in Defence

Challenger 3 achieves major milestone

Posted 23 January 2024

Another major milestone towards delivering the British Army’s next Main Battle Tank capability has been achieved with the first pre-production Challenger 3 going into trials in the coming weeks.

Above: CR3 P1 Prototype.
Courtesy RBSL

This marks a major milestone for the Army and the culmination of many months of hard work by RBSL’s team. This prototype, along with further prototypes to follow close behind, will soon show their capabilities on trials. During the trials the prototypes will be tested under operational conditions to validate their performance and make refinements before another 140 are built and delivered to the British Army.

The Challenger 3 platform will be fitted with a new 120mm L55A1 smoothbore gun built by Rheinmetall, enabling the use of the most advanced ammunition available. Next Generation UK-sovereign modular armour, a fully digitised turret and integration of Trophy Medium Variant APS onto the platform will protect against rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles and provide the British Army with a step change in war-fighting capability.

Challenger 3 Deputy Project Manager at RBSL, Nick Berchem said: “Designed with the crew’s safety, operational effectiveness, and comfort at its heart and with the users’ advice at every stage, I am sure it will prove to be a very potent and popular addition to the British army’s inventory. It is hugely exciting and very satisfying to be part of the team bringing this immensely capable tank to life.”

RBSL is playing a key part in delivering the Land Industrial Strategy through its Challenger 3 programme, ensuring it benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing, whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country. The multimillion pound investment in its Telford facility - and the creation of jobs within RBSL and the UK supply chain - contributes towards national industrial resilience and the social value and 'levelling up' aspirations the UK Government has set out.

Colonel Will Waugh, Senior Responsible Owner of the Army’s Armour (Main Battle Tank) Programme, said: "Delivery of the first pre-production Challenger 3 and the commencement of trials marks a critical milestone on the journey to the Army’s modernised Main Battle Tank capability.  Challenger 3 will be at the heart of the Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, alongside Ajax and Boxer, under Future Soldier.  

"Events in Ukraine have underscored the need for credible warfighting capabilities. The Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, with Challenger 3 at their centre, are key to the UK’s contribution to NATO’s deterrence."

Major General Darren Crook, Director Land Equipment for Defence, Equipment & Support said: “In an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world, our priority is to deliver to the Army the capability it needs to deliver Future Soldier and be more lethal on the Battlefield. I am immensely proud of the work the whole team has undertaken: the Army, DE&S and RBSL working together to deliver  the first pre-production Challenger 3.

"This marks a critical milestone in our delivery of this impressive capability to the British Army and will provide our soldiers with a world-class Main Battle Tank made here in the UK. It also demonstrates the centrality of the Land Industrial Strategy, with the UK increasingly developing a highly-skilled industrial base and maintaining strategic advantage through our Industry partners such as RBSL.”



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