Challenger 2 FV4034 MBT
Main Battle Tank - United Kingdom
The Challenger 2 FV4034 is the main battle tank currently in service with the British army. Built by the British company Vickers Defence System now part of BAE Systems Land and Armaments. Challenger 2 is an extensive redesign from Challenger 1, the MBT from which it was developed. It uses the basic hull and automotive parts of its predecessor but all else is new. Fewer than 5% of components are interchangeable. Vickers Defence Systems (later Alvis Vickers, now BAE Systems Land Systems) began to develop a successor to Challenger 1 as a private venture in 1986. Following the issue of a staff requirement for a next-generation tank, Vickers formally submitted its plans for Challenger 2 to the British Ministry of Defense. Challenger 2 main battle tank entered service with the British Army in June 1998 and the last of the 386 tanks were delivered in April 2002. On January 9, 2023, the Sky News TV channel news announced that the United Kingdom is considering supplying Ukraine with Challenger 2 tanks. On January 14, 2023, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the supply of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. On march 4, 2023, it was announced that UK will donate a new batch of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Challenger 2 FV4034 main variants:
- Challenger 2 with add-on armor
- Challenger 2E: for the export version
- Challenger 2 TES: also nicknamed Megatron is the latest generation of British Main Battle Tank (MBT) in the Challenger 2 family. . The Challenger 2 TES Megatron is very similar to the M1 Abrams TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit) in terms of protection. The TES system was developed to increase the protection of the tank against tandem warheads and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threats.
- Challenger Black Night: is an upgraded version of the British Army Challenger 2 MBT Main battle Tank launched by the Company BAE Systems to bid for the tank’s Life Extension Project (LEP). The new combat equipment of the Black Night MBT turret includes a Safran Paseo commander’s independent sight, Leonardo thermal imager for the gunner, and Leonardo night sight DNVS 4 to provide hunter-killer thanks to thermal imagers for the gunner, commander, and driver.
The main armament of the Challenger 2 MBT consists of a BAE Systems, RO Defence 120 mm rifled tank gun designated the L30A, fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor, and muzzle reference system. Mounted coaxially, to the left of the main armament, is the ATK Gun Systems Company 7.62 mm Chain Gun which is already in service with the British Army and installed in the now Alvis Vickers Warrior mechanized combat vehicle. Mounted on either side of the turret front is a bank of five 66 mm Thales AFV Systems electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers that cover the forward arc of the vehicle. One more 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted on the loader hatch.
|Design and protection|
The design of Challenger 2 has given emphasis to crew safety and tank survivability. The tank has a crew of four, with the driver located at the center front of the full and three crew members in the turret with the commander seated on the right, the gunner forward and below the commander, and the loader on the left side. The turret is protected with second-generation Chobham armor which provides increased resistance to penetration by anti-tank weapons. The tank is protected against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare by an NBC protection system (with full overpressure filtered air) located in the turret bustle.
|The Challenger 2 has a 12-cylinder, 1,200hp Perkins Caterpillar CV12 diesel engine and a David Brown TN54 gearbox, with six forward and two reverse gears. Second-generation Hydrogas suspension and hydraulic track tensioner are fitted. Challenger 2 has six aluminum road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front, and two track-return rollers on either side. The upper part of the track is covered by conventional aluminum skirts. The maximum speed by road is 59km/h and 40km/h cross country. The range is given as 450km by road and 250km cross country.|
|The commander has a roof-mounted SAGEM (previously SFIM) stabilized sight which is similar to that installed on the French Giat Industries Leclerc MBT; it gives full 360º capability without having to move the head. This has a magnification of ×3.2 and ×10.5 in the day mode and also has an Nd:YAG laser range-finder. A thermal image with a magnification of ×4 and ×11.5 can be injected into the sight with a separate thermal image relaxed viewing monitor provided to the right of the sight for surveillance purposes. The gunner's roof-mounted stabilized sight has been developed by Thales Optronics (previously Pilkington Optronics) with SAGEM of France being the major subcontractor; it includes day optics, thermal image input, and Nd:YAG laser range-finder. The gunner's sight has a magnification of ×3 and ×10 in the day mode and also has a traverse of 7º left and right. A thermal image with the same magnification as that of the commander can be injected at the flick of a switch. An NBC (Nuclear, Bacteriological, and Chemical) protection system is mounted in the turret bustle and fully meets all known threats. The crew environmental control system provides both heating and cooling for the crew compartment. This is the first time such a system has been installed in a British MBT. Challenger 2 can lay its own smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlets on either side of the hull top towards the rear. The Challenger 2 is also fitted with a dozer blade.|
|One 125 mm gun, two 7.62 mm machine guns, two banks of five 66mm grenades launcher||Second generation of Chobham armor|
|United Kingdom, Oman, Ukraine||62,200 kg|
|United Kingdom||56 km/h maximum on road|
|A fire control system, NBC system, night vision system||450 km|
|4||Length: 11,55 m; Width: 3,52 m; Height: 2,49 m|
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