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Ukrainian tank crews complete Challenger 2 MBT training in UK.

| 2023

The British Government on March 27 informed that Ukrainian tank crews have completed training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK and have returned home to continue their fight against Russia’s illegal invasion.
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UK trainers and Ukrainian soldiers learning how to operate the British Challenger 2 tank in the South-West of England (Picture source: British Army)

Ukrainian tank crews have completed training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK and have returned home to continue their fight against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion. The training began shortly after the announcement in January 2023 that the UK would donate 14 Challenger 2 tanks and accompanying ammunition and spare parts to aid Ukraine. UK military trainers spent several weeks training Ukrainian personnel how to operate and fight with the tanks. Instruction included how to command, drive and work together as a Challenger 2 tank crew and effectively identify and engage targets.

The Challenger 2 tank marks a step change in capability for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, ensuring they are better able to protect their crews and offering them some of the most modern and sophisticated gunnery systems in the world.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘’It is truly inspiring to witness the determination of Ukrainian soldiers having completed their training on British Challenger 2 tanks on British soil. They return to their homeland better equipped, but to no less danger. We will continue to stand by them and do all we can to support Ukraine for as long as it takes’’.

Lieutenant Colonel John Stone, who oversaw the training mission said: ‘’It has been a privilege for the Combat Manoeuvre Centre team to deliver this training to our Ukrainian partners. We have all been hugely impressed with the level of competence displayed and have no doubt that our friends will use the Challenger 2 tanks most effectively in the battles to come as they fight to defend their homeland’’.

A Ukrainian tank commander featured said: ‘’I fight for my future, for the future of my country and for the future of my family. We will fight. This tank for us is like a diamond, I think it is the best tank in the world’’.

The UK is sending Challenger 2 tanks, which will soon be in the hands of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The UK has trained and equipped the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a range of capabilities to help them defend their territory including anti-tank weapons, armoured vehicles, and air defence systems.

The Challenger 2 has been in service since 1998. It was designed and built by the British company Vickers Defence Systems, now known as BAE Systems Land & Armaments. Here are some key facts about the tank:
* Armament: The Challenger 2 is armed with a 120mm rifled gun, which can fire a variety of ammunition types including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive squash head (HESH), and smoke rounds. It also has a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and a commander's 7.62mm machine gun.
* Protection: The tank is heavily armored, with composite armor that provides protection against a wide range of threats including armor-piercing rounds and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It also has a Chobham armor package that further enhances its protection.
* Mobility: The Challenger 2 is powered by a Perkins CV12 diesel engine that generates 1,200 horsepower, giving it a top speed of around 60 km/h. It has a range of approximately 450 km.
* Crew: The tank has a crew of four, including a commander, a gunner, a loader, and a driver.

Defense News March 2023

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