Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) will upgrade 148 tanks to the new ‘Challenger 3’ standard, extending their service out to 2040.

The firm say that the £800m project will provide 200 skilled jobs at RBSL, including 130 engineers and 70 technicians.

A further 450 jobs will be established throughout the wider supply chain across the West Midlands, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Isle of Wight.

What will the new upgrade mean for the vehicles?

According to the British Army, the overhaul will include:

  • a new 120mm smoothbore gun which uses the most advanced globally available ammunition
  • a new suite of sights providing tank commanders with enhanced day and night targeting abilities
  • new modular armour
  • an active protection system
  • a turret that can be fitted to the tanks of allies and global partners

Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Chris Tickell CBE said:

“The Integrated Review described a transformed Army that will be more lethal, better protected and better connected than any of its comparators. Challenger 3 is a manifestation of exactly that change and will sit at the heart of our warfighting capability. Its digital open architecture will ensure that it is integrated across the battlefield, its main armament will overmatch its adversaries and the crew will be afforded a unique level of protection. It is a battle winner.”

The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) James McGeary said:

“Key design changes on the Challenger 3 provide a growth path to further increase the already enhanced lethality offered. These growth options will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of Main Battle Tank design and can adapt and respond to future threats and challenges.”   

Image via RBSL.

The British Army also say here that as part of the Challenger 3’s layered protection, the fleet will also be the first to receive the best active protection system (APS) allowing it to recognise incoming threats and neutralise them.

“The tank will undergo full electromagnetic testing to ensure it is survivable in the most demanding of sensor saturated battlefields. The world leading new modular armour has been developed through advances in armour technology provided by the in-house Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) funded armour expertise held within Dstl. This Dstl owned Intellectual Property (IP) has generated significant interest and is being exploited through the close links Dstl has with MOD and Industry. 

Challenger 3 will lead NATO armoured forces with the highest levels of lethality and survivability on the battlefields of today and out to 2040. It achieves this not only by using the new gun, but also by making use of the most advanced ammunition available globally from our allies. The new suite of sights gives the tank commander an independent day / night all weather hunter killer capability, which allows them to acquire and engage targets quicker than potential adversaries.”

You can read more from the British Army here.

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Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
1 month ago

And the Engine Upgrade ? or is that not included, it has been mentioned in other reports…🤔

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

AIP package already announced (new fuel injection system and transmission), also new hydrogas suspension.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I hear the hydrogas suspension is being reused from scrapped Austin Allegros.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

lol….😄

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

I was beginning to think I was the only one old enough to get that one Captain…..

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Lol again….

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I Remember my dad pulling his Austin to bits with a Haynes manual in one hand and a lump Hammer in the other…I decided to stop tying to help fix it after he started repeatedly hitting the wheels with the hammer as hard as he could while shouting “if I can fix a f%&king jet I can F%%king well fix this ( many expletives ) car”. Fond memories of many a family day out being ruined by that car, not working….I had a Lada Vas which was far more reliable.

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Did he work on Nimrods then? Same toolkit for both jobs…

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Hi Capt, I was given to understand that this is being done under a different contract, believe that Catapiller are involved, upgrading the engine via a direct rail injection system, or something like that. Believe it increases the power upton1500bhp or something like that.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

I think the new plant will be 1600 bhp.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Tremendous news

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Even better then. Should provide a timely boost to its agility.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Wouldn’t mind that in my Transit !

Keef
Keef
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Just hope the TN54 G/Box is replaced as it struggled with 1200 bhp never mind 15 or 1600.
The whole automotive area needs replacing: engine, gearbox, APU, running gear etc. Suspension when not leaking is brill but needs reliability improvement.
Basically all the above is 1970’s technology.
I know, I trialled it all a quarter of a century ago and more recently

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Keef

From the info I got the gearbox and final drives are also being upgraded as part of the program. With all the additional modular armour, the extra weight has played havoc on the final drives, really shortening their lives.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Is this the latest Peddle assisted Duracell power pack per chance ? 😅

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Lol yes I’m sure it is!!🤣🤣

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

👌

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Believe up rated turbos have removed need for common rail, dirt, moisture plus bacteria and fungus that attacks fuel sponges and bags not good for common rail systems as they have very close tolerances !

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  peter wait

Cheers Peter, wasn’t aware of the change in direction on this. I wonder if costs are also behind the change?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

There’s talk of 60mph!

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

speedy stuff! i heard apparently the challenger has excellent tractions despite slow speed and therefore can maneuverer like a greased member of parliament. is this true?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m
Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

holly crap thats over powered! 60mph for that amount of protection! programable ammo! what is this a tank from 5050! coor! i would do anything to have one of them!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Only on roads & not when prepared for Theatre Entry, surely.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Never heard that expression before, thanks.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Yes, even though it is heavier and has less power, when crossing really rough terrain, the hydrogas system allows it to float over it faster than either an Abrams or Leopard.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Takes a long time to remove a twisted torsion bar from Leopard when battle damaged, Expect torsion bars have all to be changed when extra armour added to leopard or splines repositioned to correct ride height. Hydro-gas just needs a bit more nitrogen added! Would also think torsional dampers on bars also problematic with weight of tanks!

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

The current Challenger is built for protection and firepower and not speed. But its cross country speed is very compatible to other tanks… this is due to the excellent hydrogas suspension. The enables the tank to fire more accurately on the move. The new tank will have an upgraded suspension system.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

yes i understand. things have come a long way since ww2 and the early cold wars where menuverbility was everything. now days u can menuver all u want but the atgms will eventually get u.

peter wait
peter wait
23 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Think the top rollers and pads would fly off at that speed, track top speed being twice road speed. Don’t know what the stopping distance would rise to ! Fitting tandem master cylinder , pipes and slave cylinder might be a good idea as there would be a lot of mass relying on seals .Most mechanics think 60 mph delusional and dangerous due to forces on transmission and running gear!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
23 days ago
Reply to  peter wait

One does wonder if the release meant kph rather than mph, mind.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Good stuff.
Pity about the number but considering the British Army have 3 front line Armoured Regiments, planned to reduce to 2 before this latest reorganisation, why would we need more.

I feel it’s important we retain the capability.
Also pleased there’s an APS in there.

Now prioritise the RA please.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

To be brutally honest Danielle I’d put all the remaining Challenger 2’s into Long Term Storage ( plenty of options – ex RAF Base maybe) retain a Training Cadre etc and have them as an Insurance policy just in case the Brown Stuff really Hit the Fan. Money is obviously tight at the moment, £800 million could be better spent elsewhere, ie more Ajax and Boxer.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Sorry about your name spelling – mobile phone fingers 🤞

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

No worries.

dave12
dave12
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

I heard they are in storage at christchurch at the moment.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Would you happen to know how many we have in storage?

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Fishing expedition??

dave12
dave12
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Nope sorry.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

We bought 408 tanks, delivered from 1998. Some 227 are in service, (but I don’t know the breakdown of this figure), 59 in training fleet, therefore 122 in storage although I heard that one vehicle was written off. Not sure whether the BATUS vehicles are counted in the training fleet or the in-service numbers. Many more for storage now that the in-service fleet will go down to 112 in two regiments. CR3 fleet will be just 148, ie 112 in-service plus a mere 36 to be split between BATUS, UK-based training fleet and the attrition reserve in storage. Did someone… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

Many thanks for this information Graham, at least we still have an additional 122 that could be upgraded if required.

A sorry state of affairs in my opinion.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Christchurch? You mean Bovington?

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago

No, I think he means Ashchurch?

dave12
dave12
1 month ago

Sorry I meant Ashchurch depot Tewkesbury, thats what I heard from a former CH2 guy ,could be wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by dave12
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Well yes, there are several thousand vehicles in Ashcurch. Not all in CHE mind.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Thanks M. It was due to close a few years back so pleased to see the MoD changed that decision. It stores several thousand vehicles, boats, and plant, and has rail access.
Madness to move it but it did need updating as the article states as several army forums describe the shit state some of the vehicles are in when in non CHE hangers.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago

Land contaminated with asbestos so not such a good buy for some chum to develop for housing !

Ian M
Ian M
1 month ago

Ashchurch

dave12
dave12
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Sorry I meant Ashchurch.

Nic
Nic
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

The question has to asked do we really need tanks in the modern conflict , with so many countries looking at drone aircraft , remotely control crewless tanks and even small ships

Tenordream
Tenordream
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

No, the question really doesn’t need to be asked. They are essential. Otherwise every nation in the world wouldn’t be upgrading them.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Tenordream

We don’t/won’t know until or unless they are put to the test in a representative testing conflict, everyone is upgrading them because they don’t know either until similarly put to the test. No one wants to risk getting it wrong or jumping to soon despite there being serious questions over their viability especially since the Armenian debacle. For Britain a small amount of very effective and well defended tanks is still vital while alternative solutions are examined and tested I think but in a decade who knows what the best option(s) will be I certainly doubt it will be a… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I wouldn’t use the Armenian conflict as a benchmark. Armenia were significantly out “teched” by Azerbaijan, as they had both Israeli and Turkish assistance. It would be interesting to see how successful the suicide drones are against a more representative opponent. If anything I would base my assumptions on the Ukrainian conflict as both sides are about level technology wise. There is simply no alternative to the MBT, which marries both fire power and protection. In the future it will still be a numbers game. Where the success of a MBT and its use will be dictated by how successful… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

It is fair to say there “…is simply no alternative to the MBT, which marries both fire power and protection”, if the goal is to define a vehicle we can position where it will receive incoming fire that would overwhelm every other vehicle in a similar position, such as IFV/APCs. It doesn’t necessarily mean its the correct approach for the future. The question is whether we should continue to develop and use such vehicles, or if there are better ways we have visibility of even today, and especially in the future, to achieve similar effects to a MBT, without having… Read more »

lee1
lee1
1 month ago

How do you hold or take ground with a drone? Tanks and infantry are still going to be needed.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

Totally agree. After Russia’s recent experience of using the unmanned Ural-9 tank in Syria, I’d say we have a very long way to go yet. Most unlike Russia, they published the problems they had with operating the drone in Syria. See attached link: https://defence-blog.com/news/army/combat-tests-syria-brought-light-deficiencies-russian-unmanned-mini-tank.html The upshot was poor Russian build standards, but also poor technology (low quality cameras etc). Fundamentally, it was the laggy and disrupted command and control that was the main issue. Until they can sought out the communications issues, there will always be problems operating this type of vehicle out of line of sight and in built… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

Two problems with holding ground in a hypothetical confrontation in the Baltics. It ties down personnel and equipment, a problem with the relatively small numbers of both in modern army’s. It fixes forces in position. That makes them much more easily targeted by Russia’s strengths in tube and rocket artillery and cruise missiles. Also more easily targeted by Russian air power while their IADS is up and effective enough to counter western 4th gen aircraft. The strategy is to make targeting NATO forces hard and creating dilemmas for a Russian force by attacking at many different locations simultaneously, overwhelming their… Read more »

lee1
lee1
1 month ago

I disagree. There are many reasons why you might want to hold ground. For instance if you are liberating a city then you need to hold it otherwise it is not liberated. Also you may need to evacuate an area and so there is a need to hold it for a time in order to allow the evacuation. Neither of these things can be done effectively with drones. (Certainly not now or the near to mid future). There will also always be a need to haul logistics overland and these will need protecting. Again drones are not always a good… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

You are going out on a limb to say that land forces don’t need to seize and hold vital and key ground. Although I agree that it has to be for a purpose and intrinsically linked to defeating the enemy, but that rather goes without saying. Wars of attrition are largely a thing of the past, even for large armies; manoeuvre warfare has taken hold near-universally and is far preferred for reasons of minimising duration of conflict and cost to the nation in ‘blood and treasure’.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

This is the critical point “…it has to be for a purpose and intrinsically linked to defeating the enemy”. One of the lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh, had it been necessary, is to focus on comprehensively reducing the adversary’s ability to wage war, rather than focus on trying to take and hold territory. If successful in the former, then the latter follows, because the adversary cannot prevent it. We constantly hear the doctrine from the US and UK of creating multiple dilemmas for the enemy, to overwhelm their ability to respond. Taking and holding territory is the opposite of that, as it… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

Only a 120mm gun? The infantry which comprises 25% of the army don’t have a weapon of that calibre, but has some punch of a different nature with mortars and ATGW, admittedly. Otherwise only RA and AAC have firepower of that magnitude, and they have no role to seize and (with Infantry) to hold ground.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

“Only a 120mm gun” is in the context of the high cost to deliver that 120mm gun effect on a MBT platform, versus say a similar effect from a 120mm assault gun, direct/indirect fire 120mm mortar, or even using ATGMs against fortified positions. All the latter are more lightly armoured than a MBT (or lacking any protection at all with an ATGM dismount team) because, with the exception of ATGM, they are not primarily intended to directly attack a MBT. We accept their vulnerability as a trade off, because we cannot build an entire armoured force protected to the same… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

People predicted the end of the manned penetrating bomber aircraft from the 60s and the end of the manned fighter for at least the last 10 years. Both are still going strong (as is my car CD player which was also slated for scrapping). There will always be a need for a well armed, highly mobile, well protected mobile weapon system for land forces, one that can create shock action and seize ground and hold it with other arms. The tank will continue to evolve, and future designs are likely to be more radical.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

Er yes mate, tanks will just need to evolve in regard to active/Passive ECM anti drone capabilites, TTPs, etc. Just because an asset shows a weakness you dont just get rid, you evolve it, to mitigate the threat, like all military capabilties worldwide.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

if it has ecm anti drone capabilities then, can it defend against atgms?

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

ATGMS have always been a threat, they get better, tanks get better, ATGWS get smarter, tanks need more active defensive systems such as Trophy etc to be smarter…its called evolution.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

yes i know what evolution is thank you. but how does it fair against tanks like the t14?

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

What, C3? At the moment I would put my cash on chally 2 never mind 3 against the Armata. Theres a lot of hype about the T14, im sure some true but some will be just that, hype. But its a bit of a moot point as its unlikely that in the near future they will be engaging each other in combat. For a better comparison it may be best for you to get an answer of the tankies on here as they will have a more in depth knowledge.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

With the Rh120/L55 firing preferably M829A3/4 or the DM53/63 APFSDS, the Chally 3 will stand a much better chance of a kill against the T14, compared to the Chally 2 firing Charm 3. The Chally 2’s best option frontally would be a mission kill against the T14, whereby it takes out the tracks or damages the gun or optics. The Charm 3 doesn’t have the oomph to penetrate the T14’s hull frontally, if you believe the Russian PR about its armour cage protection. From the side and rear aspects a Charm 3 fin round will still do a lot of… Read more »

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

The Armata is a big PR exercise. There are rumblings that it is already marked to be replaced as it is useless. For a start the crew are in a lethal position if there is a breach of the hull as they all have to exit out of the drivers hatch. It has also apparently got a lot of issues. I have seen videos where it can not get up the ramp onto a truck! I don’t think there are even many made. I think the number is around 20 and even then the number initially meant to be built… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

If there is a breach of the Hull, will there be a crew left to be able to exit the vehicle?. One video of a cock up does not mean the Armata is rubbish. We underestimate the possible opposition at our peril. I don’t think the Soviets/Russians have made a bad tank yet.

David Pettigrew
David Pettigrew
1 month ago
Reply to  lee1

Yes they only got 16 this year 10 each year after that nothing to be worried about you would think they had thousands of these things the way people go on lol.

Andy a
Andy a
30 days ago
Reply to  lee1

Never gunna happen, third carrier they have “planned” as far as I remember they don’t have a big enough facility to construct it! Like all there paper tigers

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

Thinking Worse Case Scenario yes there will be Times in the Future where Tanks will be needed,but any Modern Conflict will be very Attritional,148 with whatever can be Deployed out of that just wont be enough,you just won’t have any Meaningful Reserves to Fall back on.In Ukraine each of the Rebel Republics can put More than 148 MBT’s into the Field.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Just going to point out there is plenty of space for tanks in Non-Peer conflicts. Look no further than Afghanistan: Canadian and Danish Leopards where really appreciated by everyone there.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Hopefully our tanks won’t be operating under an attritional warfare doctrine. I thought we were all mannouevrists nowadays.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

Why would you scrap the best armed, best protected mobile weapon system? You may as well scrap everything else with an inferior spec and not bother having an army. There are counters to ships and aircraft too, and have been for years, so may as well, scrap the RN and RAF.
As others have said, you don’t scrap a platform if the opposition is not only retaining theirs but has large numbers of them and is upgrading and modernising their inventory.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Sounds like a plan. It seems pointless scrapping them if they can be upgraded at a later date to this standard.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

It is an alluring thought.

My view however is this: They exist. Nations have them. We should too, at a level in line with our priorities. The RN and RAF should take priority there, and in the Army enablers and the RA. That means keeping a current Tank capability while letting NATO allies take the bulk of the role.

We may need them elsewhere.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

Sounds like you advocate role specialisation for the army. I think that now we will have such a small army that makes sense, as it really will struggle to do everything ‘at scale’. Large scale armoured manoeuvre warfare in Europe or in the desert should now be left to be majored by the US and the Continental Europeans and we should provide token supporting high quality forces for such an endeavour, ie one to two BCTs be they armoured or strike, possibly in reserve initially.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Are the crews in long term storage.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

No,thats why i mentioned a Training Cadre,plus if Crews transfered to Ajax in particular but other BA Tracked Vehicles the Required Skills can be kept relevant but obviously not up to the Standard of Running a Large ( or small ) Tank Fleet.

peter wait
peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Ajax still late on delivery, must be issues with CT40 still ?

The Big Man
The Big Man
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Agree, but the issue is a lack of ammunition as non NATO standard.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  The Big Man

Yes, Ammunition is the Achilles Heel of the C2, am I correct in saying it’s not Produced in the UK any more.?

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

I think too much is made of this issue. In all my years in the army, I never heard of any weapon system of whatever calibre or type receiving ammunition from a non-UK supply chain.

Finney
Finney
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

I don’t follow, you mean you don’t think it’s an issue that our tank rounds are produced in Belgium or you don’t believe they are produced abroad? I think it was only the HESH rounds that were were running low on that were contracted abroad (I believe to a Belgian firm).

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Good to see APS (subject to contract) certainly, would like to see it as standard fit to any Armoured vehcle. But alas, money is the final factor as in most things mate.

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

500 million still left in the upgrade budget after paying RBSL. Probably smart not to pick the APS right now, there’s a lot of developments underway.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agreed.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Looking at some recent contracts it seems Iron Fist is ~$1M per vehicle while Trophy, albeit in low volumes for the German army seems to be about ~$2M per vehicle. Need to add cost of integration to those prices. Assuming those price points are reasonably accurate and unless APS prices drop, which is unlikely, it would seem that APS will price itself out of use on most armoured vehicles. For example, the Trophy system alone would be more costly than the French Griffon and perhaps even the Jaguar. So while a C3 might have APS, the vehicles that might work… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago

A quick snapshot of Iron Fist (pardon the pun). Trophy uses the ELM-2133 Windguard radar. This is an X band AESA radar. It can not only track an ATGM, but also pinpoint the shooters location. Whether or not it can detect a 0.50″ or 0.308″ anti-materiel bullet may be debatable, though it may get some Rayleigh back-scattering of it, so would need to be fully tested. However, as the Windguard being AESA uses a number of transmitter-receiver modules (TRMs) to generate the beam and then steer it, a sniper would have to take out a large number of these to… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Brilliant knowledge and info, thanks.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Great information as usual Davey. However, the problem I see with relying on AESA to take multiple hits is the use of explosive/incendiary rounds from a .50 cal. In that scenario a single round might destroy the entire panel and/or its connections to the rest of the system, taking down a quadrant of the defensive screen for each panel. An alternative approach might use large air burst munitions directly above a tank, detonating beyond APS range, designed as an anti-APS sensor (and anti- every other exposed sensor) weapon, fired from a 120mm mortar or 105mm indirect fire assault gun as… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

That is bizarre. It is like saying that Challenger is not necessary because it can be destroyed…

US Army got the last Trophy fore the 4 brigades that defend Europe.
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-army-receives-final-trophy-aps

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Its not saying that. It is pointing out that APS isn’t a panacea, even against the threats its designed for, if an asymmetric approach is used against MBTs, and it may come at the cost of other assets, given the expense of APS and of modern MBTs. I also haven’t seen anyone suggesting APS will counter long range tube and rocket artillery. Perhaps it can counter missiles such as air or ground launched Brimstone, or perhaps not. There’s a prevailing perspective, apparently across much of the defence world, that is putting MBTs up on a pedestal as some almost mythical… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

I also have doubts about MBT viability, but that means that guided artillery wins.
Nevertheless extended wars show that a mixed approach is better because it is always easier to play one enemy asset type. So if you have only artillery then the enemy pivots to destroy or neutralize that.

If you are deploying anti material teams which need to be highly trained and coordinated that means one less anti-tank team and you are increasing detection to the anti tank team they are working with.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

It wasn’t my intent, if I gave the impression of focusing just on artillery. I believe we’ll see a mix of land and air assets used, but its going to take some time to get there for the UK. Hence why C3 is still required, because we have nothing else currently and its likely to be at least a decade until we do. For land, some mix of 105/120mm assault gun, 120mm mortar, land launched Brimstone, with these systems hosted on Ajax and/or Boxer platforms would address many of the tasks a MBT might undertake, with the exception of countering… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago

Hi mate, yes. I think you are right artillery will become a more important factor on taking on MBTs that are fitted with APS, especially using guided shells like the BAe Excalibur. The current batch of APS were designed to counter ATGMs and RPGs, not artillery. Some APS are only designed to counter lateral threats and not top attacks, such as the Russian Afghanit system. The Israeli systems due to combat experience have been primarily designed to counter asymmetric ambushes in built up areas, so protection from top attacks was a key requisite. Trophy with its claymore like blast will… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Note that if there will not be viability to MBT there will not be for Boxer,Ajax too.
Because those are even worse. We should think about that.
Exoskeletons for all soldiers for the last 30km to make not viable to send a missile against just one?

Currently the heavier Spike can have almost 30km range. since they can be sent in general direction and then acquire the target, 200 Spike destroy a Brigade without APS.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I think the Integrated Review is recognising this arms race between sword and shield, along with the likely increase in significantly improved and pervasive networked surveillance. Making it challenging to ensure survival of battlefield assets if changes aren’t made. Hence the focus on mobility, dispersed operations (no massed armour concentrations) and creating dilemmas to force an adversary to have to use more complex weapons, combined with needing a fast, more efficient kill chain, if they hope to counter. This strategy undermines the value of classic tube and rocket artillery grid square removal capability, where Russia has a lot of legacy… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

The way I see it Daniele, without the ability to deploy in the requisite numbers (100 plus), our Armoured forces won’t be needed to deploy alongside the Americans anymore….

I doubt the Cally 3 will ever be operationally deployed…

A waste of a billion pounds in my humble opinion. I would rather see more relevant air transportable firepower and more A400’s to shift said equipment for the money….

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well that certainly paraphrases Putin’s wish list.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron5

I don’t think Putin gives UK armoured capabilities second thought Ron, its been the poor relation of the British Army for 25 years.

High end next gen capabilities like Tempest and radar upgraded Typhoon, will probably give the Russians a little more food for thought….

Small numbers of either will have a disproportionately large impact in future conflics

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

The Estonian speed bump will be improved… that’ll give them pause for thought when combined with Estonian infantry.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

That’s fine mate. One of the few occasions we disagree. I believe the capability should be kept and Tanks still have a role, as any soldier will testify.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

I absolutely see your point Daniele, its just so far below critical mass to be of any real use, unless the UK gets invaded….

From another perspective, its nice the UK is still (just) in the tank game and I am sure Chally 3 will be an excellent tank.

So glass half full, have a great weekend mate!

Tim
Tim
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

If tanks are a waste of money why isn’t A400s a waste of money

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

A400’s are absolutely ‘key’ to delivering our current and future enhanced out of area capabilities Tim.

The future will be about delivering a very heavily armed and sharply focused highly mobile force of 3000 to 6000 door kickers and enablers (RAF/RN) worldwide, knocking heads together and bugging out as soon as possible!

Holding ground for long periods will be down to others from now on..

I would have preferred a mix of more C17’s and increased A400’s, but will have to make do with the A400’s now.

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yep, but the C17 issue has to be addressed at some stage…the US are now realising a shortage! New aircraft, or a re-established line for an upgraded version…they have to be looking at this!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

That future is the dream of 16 Bde and 16 Bde only. Ok, maybe some particularly stupid politicans. It’s been a dream before, and a load of bodies will come home again when that dream gets smashed again. It’s just completely ignorant of the lessons of history and what we always do becasue its always in our interests to do. This idea we can do the “sexy” smashing the door in the handing over just never happens – for a start, it’s a “you broke it, you fix it” world. A400 is a colossal waste of money, but we’re stuck… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Perhaps so, A400 was a typical euro screwup, but it’s what we have and it simply has to be made to work. Our future now lays in small bespoke operations, expect a lot of door kicking, firepower and bugging out, like it or not Rogbob…. We’ve had 20 years of enduring operations that have accomplished the square route of Fu*k all, just brought home far too many body bags and thousands of physically and mentally effected youngsters who will have to live with seen and unseen injuries for years to come… We have to hope that our current and future… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

If we go somewhere, we’ll stay. It’s what we always do, for the same underlying reasons that will make us stay again. We can pretend otherwise but have no doubts it is a pretence, and the body bags will still come. Raids and so on are SF territory – not in the public realm, deniable and small so the costs (especially human) dont really register. Thinking we’ll have Coys of troops doing stuff like that is fantasy – it’ll get very short political shrift. If the US gets a new airlifter project going in the next 10-15, I could see… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Re the direction of our Armed forces Rogbob, I’m not saying I agree with it, but it’s the grand plan. We simply won’t have the assets to put more than 6,000 boots on the ground for short periods, if more manpower is needed in any form of persistent manner, then we simply have to let it go and let someone else deal with it… Re the A400, it has been a bloody nightmare, but it’s the only option left open too us….. After all these years it still isn’t fully cleared for the range of missions it was supposed to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by John Clark
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

JC , no no no son ,I think your a bit off on this one , it’s 800 million bucks well spent . This will make the C3 prob the most capable tank on the market. we will be able to deploy 2 regiments of 58 tanks simultaneously if required. I agree likelihood of that ever happening slim as the British Lion now returns to WORLD WIDE trade and commerce, our specialty . anyways the U.K. forces news link that someone posted with the defence sec rightly pointing out armoured brigades can end up getting “ rolled up” pretty quickly… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

You make an excellent point Artist, I’m always reminding others that the times are ‘a’ changing as Bob Dylan said. Perhaps a single Brigade of 50, as part of an all arms effort, backed up with Spear3 loaded fighters, burning the enemies in front, could make all the difference, so many new attack technologies coming on stream this decade (advanced radar/ Lazer/cyber/ advanced munitions), maybe I’m stuck in the past, thinking of yesterday’s battles Artist…. It’s door kicking and buggering off a bit sharpish from now on, after all. Still not one bit happy at 148 though! You can turn… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

We have deployed tanks in real shooting wars far more frequently post WW2 than we have any of Her Majesty’s fine ships (notwithstanding the brief Falklands conflict.)

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

I’m thinking that if the MoD wish to participate in international heavy armour manufacturing e.g. with US/EU post Challenger, then C3 could be as much a proof of competence that we’re still in the Tier 1 game. The numbers don’t make terrific sense in themselves maybe, for what in effect looks increasingly like new design, but further down the line there could still be significant benefits.
Regardless, in an uncertain world, fully independent capability would still be a handy asset.
Either way, we need to turn them out with confidence and efficiency to regain our reputation, so no more meddling.

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
1 month ago

I think we will still have 3 armoured regiment’s, on a 3 year cycle still work’s.

Year 1 teach section-platoon infantry defence, tank maintenance, new skill’s learnt from year 3.

Year 2 teach tank skill’s, tank maintenance, integration of new skill’s to tank warfare.

Year 3 Tier 1 on call to be deployed, finding which new skill’s sets are needed.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Ball

That will entail an alteration of the current plan. A2020R was to see them reduced to 2 and the latest announcements have not changed that- 1 per Armoured BCT.

A 3rd armoured regiment is the reserve RWY. That does not deploy as a formed unit but as replacement crews.

Have you heard new information that changes things?

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
1 month ago

Just thinking out loud, have 3 reg equip 2.

British heavy armour proves this 1 year train outside the box with 2 years tanks.

Go look up most video’s with heavy armour, they say infantry tactic’s etc.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

I wonder if the army is happy about just 112 tanks in two regiments, when we deployed 221 in Gulf War 1. The cost of the upgrade is high at an amortised £5.4M each. That is due to doing virtually nothing by way of upgrades since the tank came into service in 1998, and now doing so much that it is considered to be a new tank with a new name. We used to upgrade at intervals, like the RN and RAF do with their platforms; hopefully we will go back to doing that. That APS is well overdue. As… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago

To counter the truckload of negative comments that will undoubtedly follow ..

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/contract-awarded-for-148-challenger-3-tanks/#comment-558246

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago

I’m very happy that the UK retains a foothold in the MBT building business. The capability to still go it alone is an important development, even if a significant percentage is German. To simply buy L2’s would deny the UK the skills to be involved in the new builds, and if necessary, construction of more CH3’s from some hulls held in storage, that’s if the MOD were to allow for their retention? The MK3 spec is impressive though not so protected as the Blacknight? However, with much-improved communication between air and land forces, the CH3 will be better protected than… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  maurice10

Do you mean the armour specification itself? Have you got a link to the Blacknight spec at all – It would be interesting to compare the two.

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago
Reply to  Grizzler

You will need to refer to posts around the time the Blacknight was presented, which I believe was in 2019? The vehicle was fitted with a number of additional close protection devices, which appear not to be fitted to the approved CH3?

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago

Glad to hear 120mm smooth bore gun is to be mounted.

I read in the past that the ammunition storage needed big modification to handle a single shell and power ammunition, not two separated in the old L30 gun.

Are the any information on it?

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

I heard somewhere that it’s an all new turret- on one of the reports that’s been flying around in the last few days. Maybe they’ve re-jigged stuff around? As long as they retain the BV, we should be fine!

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Thanks!

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Correct, the Challenger 3 will get an all new turret. The Chally 2’s is not designed to store ammunition the bustle. As the one piece rounds are about a metre long they can’t be stored on the turret floor as ready rounds, so have to use the bustle. In some respects this will be safer for the crew, as you can incorporate blow out panels above the ammunition in the roof.

BV is still priority one.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Haha, with the new electrical generation system, they should even be able to get the tea on quicker! Obviously nothing to be done about brew time, but still…
I’m surprised that they haven’t at least considered an autoloader for the new turret. I know that the British Army likes their manned loader slot to better spread tasks around the tank crew, but with headcount coming down etc. it strikes me as a fairly easy win. We’ll almost certainly need an autoloader if/when we move up to 130 mm guns anyway.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Yes just read the C3 will have an Armoured Turret Bustle with Blow-out Panels.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Is it not even safer to stow rounds and charges below the turret ring as per traditional British practice.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

No, quite the opposite. I think it was the Chieftain that was the first to store the propellant charges in bins surrounded by water. This didn’t stop the charges from cooking off, it just gave the crew more time to escape after being hit. All of the Russian T series that use an autoloader store the rounds and charges under the floor of the turret. They are not housed in an armoured bin or surrounded by water. This is what happens after being hit. This was a Sudanese army T72, it was hit on the side of the hull. The… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by DaveyB
Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago

why is the 120mm smooth bore better? the the rifled was fine wasn’t it?

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Commonality with several thousands of 120 mm guns used worldwide. Commonality of shell has enormous merit.

1: When needed, you can purchase it in large number from worldwide. I think it is even cheaper?

2: New generation of shells can be common. No double more intelligent and/or even guided rounds will be more common. But, it is expensive. Sharing development cost, selling the shells UK designed, many many merits, I guess.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

I may be wrong, but I also heard that we weren’t producing the two-piece ammunition for the rifled guns anymore, and that our stocks would go out of date in the not-too-distant future.
Also, I believe that the two-piece ammunition was tapped out in terms of how much more you could develop APFSDS rounds for tank killing; the standard route is to make the penetrator longer, and there was no space left. But the longer one-piece ammunition allows for longer, better darts which will be important for the newer Russian and Chinese tanks.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

You can have one on your shotgun certificate, a 120mm bird shot cartridge would be ideal for pigeon control on MOD property…..

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I don’t think UK have been building tank rounds for a long time.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

I believe it has more to do with the APFSDS penetrator rod and especially its length. Currently due to the two (three) piece ammo. The rod’s length is too short to deal with modern reactive armour and still be capable of defeating spaced armour. Modern penetrator rods are constructed in two sections. With a sacrificial forward section to activate the reactive armour, thus allowing the second part of the rod to pass through. With a one piece cartridge, the rod can extend well into the cartridge and therefore be longer. Whereas with two piece ammo, the rod has to stop… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

One reason why Rheinmetall designed a new turret.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago

How about ordering another 500 of them. While MoD are at it, another 20 P8 Poseidons

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Why?

Why not 600, or 400? what is the magic number and what is the maths to get to it?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Enough to deploy a useful number Rogbob, I would say 225 …. That said, as has been pointed out to me, perhaps a brigade with 50 tanks at its core, with all the other weapons technology in development ‘is’ enough in the future…..

The Chally3’s will effectively be rolling into a relatively benign heavily damaged enemy, and mopping up pockets of resistance…

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Define “useful”?

We’ll deploy a Bde with 50. We are getting 3x that number.

Is there any other kit we have such reserves of?

Expecting a heavily damaged benign enemy has been a disastrous assumption throughout history.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Of the 148, a good number will be in maintenance and upgrade (as a digital asset, regular updates will be unavailable), others will be utilised for training in Bovington and Canada.

The two brigades will have 50 a piece at best, one Brigade will always be in a training cycle, so there’s your 50 deployable Chally3’s….

Deploying both Brigades will of course be possible, but only in a real emergency I would guess and it certainly wouldn’t be sustainable for long.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’m sorry that makes no sense.

We’ve got ~50% more than our total op effort requires.

Again, is there any other equipment we hold such a margin of? Any of the Ajax family for instance? The to-be-upgraded MLRS fleet?

“digital asset”. You mean its a piece of equipment with electronics in it. Like nearly all other pieces of equipment? That sounds an awful lot like Type31e… you know, the one that hasn’t even been close to being exported, unless you count ours where the design was exported, to us.
Never beleive the BS!

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Cool your jets Rogbob,

You asked for a breakdown and I just pointing out that 148 equates to 50 deployable, battle ready and fully trained tanks and crews facing angry men on the front line…

148 will typically mean = 50.

I assume that’s were they got 148 from, it really is the bare minimum they can order and still retain the capability.

Not really sure what you are arguing about to be honest, I didn’t order them mate!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

If someone says that doesnt make sense, its hardly getting upset!

I’m asking for someone, anyone to explain the constant bleat of “its not enough”, when it actually provides 50% reserve – something we dont have of other stuff.

Noting the Regts will have about 20 in peacetime and manpower wi

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Ah button pressing faff.

This actually started with you asserting we need 500.

So far, 148 seems 50% more than we strictly need (although I am well au fait with maint, upgrade and trg margins!). So why a further 200%+ increase?

What are we going to do with them all? Recreate BAOR?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Are you addressing me? When did I say we needed 500 tanks?? I’ve given you a breakdown of the numbers needed to get 50 deployed … We clearly don’t plan on deploying more than a single Brigade with our ‘in and straight out’ operations in the future….. I doubt they will ever see combat to be honest. We had 900 in 1991( a mix of Chieftain and Chally1) and could barely scrape up 150 combat ready MBT’s for the Gulf War, the fleet being in such poor order. Another factor for ‘148’ is probably the minimum order for making Chally3’s… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Of the 148 CR3s, 112 will be for the 2 tank regiments leaving a mere 36 for the BATUS fleet, UK training fleet and an Attrition Reserve. We certainly aren’t ordering 50% more than we need, rather that we are ordering too few!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

But those Regts will only have a fraction of that normally, so the BATUS fleet and maint overhead is sustained from that mechanism. As will a “ready deployment force” of 1-2 sqns which is what a Regt would deploy with, not the tanks it trains with.

Only 1 Regt would be deployed, if both in some dire emergency were required at full strength then there would be no need for BATUS etc.

Again, any other equipment we hold this kind of reserve for?

This “we must have more” is so tedious.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

True that Regts do not have their full quota of tanks when in barracks, under the Whole Fleet Management mechanism, but they draw additional equipment from depot for a Regt scale exercise or operational.deployment.
We deployed 3 Regts on Gulf War 1, that was 221 tanks, which included of course an in -theatre attrition reserve. We clearly would not be able to do that again in future.

Rogbob
Rogbob
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham

Yes, and we now have 2 Regts. So as before, 50% more holdings than max task. Again, anything else we have this ratio of? In GW1 we send 70 odd Tornados, 20 Jags and a dozen Buccs. They mainly dropped dumb 1000lbdrs. Do we need to do that again? GW1 was off the back of Cold War BAOR force structure. I dont think we pretended that was endured. GW 2003 seems more appropriate, we sent what, 1 Regt with 50-60 tanks. Clearly we could do that again, and that’s the ball park we are aiming for. I would love a… Read more »

Gary
Gary
1 month ago

Will the replacement turret be fitted with an auto loader? I understand the economics and the practicality of the proven 120mm.. but would have would have loved the ambition of fitting a 130mm.

I personally still see a role for tanks, and am glad the challenger finally gets the upgrades it deserves. It’s also a shame some of the German bases were closed, other than Canada what better training range for them and a chance to be pre-deployed alongside the Americans.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary

No is the answer to that! Four man crew is the required number.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

shame really. would have reload a lot faster.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Not about being quicker, British Army doctrine is a four man crew will stay operational better over a 24hr period.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

true. especially now days when u engage with guided ammo and that kinda stuff. but u never know what situation it might come across. all we know is it could be fighting a t90 in an open field!

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

then it would definitely need a auto loader to be the first to strike if the first shot doesn’t get the job done.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary

The best place to deploy them is Baltic’s and Ukraine!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago

Army Unveils The NEW CHALLENGER 3 Main Battle Tank!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HzhqGa2Mac

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Rokuth
Rokuth
1 month ago

From everything I have read, and heard, it sounds like the CH3 is a stopgap until the Next Gen MBT comes into service. I mean, in service by 2030 and out by 2040? Begs the question of where the MoD and British Army will go to source for the next gen tank. Europe, or the USA?

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Rokuth

I hope that CR3 can be fielded in ĺess than 9 years as it is an upgrade using current technology, not a totally new tank from the ground up, and design work is done.

simon richards
simon richards
1 month ago

It isn’t a new tank they are refitting the turret while cutting the number of units we have from 227 to 148 and then presenting it as some great success

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  simon richards

We get to keep the capability, if anything that is a success.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  simon richards

CR3 has every chance of being every bit as good and probably better than its contemporaries and likely opponents. But we will no longer be serious players at armoured warfare with such a small number of MBTs and unmodernised WRs and AS90s.
We could not replicate Gulf War 1 when we deployed 221 then-modern tanks and quite new WRs and AS90s.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
1 month ago

👍 good upgrade package and fairly complete. Any idea what APS is planned? Ie Trophy or other?

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Thx.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Is the talk of fitting it with a 130mm gun dead? and why no APS?

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

The 130mm might be an option for the Future provided other Countries go the same way – the last thing the BA needs is another niche Dead End Ammunition wise.As stated above 60 APS Kits will be purchased.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

Really glad for all the cool tech stuff, but let’s not forget this: “The tank will undergo full electromagnetic testing to ensure it is survivable in the most demanding of sensor saturated battlefields.” That is apparently getting really important these days. Not so long ago the US Army did a training exercise where they effectively located an “enemy force”, determined its rough size and disposition, and then pretty much destroyed it based upon their EM emissions alone. It’s a big deal.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

All new British AFVs have undergone such testing for at least the last 30 years, probably longer. Yes, it is very important.

Joe16
Joe16
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham

That is good to know, hope the testing is keeping pace with the real need..!

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago

Very good news, except that the number is barely half of what we need. Particularly pleased that Chally is finally getting a more powerful engine, its manoeuvrability and speed have always suffered but upgradibg to a 1600 bhp engine should do the biz. The tremendous delay and will we/won’t we dithering by the MOD on CLEP can now be put in context. The cost of upgrading the army’s tank fleet is a good deal less less than the cost of just ONE of the RN’s current/planned 21 x £1bn+ warships and Astutes. Methinks our strategic balance is completely arse about… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

The global Britain refrain is worrying, bracketing trade with military capabilities in a way reminiscent of the 19th century. The emphasis on large numbers of small deployments will spread already undersized ground forces far too thinly. The cost of the carriers and the F35s to operate from them( £15b+ per the NAO report) has squeezed the funding for everything else. If a navy first approach is correct, then the navy should be structured to counter the known threats properly. But it isn’t. Instead of enhancing anti submarine capabilities, we are building 5 frigates that have no such capacity even though… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

UK’s focus will shift to the Far East, due to higher growth rates of GDP, of countries there, so will the proportion of global GDP in the future be greater there.
Not much need for ground forces East of Suez, unless another Gulf War in the future. So continuing with our NATO commitments will not be too demanding.

You have been told this fact before!

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

The Army’s experience since 9/11 has of course been largely East of Suez with major and long duration deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter being a NATO mission, and a demanding one. Maybe that won’t be the case ‘going forward’. We invented the tank specifically for expeditionary warfare, and they have been deployed frequently overseas ever since, the furthest East being in Korea. But that is ancient history. What is clear is that we have used our tanks more in combat than our wonderful ships, over the years. So the tank is not obsolete, land warfare with armour will… Read more »

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Peter S, I agree that our ground forces are to thin, the big issue with the defence budget is that the government put Trident into the budget. It was only meant to go there in the short term due to the finacial situation. As with all short term solutions it seems to have stuck. If Trident which is not a weapon under military control would go back to the treasury as it used to be that would be an instant 5.6% increase in the defence budget, that is how much Trident is taking away from buying things and payment to… Read more »

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Ron

As a military man and now ex-army, I have thought long and hard about Trident and its successor, Dreadnought. There is a reason why the key politicians from the 2 major parties want Dreadnought and that is twofold – it gives us international heft and provides a framework for justifying smaller than required conventional forces, especially in the army. Dreadnought brings few Defence benefits unless we as an island nation were seriously and existentially threatened by an aggressor bent on conquest of our homeland by nuclear or overwhelming conventional forces. I don’t believe that Russia threatens us in that way… Read more »

Ron
Ron
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham

I agree with your comment. As an ex squaddie myself I really wish we could get back to having three (Combat Divisions) possibly one Heavy (MBTs) and two Light (Boxers), with the Para’s, LI and Gurkha’s as a Rapid Reaction Force. As for Trident, I understand why the policical parties want it but to throw it in to the MoD budget without the corrisponding increase has cut all three servicies ability to build and develop. That is my major headache, the politicians keep wanting the Army RAF and RN to do this that and the other without the numbers or… Read more »

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

The eight Type 26 are primarily ASW so the five Type 31s can be GP-roled and will have 24 Sea Ceptor AA missiles and a 110mm gun, plus some minor guns. Together with a helicopter, that surely constitutes a reasonable wedge of combat power. As befits ‘Global Britain’ we should not be Euro-obsessed regarding Defence, and the size of our Defence budget (still about 6th biggest in world?) should allow us to be global in reach and of impressive weight, however we waste far too much money, much of it in errors in procurement, for this to be the case.… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
1 month ago

They might actually do this properly, MUCH to my surprise.
I hope they mothball and not scrap the Mk2 they do not upgrade so they can be rapidly ( relatively) upgraded to Mk3 . I have a feeling we are going to need them!!

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

The defence command paper says the non upgraded tanks .”will be retired”.
I agree that mothballing a decent number would make sense.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

We already have about 180 CR2 mothballed so this is not a new idea, but such old unmodernised tanks have questionable utility, unless used against a non-peer foe after a period of preparation or ùsed for parts. I doubt there will be political appetite for a future upgrade for any of the mothballed fleet.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Many CR2s are currently mothballed as we bought 408 and declare only 227 as in service, somthe idea is not new. I disposed of the CR1 fleet for Tony Blair, together with the residual Chieftains; we could not dispose of surplus CR2s in the same way.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham

I am no expert on ground warfare. I do know about the back end of a sub due to my involvement in the military defence industry. When I listened to the Defence minister make his announcement, it reminded me of the misguided justification that led to the killing off of the TSR 2. ( yes I know other politics were at play) That we don’t need manned platforms Missile can do it all. Except in this case drone and cyber warfare can do it all. I think we will regret the day we did not have a far larger fleet… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago

9 years to do 148 tanks is just ridiculous.. it will be out of date before its IOC.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Not to mention be a ridiculous small number. Little or no allowance for attrition/combat loses. Effectively British armoured power will become a 1-shot weapon. Best we don’t get involved in any long wars. Ordering 500 should be the minimum.

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

I agree the number is small; we deployed 221 tanks in the first Gulf War.
But 500 is a big ask when we ordered 420 CR1s when in the Cold War and 408 CR2s in the late 90s to replace them.
The Army 2020Refine ORBAT has only 2 tank regiments.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I agree! 5 years should be minimum amount of time for that number.

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Given the amount of time already spent on it and the fact its an upgrade really this is a 3 year project. 1 tank per week for 3 years.

no wonder its costing £800m, blimey this just isn’t sustainable.

Lets get a factory / industrial estate similar to the one the Australians have and build all our vehicle requirements there instead of another really expensive piecemeal effort.

the last thing we need is another Ajax/Warrior debacle with both over budget and late..

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

IOC in 2027, FOC in 2030. Totally ridiculous. Proof of concept and much design work is done. Nine years is what a totally new build would take. Unacceptable and I suspect the contractor has declared a 9 year programme to maximise profits.

Pacman27
Pacman27
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham

they will be obsolete upon introduction, yet another own goal

Wouldn’t be too bad if we had gone for the new Rheinmetall gun, but we haven’t.

just another example of everything that is wrong with the MOD – its a capability gap in all but name to keep the heavy armour enthusiasts quiet.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

A bit harsh, your obsolete comment, but maybe obsolescent, given that Technology insertion should be done every 10 years or so.
When I was in the army all AFVs got a Base Overhaul (BOH) roughly every 7-10 years and minor to medium upgrades were done in addition to ‘remanufacturing’ by the REME/ABRO Base Workshop and major upgrades were done by the manufacturer on rare occasions. BOH changed to more economical Base Inspection & Repair (BIR) from about 2002-4.
Major Technology Insertion doesn’t seem to happen now.

UK Voter
UK Voter
1 month ago

Talk is that Challenger 3 will be the best tank in the world when finished.
Very sad we will have so few.

Would love to see a new CANZUK tank afterwards. If we even continue with tanks

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  UK Voter

Great comment. 148 tanks is far too few – its two Regiments plus 36, so we will not be a serious armoured warfare proponent in future. We deployed 221 tanks from a much larger baseline on Gulf War 1. Where does the CANZUK tank idea come from? Inspired. The Ozzies (Aussies?) have the wrong tank in the Abrams – I hear some retired Australian General made a small fortune scheming on that one. We will continue with tanks – if they were obsolete machines, then the other tank-owning nations would be scrapping them. Just because a tank can be defeated… Read more »

Finney
Finney
1 month ago

Where is the turret actually being built?
Read Nicolas Drummond’s very informative thread on twitter yesterday and unfortunately it sounds like the upgrades to the power pack are going to be rather limited. After all these upgrades though hopefully the vehicles should be in generally better shape and who knows we may get the same fleet availability out of 148 as we do from 227 currently.

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Finney

This numbers business… We currently have 3 Challenger regiments, the third one has not been axed quite yet. The establishment of a regiment is 56 Challengers (3 squadrons of 18 + 2 at RHQ). That totals 168. There are currently 59 others in the tank fleet. They are not all reserves. 21 IIRC are at Suffield for field training, basically a squadron with a couple of spares in the garage. Around 20 are employed on driver, gunner, maintenance training at Bovington. That leaves just 17 in reserve. That accounts for the currrent total of 227 tanks in service. If you… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

…For ‘Richard’, read ‘Rishi’…

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

Cripes, I agree with your numbers and requirements. I did my calculation in a diffrent way as I based it on a Armoured Battle Group of about 1000 men and 42 MBTs. Three battlegroups form a Brigade and three Brigades form a Division. That would mean 9000 men and 378 MBTs. We could if man power for the regulars is an issue have two Battlegroups full time and one equipped reserve that will go into the field as a combat unit. However I would prefer to see this Heavy Division at full combat readiness. The MBTs should be supported by… Read more »

Graham
Graham
29 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

Great comments. Wikipedia says we bought 408 CR2s not 306, but I think that number is too high and may include Driver Training Tanks. Another issue is that CRARRV is CR 1.5 standard at best, in technology terms. Not to mention unmodernised WR and AS90, followed by toothless Boxer and unmodernised AS90.

Cripes
Cripes
28 days ago
Reply to  Graham

Thanks Graham. Yes, we did buy 408 originally. However, the conventional force reduction agrèment between NATO and Warsaw Pact stipulated a 25% reduction in in-theatre force levels. 408 minus 25% gives you… wait for it… 306, which is exactly the number we have. Or at least had a few months ago, but this ridiculous ‘reduce to produce’ mantra under which zealous MOD beancounters gut and scrap every surplus equipment to save peanuts may mean they have already pounced on the Challys in storage. Roosevelt said, when signing off the 50 old destroyers and infantry weapons for the UK, that he… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Still using Dorchester armour?

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier
1 month ago

There’s a pattern here.

Challenger 4 and Type 27 Frigate will be amazing, but we’ll only have one of each.

Col
Col
30 days ago

I wonder if they mean 60 kmh, not 60 mph

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  Col

It was said that CVR(T) could do 70 mph if you unhitched the governor (which you would not be allowed to do) – it would make you sick as a dog on the road and you would be shaken to bits if you tried that cross-country. That was a light A Veh – got to be 60kph for a very fast MBT. Thats plenty fast enough in a closed-up A Vehicle cross-country.