UK plans to provide Challenger 2 tanks to Poland that could give its T-72 tanks to Ukraine
According to information published by newspapers websites "The Times" and "The Sun", the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom and Poland are in negotiations to acquire British Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) so they can hand in their own Soviet-made T-72 tanks to the Ukrainian army.
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British Army Challenger 2 main battle tank. (Picture source British MoD)
Today, Army Recognition reported that Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in the UK, where they will be taught to use armored vehicles donated by the British government.
In April 2022, the British Ministry of Defense announced a new military aid of around €120 million to boost the military capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces with the delivery of 800 NLAW anti-tank guided missiles, more Javelin anti-tank missiles, loitering munitions, Starstreak surface-to-air missiles as well as non-lethal aid including ballistic helmets, body armor, and night-vision goggles.
According to the military balance 2021, the Polish army has a total of 127 T-72A/T-72M1 in operational conditions and 257 more in store. Poland would be ready to give its T-72 tanks to Ukraine in exchange for British Challenger 2 tanks in order to maintain its military capabilities and face the Russian threat.
For Ukrainian soldiers, it will be easy to use its t-72 tanks, because most of the combat tanks used by the Ukrainian army are of Russian origin, so no need for special training for immediate use.
The T-72 is one of the most popular Soviet-made main battle tanks which is in service all around the world. The T-72A is the second generation of Soviet-made main battle tank MBT in the T-72 family. The T-72M is the export version of the T-72A.
The main armament of the T-72A consists of one 125 mm (2A46) smoothbore gun fitted with a light-alloy thermal sleeve and a bore evacuator. The 125 mm gun fires three main types of separate loading ammunition, APFSDS with a maximum range of 2,100 m, HEAT-FS with a maximum direct fire range of 4,000 m, and HE-FRAG(FS) with a maximum indirect fire range of 9,400 m.
The FV4034 Challenger 2 is the main battle tank currently in service with the British army. It entered service with the British Army in June 1998 and the last of the 386 tanks were delivered in April 2002. According to the Military Balance 2021, currently, the British army has a total of 227 Challenger 2 MBTs.
The main armament of the Challenger 2 tank consists of one 120 mm rifled tank gun designated the L30A1. The tank can carry up to 50 rounds of 120 mm. The second armament includes one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the left of the main armament and one more 7.62mm machine gun mounted on the turret roof.
The Challenger 2 tank has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner, and loader. it is one of the most protected tanks in the world using the latest generation of Chobham armor which provides increased resistance to penetration by anti-tank weapons.