power packs and have been substantially robbed of parts to keep the active fleet going. As we are refurbishing and mildly upgrading the same power pack in Chally 3, I would assume the stored examples are being robbed out even more to provide parts for the rebuild programme. If you are left with little more than gutted hulls, reliant on a limited amount of rebuilt old engine’s, there’s little point in keeping them. Despite the evidence of Ukraine, re the importance… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818040)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Cameron’s defence review of 2010 put 159 Chally 2s into storage in mothballs – Inactive fleet. Some or many of those have been cannibalised over the years and sometime in the 2010-2014 timeframe some 43 of them were scrapped as they were BER. A further number have been scrapped since 2015. We don’t know the details but I doubt that many parts are being robbed from the Inactive fleet for the CR3 programme. Take the turret as just one example – CR3 gets a complete new turret & gun, so no need to rob any turret items from the Inactive… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_818055)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Evening Graham,I would imagine the main component part robbed out for the CH3 line will be the power pack, as this is being rebuilt and mildly upgraded.

I think our CH3 will indeed be effective, but as we have discussed many times, dropping below 3 Armoured Regiments robs us of bare minimum critical mass.

CH3 will serve a niche capability….

I personally think they will never be operationally deployed in strength, unless the Orcs attack!

Last edited 16 days ago by John Clark
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818216)
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Not sure what the Minimum Acceptable Presentation Standard (MAPS) of the donor CR2 is, ie how complete it needs to be and how operational some or all of the assemblies, sub-assemblies and components have to be. As regards the power pack it might be that the MAPS states that the donor tank merely needs to have one fitted and with any faults to be repairable. I read that the donor tank gets a Base Overhaul before being put down the CR3 build line; in reality they must mean a modified Base Overhaul, as there would be no point in overhauling… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818218)
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

We have operationally deployed tanks many, many times in the last 30 years, often at some meaningful number – 221 CR1s in GW1, 120 CR2s in GW2.

Dern
Dern (@guest_816850)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

So the real question is: What state are the remainder in? How many of them have been stripped for parts? How many of them have been left out in the rain and been allowed to rust?
There’s a difference between the US which can stow away M1A1s in the desert for 20 years with zero humidity, and keep the production line for spare M1 parts running, and Challenger 2’s sitting outside in the British weather being the main source for spare parts for the active fleet.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_816862)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Agreed, however if storage costs are exorbitant in the UK, perhaps surplus CR-2s (in reparable condition) could be shipped to US for long-term storage. Hell, believe the US Army is warehousing ~8,000 M1A1s. Surely it would be possible to warehouse <100 additional CR-2s for you Brits? Really, the same logic could be applied to surplus RAF a/c. Believe Davis-Monthan AFB (Boneyard) still has available space.

Dunno, occasionally it might be beneficial to think and act outside the box of tradition/convention. Simply an outsider's perspective…🤔

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_816871)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

That’s enough of that sensible talk.
Reading that Ukraine only has 7 out of the 13 tanks running and spares is a big headache. The British army probably has less than 100 actually working. Take off the ones being sent for upgrades and there is probably a pile of scrap that would cost a fortune to try and fix. Parts supply seems to be an issue.
I don’t hold much hope that challenger 3 will be any better. Unless 30 years worth of spares is being bought

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817190)
18 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

The availability of British military equipment to deploy is rarely publicly stated, except for RN vessels! The last official figure I saw in Open Source was from March 2023 – 157 CR2s were reported to the House of Commons Defence Committee as being available for operations out of 213. That is not a figure that surprises me (70% availability as a snapshot was typical when I was in REME). That does not mean of course that the balance were sat in a rusting heap totally stripped for spares. We always worked on the premise that the 70% figure could be… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_816916)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

That’s very nice of you cheers old boy 🍺 🤗

Dern
Dern (@guest_816962)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

A few issues with that, but, ignoring the cost of chipping hundreds of tanks to America, and then to pay Americans to look after them (and the US would price gouge us), if the CR2s go to America we can’t use them as spare parts sources for our active fleet.

Bear in mind were talking about an institution that was too cheap to build an extra shed for storing CR2’s in.

Last edited 19 days ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817264)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Which is one reason I’ve read of why BATUS was downgraded, the Tanks there were needed in Europe.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817265)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Ah, sorry Dern, I see you’ve covered BATUS further down.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_816981)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Geez wouldn’t that be a welcome transformation. For years we trained on our tanks in Canada at great cost no doubt, but transporting a number to the US to be stored in those conditions long term is apparently totally unthinkable. It’s an attitude I fear that even now revolves around the idea that our forces will only ever be there for show or to operate in limited (generally very limited) short term operations against against low quality opponents. Delusional but the British mindset only seems to change in light of existential threat at one’s front door at which point we… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817156)
19 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Exactly. Unfortunately, per Dern’s post, those hulls have already been shipped to Senelager. Another of my proposed plans, shot in the ass by reality. Oh well…🙄

Dern
Dern (@guest_817220)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Well if it makes you feel better the BATUS hulls are still being used for training, just on the North German plain instead of the Prairie.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817225)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, but it might have served as a convenient pretext to ship CR-2s to some southern tier USA or National Guard base/training area, thus providing an impetus to create longer-term storage areas for non-frontline British equipment. Admittedly, not quite as convenient as Germany, but probably would only require marginally more Ro-Ro sealift capacity to ship and result in significantly less corrosion to the equipment. If/when the balloon goes up, equipment simply folded into materiel convoy(s) headed East to UK/Europe. 🤔

Dern
Dern (@guest_817276)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Again it’s a cute idea but it wouldn’t happen for reasons of access. (Plus as your republican party has just proved, we shouldn’t be trusting America any further than it could be thrown at the moment).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817467)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

So no tanks in BATUS at all now? Do they still run Med Mans in Canada without tanks?

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_816965)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I was fairly sternly reprimanded on here for suggesting that CH2s 149-213 might be in too poor a state of repair to send to Ukraine or be used to expand our CH3 numbers. I’m not saying it’s not the case, but there are differing opinions on what their condition is. I guess the fact that we aren’t sending any more, and clearly not sending enough spares to keep the 14 we have sent in fighting shape, speaks for something. Honestly, I do not understand how we’ve got to the point where the British Army considers the cost of a well-built… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_816970)
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Short answer: There’s a difference between tanks 149-213 and tanks 213-340.
149-213 are not sitting in the rain in Ashchurch, they’re still in various roles across the army, and presumably won’t be released for anything until Future Soldier is achieved.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_816996)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Ah, Ok, so they’re the training ones and suchlike? I’d have thought we could release some of our training ones, but maybe that’s not a good plan…

Dern
Dern (@guest_817001)
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

So the British Army currently operates 3 Challenger Regiments (lets call those hulls 1-168) that’s the current “front-line force.” Then it had 22 in BATUS for training (hulls 169-190, I think these have moved to Senelager) a few more in the UK for training and development purposes (lets say 190-200) and then the Operational Reserve (200-213). Then hulls 214-340 are in long term storage and have been stripped for parts and hulls 341-380 have been scrapped or donated to museums. When the Army moves to future soldier that breakdown will change; hulls 1-148 will be upgraded to Challenger 3 standards… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_817054)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I’m sure there are more than 10 CR2’s in the training fleet. Bovvy, Lyneham, ATDU………….

Dern
Dern (@guest_817067)
19 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Possibly, but if the training fleet is larger then the operational reserve is smaller.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_817111)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Absolutely👍

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817153)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

And thus, at least theoretically, there would be additional hulls (ranging from 1- 65) available that could be upgraded/rebuilt to CR-3 standard? Contention is that could become a very desirable course of action, dependent upon future, currently undefined, requirements.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817211)
18 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Theoretically yes, probably more expensive as naturally they’ll pick the best hulls for the 148 currently slated to be upgraded, but in theory yes.
In practice I’d be surprised if it happened.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_817224)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Understood, thanks. 👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817194)
18 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

We have 213 tanks in the Active Fleet, with 4 different remits (roles) – the majority assigned to the three armoured regiments and the balance split between: the Trg Org (REME and RAC); the Repair Pool and the Attrition Reserve. All 213 tanks have a key role.

We already gifted 14 of our Active Fleet tanks to UKR (it was 227), so took a hit. If we gifted more it would impact further on meeting those 4 different remits. As it is we are batch-feeding 148 of those 213 tanks to Industry for the CR3 conversion.

Steve
Steve (@guest_817051)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I wonder if they would give a straight answer to that under a freedom of information request. I suspect not.

Information on what equipment is actually available would at least help drive buying decisions, which is let’s face it mainly about politics and what the media is reporting on.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817196)
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The Equipment Support Manager and the Chain of Command will know the assignment of tanks to roles and locations and their availability. All in the procurement process will know. Does the General Public need to know?

Steve
Steve (@guest_817242)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

My view yes. The hiding of the real situation has led to where we are at, its clearly not a good thing.

Look at Germany, once the public became aware of the state of their equipment there was massive pressure to fix the issue which is what is now happening.

In the US they have it all in the public domain and senators are constantly pushing the topic.

Clearly not the golden bullet to solve the issues, as the public and media would need to engage with the data but it would be a start.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817291)
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

In Germany it was less a case of “the public becoming aware” and much more “a largely pacifist public that was very much against the employment of the Bundeswehr outside of the defence of Germany itself simply didn’t care.”

Steve
Steve (@guest_817292)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

That is no longer the case though. The gaps have been exposed and their expenditure now exceeds ours. They are rearming significantly but it is expected to take decades, like it would for the UK if the money was there.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817298)
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Again, it’s not that the gaps where exposed, they weren’t exactly hidden. It wasn’t some huge expose that showed up the Bundeswehr, it’s just that the public started to care.

Steve
Steve (@guest_817304)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

A bit of both. There were rumours of issues but it didn’t really get a light shined on it until Russia attacked Ukraine. I guess the difference is the UK isn’t under any form of risk of attack whilst Germany is.

Unfortunately with Poland, France and Germany all rebuilding, even Italy is and the UK continuing to cut, one of key negotiations card we had with the EU is reduced, as they don’t need us as much.

Last edited 18 days ago by Steve
Dern
Dern (@guest_817452)
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I disagree about characterising them as rumours. If you where a German speaker and interested in defence in the 2000’s the readyness state of the German Army was not “rumours” it was known fact, it just didn’t really go beyond enthusiasts because, as I found out first hand, the reply to talking about readyness states would usually boil down to “We are surrounded by friends, we do not want to invade anyone, and frankly we think we should be supporting the Americans in Afghanistan and suspect it’s unconstitutional.” (Also Germany really isn’t under much more risk of attack than the… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_817540)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

You make a good point Dern, the Americans can and do bring long stored M1’s in from decades of storage and completely re-life them, they effectively roll out a brand new M1A3 with the latest systems.

Some of these examples have been in store since being withdrawn from Europe in the mid 1990’s!

Re our Stored Chally 2’s, you can absolutely guarantee they have been ‘extensively’ robbed of parts.

Last edited 17 days ago by John Clark
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_816863)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

…could effort…be deferred…🙄

Steve
Steve (@guest_817021)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I suspect the answer is there isn’t really 200 odd currently in any state to be used. The hull is in the active service number but its been raided for parts to keep the others going.

Chris
Chris (@guest_817105)
19 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Trust me when I say many are not serviceable and that’s from when they went into storage after they removed cr2 from many armoured regiments.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_816830)
19 days ago

We need to start thinking about the next generation of MBT or its equivalent. With APS and additional armour, the C3 will weigh @80 tons. Deploying it over long distances will be extremely demanding. And even with its unequalled armour protection, it will still be vulnerable to PGMs whether delivered by missile, UCAV, manned aircraft or ever longer range artillery. To punch through prepared defences it needs to be employed en masse which increases vulnerability to weapons like Brimstone. To act defensively, it needs to be well hidden. I suspect the next generation of mobile protected firepower might have to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_816846)
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Can’t see CR3 quite being at 80t. Fresh from the factory it is just 1t heavier than CR2. Maybe it will be 73-75t at TES standard.

We are very used to deploying very heavy MBTs over distance into Theatre, and have the kit to do it – sealift, hired railflats and HETs.

I fully agree that we cannot continue with an upward weight spiral for our MBTs, and that the next tanks (beyond CR3) will have to be revolutionary rather than evolutionary.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_816880)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Good afternoon Graham, something that was touched on before. Correct me if I wrong but the CR3s don’t have any anti drone tech mounted on them? I saw somewhere a recent MSI UK-Polish 12.5mm counter drone mount that looks like it could fit on the turret top. Do you reckon the Army would be looking into some sort of protection for these new CR3 tanks? What was your take again on the C1-2(1) tanks in Jordan, are they a completely different earlier model? Wouldn’t it be prudent for the UK to grab 100 of those for upgrade/reserves? Something newer would… Read more »

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral (@guest_816887)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

My issue is that we have say 200 of something. But in peacetime only operate 50 of them. However, instead of , correct me if I am wrong, rotating these 50 with the 150 currently not being used, it seems to me that the 50 are kept running by the cheapest possible method, pinching parts. Giving you in effect an actual fleet of 50 and not a politicians 200. Moreover as has been mentioned before we seemingly have no upgrade strategy other than expensively re working the entire fleet when they virtually get declaired obsolescent. I have to ask, just… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_816910)
19 days ago

Sorry AA, others here can give a more expert answer to that than me. From my couch I’d go more for a 200 number, 3 tank battalions, almost a rule of three plus a reserve. I know that some countries on the Eastern flank have and are boosting their tank numbers but if they ever needed substantial help from us, could we do it with 148? Is it too big as leap to go to 200? Question is, what is too much and unnecessary and when is being too lean not effective? Note sure on the AS90. Wasn’t a rebarrelling… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817468)
18 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

If Russia invaded a NATO country, we will deploy our forces to Europe. All tanks wil be useful.

Many AS-90 SPGs were supposed to receive the Braveheart upgrade over 20 years ago, one aspect being the installation of a 52-cal long-range gun of the same calibre (155mm). It is said that it was cancelled as the South African company, Somchem, contracted to supply the ammunition, could not make IM (Insensitive Munitions).

Dern
Dern (@guest_816966)
19 days ago

I think you might be confusing a few things? So we generally have 150 frontline challengers in 3 Regiments (until the KRH give up theirs) and another 50ish in training roles. Those 3 regiments will rotate through a readyness cycle, mostly for the crews sake. So 1 Regiment with 50 tanks will be at high readyness, just finished their training and ready to go out the door at short notice. That unit will be the highest priority for spare parts. It’s somewhat rare to move tanks from unit to unit to enable this and generally only happens if one of… Read more »

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral (@guest_817116)
19 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks for that. No confusion…I was asking a general question, not specifically about tanks which you have answered quite succinctly.
AA

Dern
Dern (@guest_817218)
18 days ago

Ah the 200 number threw me off.

Graeme
Graeme (@guest_816888)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I wonder if a Ch3 turret could be put on a Ch1. Might be option to send to Ukraine instead of sending anymore Ch2s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817197)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graeme

Only Jordan has CR1s (all parked up in a desert compound and out of service now). Jordan has replaced them with a mix of Leclercs and Centauros. They have zero interest in buying and putting CR3 turrets on their retired CR1s and sending them to UKR.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_816894)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

*CR1-CR2?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_816917)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Trophy is being improved in Israel to counter drones. Tests already being made.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_816923)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I don’t think Jordanians have any C1 remaining they even put some under water for fish homes. Their armored teeth are Leclercs from UAE and Centauros from Italy.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817257)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Jordanians used Khalid Tanks to make Reefs, one step away from a CR1.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_816927)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Jordanian CR1 conundrum has been done to death on here – it ain’t happening move on.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817469)
18 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Exactly. It has got nothing to do with us. They are not our tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817282)
18 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

CR3 does not have a purpose-built anti-drone system and that should be no surprise for two reasons – a. the design was locked in and b. we have no history of providing each AFV in our inventory with counter-measures for each and every possible threat. The Initial Design Review (IDR) for CR3, which we always used to call the Preliminary Design Review, was held in March 2022. The follow-on Critical Design Review (CDR) was done in Jan /Feb 2023. So the design is locked in to enable production of prototypes. We are procuring 60 Trophy APS for CR3 but they… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_816920)
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Ch2, armed, fueled and crewed reached 75 tons. The Ch3 is reported as weighing 3.5 tons more. So getting close to 80t. With the fleet reduced to 148, we do have the capacity to move them long distances. But the weight does limit manoueverability- too heavy for many bridges for example.

DJ
DJ (@guest_817022)
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

In much of Europe, you can get away with it (relatively small countries with relatively high populations). There is another bridge just down the road (10km away), though there are exceptions. When you get to larger countries in just about everywhere else, just down the road is 200km away & if that doesn’t suit the next one is another 200km away. Even countries like USA & Canada, once you move away from the highly populated areas, the same applies. In Japan, they created the Type 10 mbt, because their NATO standard style tank couldn’t operate anywhere but their largest northern… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817214)
18 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Unfortunately, the big heavily armoured tanks we have are about as fast and manuverable in a tactical sense as you can get. Go much above 30mph (which virtually all tanks can achieve) and it doesn’t matter how light your vehicle is; it might technically be capable of going faster, but suspension and crew will limit it. This boils down to Tactical, Operational and Strategic Mobility, which are not mutually inculsive. A MBT, even a 70+t one, has good tactical mobility, that is, off road, moving into position, firing, relocating. It’ll be more mobile than most 8x8s and definitely more mobile… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Dern
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817288)
18 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

I recalled that combat-laden TES standard CR2 was 72 tonnes, but my memory may be adrift. RBSL has stated that the ex-factory CR3 is just 1 tonne heavier than a base CR2 on their very useful comparative graphic. Anyway, what’s a small number of tonnes difference between friends?! Up to now in our cvarious combat operations, our tanks have been able to cross many bridges in western and central Europe as they are strong bridges and AFAIK we did no bridge crossing in the two Gulf Wars. We have military bridging and ferrying capability, don’t forget, that enables gap crossing… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817294)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Don’t forget that a lot of that 72tonne weight is add on Armour Kits. If someone geniuenly deployed a CR3 into theatre and felt it needed to trade armour for “manuverability” it could in theory just operate without it’s add on kits.

If operational commands decide that the add ons are worth it, then they’re probably doing it for a reason.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_816909)
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

I think something along the lines of a Type 10 with APS could be the future: enough frontal armour to face a tank gun, enough side armour to weather SPAA and perhaps IFV autocannons, and APS to defeat shaped charges.

Markam
Markam (@guest_816995)
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

I’ve often argued we need a lighter tank. Not as light as the Ajax or M10 Booker but at least 50-60 tons, a heavier Type 10 or the Black Panther tank from Korea. And we need to make them, lots of them. Probably in unison with a like-minded countries, perhaps a next gen MBT programme with Japan or Korea, hook in the Black Panthers growing user base. The Koreans are pretty open with cooperation evidenced by their licensing agreements with Poland and the UK defense industry surely has something to bring to the table. Plus we could build some of… Read more »

DJ
DJ (@guest_817032)
19 days ago
Reply to  Markam

Personally I would aim less than that. The heavier you get, the less manoeuvrability you have. Your best chance of survival is not being hit.

Markam
Markam (@guest_817040)
19 days ago
Reply to  DJ

A lot of people seem to subscribe to the opposite way of thinking, even so far as to saying the Type 10 (under 49 tons) isn’t going to survive in Europe. I think they’re overplaying the importance of heavy armour and while I understand we are used to hauling about the super heavy C2 there is no real reason we shouldn’t downsize other than dogmatic thinking.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817470)
17 days ago
Reply to  Markam

Overplaying the importance of heavy armour? It is pretty important to provide the best protection that is possible. Would you like to go to war in a poorly protected vehicle?

Markam
Markam (@guest_817564)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sorry, my wording was not clear. The armour used on some of the more modestly weighted tanks is also well protected, but the tanks themselves are lighter due to a smaller design, and benefiting from 20-30 years of technological & metallurgic improvements to reduce weight. I am not talking about the UK using lightly armoured tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818045)
16 days ago
Reply to  Markam

Thanks mate. I think the next generation of MBTs (post CR3) will have to be lighter but as well protected as required – I agree with your ways to achieve that, plus one more:

  • materials improvements for the main structure.
  • reduce crew numbers to 3, to 2 or to zero.
  • develop a much lighter primary weapon system and ammn.

Before that era, I also think there is merit in fielding medium weight tanks/fire support platforms/assault guns for medium-weight brigades, similar to Booker M10.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_817066)
19 days ago
Reply to  Markam

I’ve heard before about there being the possibility of 75mm or 105mm versions of Ajax’s CTA cannon. Given that the increased armour penetration of CTA has been widely publicised, would a larger calibre be able to effectively counter MBTs? If a larger (CTA is still very much smaller than an equivalent conventional gun) turret were developed for Ajax it would create a Booker style vehicle on an existing hull overspecced for the current armament, with more mobile antitank and also armoured fire support being available in larger numbers than the CR3s. I have no military experience at all so there… Read more »

Markam
Markam (@guest_817078)
19 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

I have no special knowledge either but the Booker uses the same chassis as the Ajax so the Ajax should have no trouble mounting a 105 and there are multiple examples of other ASCOD vehicles using it. It just so happens that the L7 105 is the UKs most successful tank gun with variants still being made even now.

It would be better than nothing but doctrine would need to change as you can’t use them like MBTs. Would rather we just figure out what our next MBT is.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_817114)
19 days ago
Reply to  Markam

A fire support AJAX variant was in the original (now deleted) requirement.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_817115)
19 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

A CT 105 would be a beast. Upscaling would be problematic to that calibre but a 50mm or 75mm would be an interesting development.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_817136)
19 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

It’s actually no problem at all, it’s already been done ! Our Ajax variants are based on ASCOD, the USA is now introducing the M10 Booker. It’s also an up engined version of an ASCOD, only problem is it’s also built by GD and they rather blotted their copy book with Ajax.
Oh it isn’t a Tank, it’s an MPF Mobile Protected Firepower. It’s lightly armoured but is there to provide extra fire power so a bit like an assault gun.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_817155)
19 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Booker’s 105mm is conventional rather than CTAS, which is what I was suggesting. I thought that the advantages in ammunition carriage and compactness, along with the boost to penetration, would allow an Ajax with “CTA105” to, if not comfortably beat, then at least compete with MBTs along with a fire support role.
Only the sketchiest of work was done in the US into 105mm CTA, though, so a 75mm would be more likely.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817215)
18 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

In fairness, the 105mm on the M10 is, as far as I can tell, based on the old 105mm gun that was on the original M1 Abrams, which in turn was based on the L7 found on Leopard 1, which has seen service in Ukraine.
It has an APFSDS round too so it is capable of competing with some MBT’s. Not that I’d want to, but if pushed into a corner it still has some claws.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817580)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

In recent Canadian tank exercise CAT 24 in Latvia a Italian Centauro team with old model 105mm reached 3rd place just behind the British Army Challenger 2 in 2nd. Now an exercise is certainly a limited scope but they could get in front of 120mm tanks.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_817157)
19 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Just imagine a 120mm version and the penetration power that would have.
Chally 4, anyone?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817201)
18 days ago
Reply to  Markam

We already have Observor status on the Franco-German tank project.

Micki
Micki (@guest_816878)
19 days ago

Send the new 148 ones , the 2 Carriers , the 15 escorts and the 150 fighters, they Will be soon retired in further cuts, at least they can be employed in something useful right now.

Last edited 19 days ago by Micki
Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_816879)
19 days ago
Reply to  Micki

Now you could be taking the “micki”..? 😆

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_816892)
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

That’s all he ever posts.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_817139)
19 days ago

I read today that there were no trials of the RCH155, no competition with other options. Seems it was a straight decision made by “Rambo” Sunak and announced when he was over in Germany. Which has pretty well made a nonsense of the new procurement process.
I can’t help feeling it’s a knee jerk reaction but maybe he is looking at his future Post GE.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817266)
18 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Morning mate.
With no army involvement or recommendation?? If true, well, how typical of politicians.
Hope it actually works I read its not in service yet as UKR don’t yet have theirs.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817199)
18 days ago
Reply to  Micki

The 148 CR3s won’t all be built until 2030.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_816921)
19 days ago

Reading earlier that the Ukrainians are pulling M1 Abrams out of the front line ? apparently not performing well and taking to many losses .

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_816998)
19 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

None of the tanks are excelling it seems. Leopards are criticised for being too complex and unreliable needing to go back to Germany for many fixes, the Abrams for poor top armour protection against drones amongst other things and Challenger for lack of spares and power deficiency, it’s not a great environment for tanks generally sadly, maybe no future battlefield will be and a rethink is required but I guess there is no one environment, state of affairs or technological changes that give clear enough answers that anyone wants to understandably commit to it seems. Tanks seem to be best… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817074)
19 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I just don’t understand how there can be a lack of spares for challenger vehicles . It does not make sense to me . Its completely negligent , if there is no spare part production in peacetime then the attrition rate in war time will be worse than enemy hits . Yes companies go out of business but there is zero excuse to have not enough spares . The cost of spares must be cheaper than a new tank . Every single part of a challenger tank should have an Oracle number 🙂

Last edited 19 days ago by rst 2001
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817200)
18 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Spare parts are made in peacetime of course, but when a supplier goes bust that is clearly going to cause a supply chain problem!

The Equipment Support Manager must have an Obsolescence plan. There are several options open to him before cannibalisation rears its ugly head – happy to bore you on the subject!

Not sure what an Oracle number is – but all spares have a NATO Stock Number, NSN.

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817250)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Nsn and Oracle software number sound like the same thing . The very large telecoms Ltd company I know uses Oracle software as its stores database , every nut and bolt hardware , , spare parts for old and new kit is identified, well 99 percent of it and advises whether in stock , out of stock , waiting shipment , obsolete use this product instead, manufacturer etc its quite organised

Dern
Dern (@guest_817281)
18 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

It’s a similar system, though NSN isn’t precisely linked to specific software (as each NATO member will have it’s own software system and Database).

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_817349)
18 days ago
Reply to  Dern

OK thanks 👍

Julian
Julian (@guest_817297)
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I wonder how this issue might become at least somewhat less of a problem in future generations of MBTs etc. Some companies are 3D printing rocket engine parts and other high-load heavy machinery such as engine parts now and I am sure the boundaries for what can be 3D printed will continue to be pushed back. For equipment with very long planned in-service dates I can imagine a future where the supplier(s) could be required as part of the initial contract to put as many design files as possible (e.g. 3D printing templates and associated input material formulas) into escrow… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817491)
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian

Thanks Julian, REME is no stranger to 3D printing and acquired four bespoke printers 4 years ago. This from REME’s FB page in 2020: “Last week, Thursday 16 July, 5 Bn REME received a visit from CGS, DCGS, and DCap at Army HQ, to speak to them about the 3D Printing ‘Makerspace’ which had been created for them by HoC CSS.  4 of these containers will be fielded across the Army over the next 2 months, and will provide the ability to print spare parts, prototypes, and conduct Expedient Repair on the front line”. From http://www.forcesnet of a few hours… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_817216)
18 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Because we shut the production lines down in the 90’s, and nobody really thought we’d stilll be operating Challenger into the late 2020’s. So if you want spares, you basically have to build the factory from scratch.

Julian
Julian (@guest_817285)
18 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The lower engine power of the C2 is one thing I’ve seen mentioned in quite a lot of comments on this article including yours. Am I correct in thinking that this is something that is not being improved for C3?

I seem to remember reading a while back that while some earlier C3 concepts did include increasing the engine horsepower (maybe with a totally new engine) what actually made it to the funded project was some improvements to fuel injection on the exiting engine. Will that yield any power increase or is that purely for improved reliability and/or reduced maintenance?

Dern
Dern (@guest_817296)
18 days ago
Reply to  Julian

It’s not being improved for C3 correct. There is a engine upgrade program that is running in parallel, but what exactly they’ll do to the engine and how much funding it will get (or if it will be funded!) is something I don’t actually know.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_817007)
19 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Western tanks are primarily designed for tank-on-tank battles, which I am sure the Abrams tank is still excellent at.

The problem is when expensive, scarce, and technically complex pieces of kit are vulnerable to attack by drones which are cheap and plentiful, I guess UKR does not want to expose them too much to drones.

DJ
DJ (@guest_817027)
19 days ago

From my point of view, tank on tank is a now a dead end. Find a tank, kill it with something else. Don’t find it, then accuracy & range will be paramount. Ukraine seems to be using the C2 as a sniper. It’s way cheaper than a Javelin if you don’t actually need one.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_817168)
19 days ago
Reply to  DJ

I would agree with that. There needs to be a move to killing vehicles at distance. A vehicle can still have a big gun but if most of its engagements happen beyond a few km can the tank be made lighter.
One issue maybe populated areas with perhaps top armour is needing improvement. Smaller cannons maybe more useful or just keep tanks out of them completely. Much as I hate to admire the Russians perhaps they are onto something with the terminator vehicle style.

Dern
Dern (@guest_817217)
18 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

This fighting at range stuff isn’t a new revelation, we’ve been killing tanks with tanks at ranges out to 5km since Gulf War 1. It’s only a revelation to people who think that War Thunder and movies are what Tank Warfare looks like. If a APFSDS round can kill a vehicle at 5km then you still need armour, and if ATGM’s can reach 4km then again, you still need armour. Urban areas are a nightmare for anything going into them, tanks, infantry, vehicles, it’s just a horrible environment and you will loose a lot of anything if your opponent wants… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_817045)
19 days ago

We’ve far too few left anyway so donating any more is suicidal.

WSM
WSM (@guest_817056)
19 days ago

Wonders will never cease – John McDonnell asking a Defence related question : for a man who’s spent his entire political career as an IRA cheerleader its a wonder the words didn’t stick in his seditious throat. I thought he’d lost the Labour whip along with Corbyn and Abbot?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_817268)
18 days ago
Reply to  WSM

Yes I noted that. Worrying, isn’t it.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817117)
19 days ago

I agree we need to send more but we also need to build more. But NO military vehicle should be scrapped before first offering it to the Ukraine forces.
If they are determined to only upgrade a pitiful 148 to challenger 3 then the rest should be offered to Ukraine.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817187)
18 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

You can’t build tanks with current industry. I don’t even think that in UK there still an industry that is able to build a tank gun. I suppose that would need know how from Germany.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817198)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Who said we couldn’t? Care to give a link?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817210)
18 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Check for this in Google , From ShepardMedia

UK no longer able to manufacture large-calibre gun barrels, BAE Systems admits

The UK may need to cannibalise stored Challenger tanks and AS90 howitzers to source replacement barrels for platforms sent to Ukraine as no manufacturing capability currently exists.

Note this is the expected result of not producing guns for years.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817213)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Which does not mean we could not regenerate the capability of we wished. That is because of the challenger 2 barrels are rifled.
Which no one ever made except the Brits.
However it does not mean we could not regenerate the capability if we wished. There is a big difference between no longer manufacturing and unable to manufacture.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_817232)
18 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

You are moving goalposts: I never said that it could not be recreated.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817331)
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Not moving anything and they were your goal posts Just pointing out a fact.
Yes we no longer have the capability but we haven’t lost the knowledge.
As for building more CH3. Considering very little ch2 components are being used. Basically the hull, these could be relatively easily buiit.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_817391)
18 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

RBSL have stated that production of new build CR3 is possible should a customer request this.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817404)
18 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Hopefully their will be more built

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817475)
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Scrapping an Obsolete vehicle is the last resort. We aim to donate them to Ukraine or sell them, usually at auction. We scrap very few Obsolete vehicles.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_817489)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Isn’t that what I said ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817535)
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

My clumsy wording. I thought you were under the impression that the default option for disposal of Obsolete equipment was to scrap it. Apologies.

JohnB
JohnB (@guest_817119)
19 days ago

What about buying back and then donating some of the Challenger I tanks sold to Jordan?
They still had 80 in service as of last year apparently.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_818423)
14 days ago
Reply to  JohnB

It is up to Jordan as to what to do with their Al-Hussein CR1s.
We would be unable to refurbish them – we gifted all the spares, publications, Special Tools & Test Equipment etc to Jordan….but Jordan could do that refurb – it’s all up to them.

Yankee
Yankee (@guest_817408)
18 days ago

Is this the British solidarity? If UK is true friend she would have donated 1000 C2 tanks by now!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_817537)
17 days ago
Reply to  Yankee

I guess you are American? …and like an ironic joke? I am sure you know that we only ever had 386 CR2s and have just 213 left now on the active list, of which 148 are being turned into CR3s for the British Army.