The British Army is deploying a tank company in Poland equipped with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks. The deployment of the British Challenger 2 tank company will take place in south-eastern Poland and will be completed at the end of this week. British Army troops will conduct training exercises with the “Iron Brigade”. These exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF (Joint Expeditionary Force). In addition to the Army’s programme, the UK deployed a major headquarters to the Baltic region, in support of the JEF.
The FV4034 Challenger 2 (CR2) is a third generation British main battle tank (MBT) in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman. It was designed and built by the British company Vickers Defence Systems (now known as BAE Systems Land & Armaments). Vickers Defence Systems began to develop a successor to the Challenger 1 as a private venture in 1986. Built in the UK by Vickers Defence Systems, now BAE Systems and Land Armaments, it was designed as a replacement to the Challenger 1 tank in 1986 and has been in service with the British Army since July 1994. The Challenger 2 was also exported to Oman.
The Challenger 2 is a main battle tank, designed to destroy other tanks. It has been used by the British Army on operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq, and has never experienced a loss at the hands of the enemy. Challenger 2 is used by four armoured regiments, based in the South West of England at Tidworth, Wiltshire, and Bovington, Dorset. The regiments are called The Queen’s Royal Hussars, The King’s Royal Hussars, The Royal Tank Regiment, and The Royal Wessex Yeomanry which is the reserve regiment. Each regiment operates 56 Challenger 2 tanks and a similar number of supporting vehicles in tasks such as reconnaissance and ammunition supply.
In June 2019, BAE Systems and Rheinmetall formed a joint venture company, based in the UK, named Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). In October 2020, the MOD argued against buying a new main battle tank from overseas instead of pursuing the Challenger 2 LEP, stating that an upgraded Challenger 2 would be “comparable” to a Leopard 2 or Abrams. On 22 March 2021, the MoD published its long-awaited command paper, Defence in a Competitive Age, which confirmed the British Army’s plans to upgrade 148 Challenger 2 tanks and designate them Challenger 3. The initial operating capability for the upgraded tanks is expected by 2027, with full operation capability expected to be declared by 2030.