Rheinmetall has been selected by the British Army to develop the Challenger 3 main battle tank to replace the current fleet of Challenger 2 vehicles. The £770m (A$1.39bn) contract will see 148 Challenger 2s upgraded as part of the UK MoD’s Challenger Life Extension Project (LEP).
The upgrade will include a new turret, an L55A1120mm smoothbore main gun, new sensors, modular armour with an active protection systems (APS), and a network-enabled digital architecture system. The upgrade work will be conducted out to 2027 at the Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) plant in Telford in the UK’s West Midlands – RBSL is a joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems.
We’re proud to be taking charge of one the United Kingdom’s most important army technology programmes here in the cradle of the British tank industry,” Armin Papperger, chief executive of Rheinmetall AG said in a statement. “In technological terms, the upgrade will put the British Challenger tank on the cutting edge of NATO’s armed forces.
“To make this happen, we’ve amalgamated the longstanding expertise of RBSL with Rheinmetall of Germany’s unsurpassed know-how in large-calibre weapon systems, digitisation and advanced turret solutions,” he added.
In an MoD statement, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Chris Tickell said, “The Integrated Review described a transformed Army that will be more lethal, better protected and better connected than any of its comparators.
“Challenger 3 is a manifestation of exactly that change and will sit at the heart of our warfighting capability,” he added. “Its digital open architecture will ensure that it is integrated across the battlefield, its main armament will overmatch its adversaries and the crew will be afforded a unique level of protection. It is a battle winner.”