Challenger 2 tank

From Academic Kids


The British Challenger 2 is a modern main battle tank, currently in service in the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman.



The Challenger 2 is a main battle tank built by the British company Alvis Vickers (now part of BAE Systems Land Systems). Although sharing a name with the Challenger 1, its predecessor, it shares few parts. Challenger 2 has replaced the Challenger 1 in service with the British Army and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman.

The UK placed orders for 127 Challenger 2 tanks in 1991 and an additional 259 in 1994. Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2 in 1993 and a further 20 tanks November 1997. Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in 1998 and the last was delivered in 2002. It is expected to remain in service until 2035. Deliveries for Oman were completed in 2001. Challenger 2 has seen operational service in Bosnia and Kosovo, and Iraq in 2003.

An improved design, Challenger 2E, has been trialled in Greece, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and production was expected by the end of 2002.



Challenger 2 is equipped with an 120 mm L30A1 rifled tank gun. the successor to the gun used on the Challenger 1. The gun is made from high-strength electro-slag refined (ESR) steel and, like earlier British 120 mm guns, is insulated by a thermal sleeve. It is fitted with a muzzle reference system and fume extraction.

Around 50 rounds can be carried from a selection of APFSDS, HESH or smoke. A depleted uranium (DU) APFSDS round known as CHARM 1 (CHallenger ARMament) was produced, this has been replaced with the improved CHARM 3 round. As with earlier versions of the 120 mm gun, the rounds are two part consisting of a separate charge and warhead.

The gun control is an all-electric control and stabilisation system. A 7.62mm chain gun is fitted to the left of the main gun. A 7.62 mm L37A2 machine gun for anti-air defence is mounted on the commander's cupola.

The digital fire control computer from Computing Devices Company (now General Dynamics Canada) has capacity for additional systems, for example a Battlefield Information Control System.

The commander has a panoramic SAGEM VS 580-10 gyrostabilised sight with laser rangefinder Elevation range is +35 to - 35. The commander's station is equipped with eight periscopes for 360 vision.

The Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight II (TOGS II), from Thales gives night vision. The thermal image is displayed on both the gunner's and commander's sights and monitors. The gunner has a stabilised Primary Sight using a laser rangefinder with a range of 200 m to 10 km.

The driver is equipped with Thales Optronics image-intensifying Passive Driving Periscope (PDP) for night driving.


The turret is protected with second generation Chobham armour (also known as Dorchester). The nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system is located in the turret bustle. On each side of the turret are five L8 smoke grenade dischargers. Challenger 2 can also create smoke by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust manifolds.

Drive System

Maximum speed 37 mph, 59 km/h (road) 25 mph, 40 km/h (cross country)
Range 280 miles, 450 km (road) 156 miles, 250 km (cross country).

Operational usage

Challenger 2 had already been used in peacekeeping missions and exercises before but its first combat use came in March 2003 during the invasion of Iraq. 7 Armoured Brigade, part of 1st Armoured Division, was in action with 120 Challenger 2s. The tanks saw extensive use during the siege of Basra, providing fire support to the British forces. There was only one loss due to a friendly fire incident in which one Challenger 2 mistakenly shot another, destroying the second tank and killing two crew members. The tank's availability was excellent and the problems that were suffered during the large Saif Sareea II exercise of eighteen months earlier were solved by the issuing of Urgent Operational Requirements for equipment such as sand filters.

Upgrades and variants

Challenger 2E

Challenger 2E is an improved version of the tank. It has a new integrated weapon control and battlefield management system, which includes a gyrostabilised panoramic SAGEM MVS 580 day/thermal sight for the commander and SAGEM SAVAN 15 gyrostabilised day/thermal sight for the gunner, both with eyesafe laser rangefinder. This allows hunter/killer operations with a common engagement sequence. An optional servo-controlled overhead weapons platform can be slaved to the commander's sight to allow operation independent from the turret.

The power pack has been replaced with a new 1500 hp (1100 kW) Europack with transversely mounted MTU 883 diesel engine coupled to Renk HSWL 295TM automatic transmission. The smaller but more powerful engine allows more space for fuel storage, increasing the vehicles range to 550 km.

The manufacturer announced in 2005 that development and export marketing of 2E would stop. This has been linked to the failure of the 2E to be selected for the Hellenic Army in 2002.

Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV)

The CRARRV is an armoured recovery vehicle designed to repair and recover damaged tanks on the battlefield. It has five seats but usually carries a crew of three REME soldiers from the Vehicle Mechanic and Recovery Mechanic trades. There is room in the cabin for two further passengers (eg crew of the casualty vehicle) on a temporary basis.

The size and performance are similar to the Challenger tank, but instead of armament it is fitted with:

  • A main winch with 52-tonne pull (can exert 100 tonnes using an included pulley and anchor point on the vehicle), plus a small pilot winch to aid in deploying the main cable.
  • Atlas crane capable of lifting 6500 kg at a distance of 4.9 m (this is sufficient to lift a Challenger 2 power pack).
  • Dozer blade to act as an earth anchor/stabiliser, or in obstacle clearance and fire position preparation.
  • Large set of recovery and heavy repair tools including compressed air powered tools and arc-welding capability.

see also

Template:ModernUKAFVsNavhe:צ'אלנג'ר 2


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