Work to prepare Challenger 2 tanks before the upgrade to ‘Challenger 3’ has started.
DE&S say that the British Army’s Challenger 2 fleet is due to receive a base overhaul as part of its standard in-service maintenance schedule.
“This will be followed by a series of automotive upgrades under a ‘Heavy Armour Automotive Improvement Programme’ (HAAIP) which ensures the British Army’s Challenger 2 vehicles remain highly effective and capable until Challenger 3 enters service. The HAAIP programme is being led by DE&S, with engineering work completed by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and integration work by Babcock.
Under the programme, a number of automotive upgrades will be made to existing in-service Challenger 2 tanks to increase their mobility and stability, both of which are critical to providing the foundation for the new turret and systems that will upgrade the vehicle to a Challenger 3. The upgrades will also ensure the tanks remain mobile and agile in the battlespace.”
Brigadier Anna-Lee Reilly, Head of the DE&S Vehicle Support Team, was quoted as saying:
“This is an exciting moment for Defence. We’ve been committed to keeping the Challenger 2 tanks in service over the past 23 years and we’re looking forward to using our expertise to manage the necessary upgrades to pave the way for the Challenger 3.”
As part of the base overhaul process, each Challenger 2 will be stripped to bare hulls and subjected to ultrasonic inspection, weld repair and repainting. Every component is removed and inspected for serviceability to ensure that the vehicle is as close to new as possible when it is rebuilt.
What upgrades will Britain’s ‘Challenger 3’ tanks get?
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
- Trophy active protection system
- a turret that can be fitted to the tanks of allies and global partners
You can read more about the contract to upgrade the tanks here.