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Ukrainian Tank Crews Arrive in UK for Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Training

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Ukrainian Tank Crews Arrive in UK for Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Training

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Ukrainian Tank Crews Arrive in UK for Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Training
Ukrainian Tank Crews Arrive in UK for Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Training

On 29 January 2023, Ukrainian tank crews have now arrived in the UK to undergo training on the Challenger 2 main battle tank. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is providing tanks to Ukraine to help them retake territory and repel enemy forces. The UK government confirmed reports on 14 January 2023 that in light of the developing situation in Ukraine, it had reversed its position on the supply of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. An initial commitment of 14 vehicles was announced, alongside 30 AS-90 155 mm self-propelled guns, and armoured repair and recovery vehicles.

Ukrainian tank crews have arrived in the UK to begin training for their continued fight against Russia.
Ukrainian tank crews have arrived in the UK to begin Challenger 2 main battle tank training for their continued fight against Russia. (Photo by UK MoD)

A spokesperson for the UK prime minister Rishi Sunak described the move as reflecting “the UK’s ambition to intensify support”. The Challenger 2 main battle tanks were the first Western main battle tanks offered to Ukraine, supplementing donations of Western manufactured infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, light armored vehicles and self-propelled howitzers. A number of other countries have subsequently announced that they will supply Ukraine with Western-made main battle tanks including the American M1 Abrams and German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

The UK is providing tanks to Ukraine to help them retake territory and repel enemy forces.
The UK is providing Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine to help them retake territory and repel enemy forces. (Photo by UK MoD)

The FV4034 Challenger 2 (MoD designation “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. In 1986 Vickers Defence Systems began a follow-up to the Challenger 1 as a private venture. The Challenger 2 is an extensive redesign of the Challenger 1. They are of a newer design than for the Challenger 1 and only around 3% of components are interchangeable. the tank entered service with the British Army in 1998, with the last delivered in 2002. The Challenger 2 was also exported to Oman.

Ukrainian tank crews have now undergo training on the Challenger 2 main battle tank.
Ukrainian tank crews have now undergo training on the Challenger 2 main battle tank. (Photo by UK MoD)

The Challenger 2 is equipped with a 120-millimetre (4.7 in) 55-calibre long L30A1 tank gun, the successor to the L11 gun used on the Chieftain and Challenger 1. Uniquely among NATO main battle tank guns, the L30A1 is rifled, because the British Army continues to place a premium on the use of high-explosive squash head (HESH) rounds in addition to armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding-sabot rounds. The Challenger 2 is also armed with a L94A1 EX-34 7.62 mm chain gun and a 7.62 mm L37A2 (GPMG) machine gun. Fifty main armament rounds and 4,200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition are carried. The Challenger 2 has a four-man crew.

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