The UK Secretary of State for Defense Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP has confirmed a £800 million ($1,1 billion) contract with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to build the next-generation Challenger 3 battle tank.
“A multi-million-pound investment will deliver the most lethal tank in Europe and allow us to modernize our land forces,” the Defense Secretary said.
The new tank will carry additional high-velocity ammunition able to travel at faster speeds with an increased range. Ammunition will also be programmed digitally from a new turret with a 120-millimeter smoothbore gun. This cutting-edge tank will also feature an upgraded engine with a new cooling system and suspension to improve accuracy when firing in transit.
New automatic target detection and tracking system will be used to identify threats, whilst new thermal long-range cameras will be fitted as part of a day/night image system.
“This represents a huge shift in the modernization of our land forces through the increased lethality of Challenger 3. This pioneering new technology allows us to deliver immense warfighting capabilities in battlespaces filled with a range of enemy threats,” Ben Wallace added.
He also noted that the £800 million investment will also create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs across the country ensuring our soldiers benefit from the very best of British engineering.
As part of the Army’s commitment to adapt to meet future threats, Challenger 3 will be fully digitalized integrating information from all domains whilst being able to travel up to 60mph. The Challenger 3 tank is being developed to replace the current Challenger 2 tank which has been in service since 1998. Full Operating Capability for the tank is planned for 2030, with initial operating capability expected by 2027.
Director Land Equipment for DE&S, Major General Darren Crook said:
“This is a significant step forward for Defence and UK industry as we continue to develop and modernize our fleet of land vehicles and I am looking forward to working closely with our industry partners to deliver the very best capabilities we can for the British Army,” said Major General Darren Crook Director Land Equipment for DE&S,
As outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the British Army will be more deployable and better protected in the face of our adversaries. The announcement of Challenger 3 reaffirms our commitment to invest £3-billion into Army equipment over the next decade, delivering a modernized, adaptable and expeditionary fighting force.
A multi-million-pound investment will deliver the most lethal tank in Europe and allow us to modernise our land forces.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) May 7, 2021