in Defence

DE&S awards RBSL Challenger 3 modular armour contract

Posted 19 January 2024

Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) has awarded a contract to deliver a new modular armour system for the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank to Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).

Image courtesy DE&S

Designed by armour experts at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and jointly developed with RBSL, the new modular armour provides a step change in survivability for the Main Battle Tank.

With initial integration trials conducted in 2023, RBSL will now test, manufacture and integrate the new armour onto the Challenger 3 tanks.

The enhanced survivability will provide enhanced protection for our soldiers against the most dangerous threats Challenger 3 will face. The investment in this critical capability will deliver for the British Army now and into the future.

Challenger 3 will be a key component of the Army’s Future Armoured Brigade Combat Teams and the UK’s contribution to NATO deterrence. The investment in this critical capability will ensure that Challenger 3 is a key component of the Army’s future Armoured Brigade Combat Teams and the UK’s contribution to NATO deterrence now and into the future.

This contract is a key part of the Land Industry Strategy. It is generating British intellectual property, maintaining the national supply chain and securing skills in the UK. It will support up to 58 jobs in Newcastle and Telford during the initial manufacturing and beyond if export orders are secured.

Colonel Will Waugh, Senior Responsible Owner for the Army’s Armour (MBT) Programme: “This contract signature is great news and another step forward in the delivery of the Army’s next MBT capability.

"The conflict in Ukraine has provided a timely reminder of the threat posed by Russia’s MBTs and other weapon systems. This armour is a world-class sovereign capability that will provide a step change in protecting our soldiers and the survivability of Challenger 3.”

The Challenger 3 programme will not only deliver a Main Battle Tank, it is also regenerating critical industrial capability in the UK, benefiting from the best of British engineering and manufacturing whilst sustaining valuable skills across the country.

The enhanced armour contract will deliver a world-class industrial capability for the manufacture of armour solutions.

Colin McClean, RBSL Managing Director said: “The industrial investment that will be realised as part of this contract will see Telford at the forefront of Armour Development and Manufacture. The investment in this critical capability will deliver for the British Army now and into the future. Driving the delivery of the Land Industry Strategy generating British IP, British Supply Chain and British Skills.”

DE&S’ Director Land Equipment, Maj Gen Darren Crook CBE, said: “The contract award for next-generation modular armour on the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank is yet another significant step forward for the programme. Not only does it secure a battle-winning armour solution for the British Army but it is also great news for British industry. It illustrates our collective commitment to developing and securing skills in the defence sector for future generations, showing the Land Industrial Strategy in action.”

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