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Challenger 2 Modern Battle Tank

Challenger 2 Modern Battle Tank

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Published by Meor Amri
This is the history behind the development of the Challenger tank.
This is the history behind the development of the Challenger tank.

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Published by: Meor Amri on Aug 22, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/04/2013

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Today is: August 22, 2008Last Updated: July 7, 2006
CHALLENGER 2
The Challenger 2 is the first British Army tank since World War II to be designed, developed andproduced exclusively by a single prime contractor, Vickers Defence Systems, with set reliability goalslaid down in the fixed price contract. Challenger 2 was designed and manufactured at both Vickerssites, Barnbow Leeds and Scottswood Newcastle.The hull and automotive parts of the Challenger 2 are based upon its predecessor Challenger 1,but Challenger 2 incorporates over 150 improvements aimed at increasing reliability andmaintainability. The turret of Challenger 2 is a totally new design. Armour is an uprated version of Challenger 1's Chobham armour. The Challenger 2 is the best protected tank in NATO (10)incorporating Chobham second-generation armour plating. Its NBC (nuclear, biological and chemicalprotection) system is capable of dealing with all known threats and, for the first time in any Britishtank, the crew compartment has both a heating and a cooling system.The main armament consists of a Royal Ordnance 120 mm rifled tank gun designated the L30. Italso incorporates a McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems 7.62 mm chain gun, which is already inservice in the British Army, being installed in the GKN Defence Warrior mechanized combat vehicle,and a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The Challenger 2's fire control system is the latest-generation digital computer from Computing Devices Company (CDC) of Canada and is an improvedversion of that installed in the US M1A1 Abrams tank. It also has growth capacity for futureenhancement such as a Battlefield Information Control System and navigation aids. The Challenger 2carries a crew of 4 and has a combat weight of 62.5 tonnes. It has a maximum road speed of 56 km/h
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and a range of 250 km cross country and 450 km on the road.The Challenger 2 (CR2) project includes the development and production of 386 CR2 Main BattleTanks (MBTs), 22 Driver Training Tanks (DTTs), CHARM 3 ammunition and a full support packageincluding training equipment and initial spares.Prime Contractor was Vickers Defence Systems plc. Vickers Defence Systems started work onthe Challenger 2 in November 1986 as a private venture and shortly afterwards, in March 1987, madeits first presentation of the vehicle to the British Ministry of Defence. In February 1988, Vickerssubmitted a formal proposal regarding the tank to the MOD following the issue of the staff requirement. In December 1988 it was announced that Vickers Defence Systems was to be awarded a£90 million contract to undertake a demonstration phase (also referred to as the proof of principlephase) which lasted until September 1990. Vickers Defence Systems acquisition was completed on 30September 2002, by Alvis PLC.The operations of Vickers Defence Systems were merged with those of Alvis' existing UKarmoured vehicle company,Alvis Vehicles Ltd, in a combined UK business. In order to benefit from theheritage and reputation of both Alvis and Vickers, it has been decided to call the combined UKcompany Alvis Vickers Limited (Telford, UK). This company was then acquired by
BAE Systems
, toform BAE Systems' new Land Systems business through the bringing together of Alvis and RO Defence.In June 1991 the British Government selected the Challenger 2 and placed an order worth £520million for 127 Challenger 2 MBTs and 13 driver training tanks. Production began in 1993 and the firstvehicles were delivered in July 1994. The Challenger 2 is produced at the Vickers Defence Systemsplants in Leeds and Newcastle. There are over 250 subcontractors (both UK and Overseas) involved atsome point in the manufacturing process. Among the most significant are: Royal Ordnance (Main andSecondary armaments); Blair Catton (Track); and GEC-Marconi (Gun Control).The requirement to replace Challenger 1 (CR1) MBT led to the placement of a follow-on orderwith Vickers Defence Systems. In July 1994, Vickers Defence Systems received a further order fromthe UK MOD for the supply of 259 Challenger 2 and nine driver training tanks plus training and logisticsupport. The total value of the contract was £800 million.The CR2 In-Service Reliability Demonstration (ISRD) milestone was successfully achieved inJanuary 1999. The ISRD took place from September to December 1998 and tested 12 British Armycrewed MBTs at the Bovington test tracks and Lulworth Bindon Ranges. The ISRD was a great successin that CR2 not only achieved the targets but exceeded them in all areas set by the Customer's Staff Requirement.The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Germany, the first of six post-SDR Armoured Regiments,started to take delivery of CR2 in January 1998 and received the 38th in time to meet the June 1998in-service date. Deliveries of CR2 are continuing and it is planned that each of the six ArmouredRegiments will be fully equipped with their tanks and associated logistic support package by end of 2000.The conversion from CR1 to CR2 Regiments is being assisted by a comprehensive suite of training aids, ranging from simple wall charts to highly sophisticated, computer-based gunnerysimulators. A range of CR2 training aids and support equipment are also being provided for the RoyalElectrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) to assist the task of fault diagnosis, test, repair, calibrationand system performance monitoring.The Challenger 2 (CR2) project includes the development and production of 386 CR2 Main BattleTanks (MBTs), 22 Driver Training Tanks (DTTs), CHARM 3 ammunition and a full support packageincluding training equipment and initial spares. Following international competition for a requirement toreplace Chieftain MBT, a contract was placed with Vickers Defence Systems in June 1991 and includedproduction of 127 CR2 MBTs and 13 CR2 DTTs. The requirement to replace Challenger 1 (CR1) MBT ledto the placement of a follow-on order with Vickers Defence Systems during July 1994 for an additional259 CR2 MBTs and nine CR2 DTTs.The CR2 In-Service Reliability Demonstration (ISRD) milestone was successfully achieved inJanuary 1999. The ISRD took place from September to December 1998 and tested 12 British Armycrewed MBTs at the Bovington test tracks and Lulworth Bindon Ranges. The ISRD was a great successin that CR2 not only achieved the targets but exceeded them in all areas set by the Customer's Staff Requirement.
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The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Germany, the first of six post-SDR Armoured Regiments,started to take delivery of CR2 in January 1998 and received the 38th in time to meet the June 1998in-service date. Deliveries of CR2 are continuing and each of the six Armoured Regiments was fullyequipped with their tanks and associated logistic support package by end of 2001. The last of theBritish Army’s 386 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks has been delivered by contractors at a ceremony onSalsibury Plain, by September 17, 2002.The conversion from CR1 to CR2 Regiments was assisted by a comprehensive suite of trainingaids, ranging from simple wall charts to highly sophisticated, computer-based gunnery simulators. Arange of CR2 training aids and support equipment was also provided for the Royal Electrical andMechanical Engineers (REME) to assist the task of fault diagnosis, test, repair, calibration and systemperformance monitoring.Deployed with six Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps in the UK and Germany, theChallenger 2 Main Battle Tank has seen service in Bosnia and Kosovo and exercised in Canada, Omanand Poland. It has surpassed reliability targets on both trials and on exercises. British Army Challenger2 tanks were deployed on active service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.In July 2004, the UK Ministry of Defence announced plans for a reduction of seven Challenger 2armoured squadrons (about 100 tanks) by March 2007 and the change of role of one Challenger 2regiment to an armoured reconnaissance regiment.Challenger 2E, the latest development model, has been designed for the export market and issuitable for harsh environmental and climactic conditions. The 2E has been extensively trialled inGreece, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
New Main Gun for the Challenger 2: The Rheinmetall 120mm L55.
 
In January 2004, BAE Systems Land Systems (formerly RO Defence) was awarded a contract todevelop a new smoothbore 120 mm gun for the British Army Challenger tanks. Under the contract, aChallenger 2 has been armed with the new Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun, as fitted on the Leopard2A6 main battle tank, and began firing trials in January 2006.
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