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Germany could propose refurbished Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine.

| 2023

According to information published by the German Newspaper "Handelsblatt" on January 20, 2023, the defense industry of Germany could propose refurbished ex-Jordanian army Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. Two countries in the Middle East including Oman and Jordan have a large quantity of Challenger 1 tanks that have been withdrawn from service.
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British army Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks were deployed during the first Gulf War Operation Desert Storm 1990-1991. (Picture source British MoD)

According to open source information, Jordan would have around 400 Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) in store. The Jordanian defense company King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau upgraded Jordanian Challenger MBTs which were named as Al-Hussein.

The Jordanian Challenger tanks are no longer in service and are replaced by 141 ex-Italian Army B1 Centauro 8x8 Mobile Gun Systems as well as ex-German Marder 1A3 tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

The company RBSL, a joint venture between the German company Rheinmetall and the British company BAE Systems based in the United Kingdom will be able to refurbish Challenger 1. In May 2021, RBSL announced it had been awarded an £800m contract to upgrade 148 Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks for the British Army.

The Challenger 2 being an upgrade of the Challenger 1, the company RBSL could possibly carry out the refurbishment in combat conditions of the Challenger 1 tanks coming from Jordan.

The Challenger 1 entered into service with the British in 1982, but despite its age, the Challenger 1 could still be very effective against Russian tanks thanks to its 120 mm gun but also still offer a high level of protection. During the first Gulf War in 1990–1991 The Challenger, in comparison with the American tank used in the Gulf, offering more mobility and firepower. Overall, Challenger 1 destroyed roughly 300 Iraqi Soviet-made tanks, while the Iraqi forces failed to take a single tank out of combat. During operation Desert Storm the Challenger 1 tank engaged an enemy target at a range of 5,100 m.

The Challenger 1 is armed with a fully-stabilized British L11A5 120 mm rifled gun which is extremely accurate. The gun is able to fire a wide range of ammunition including APDS-T (Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot Tracer), APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer), HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head), smoke and training rounds with a firing range of up to 4,000 m. The tank carries a total of 64 rounds of 120mm ammunition.

The Challenger 1 has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner, and loader. The turret and hull incorporate Chobham armor over the frontal arc for increased battlefield survivability. This type of armor offers a high level of protection against shaped charges such as high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds and they shatter kinetic energy penetrators. Although the construction details of the Chobham armor remain a secret, it continues to be considered as one of the best armor technology used to protect tanks and combat vehicles.

The Challenger 1 tank is powered by a Perkins Engines Company Condor V-12 1200 diesel developing 1,200 hp at 2,300 rpm. It can run at a maximum road speed of 56 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.

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