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RBSL to Test Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks with Trophy Active Protection System (APS)

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Rheinmetall - BAE Systems Land to Build Next Generation Challenger 3 Tanks for British Army
British Army RBSL Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank
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The announcement of the GBP 20 million contract awarded to the U.K. DE&S (Defence Equipment and Support) for the next phase of testing the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) on the British Army’s Challenger 3 (CR3) tanks marks a significant step forward in enhancing the defensive capabilities of the British Army. This state-of-the-art rocket and missile protection system, developed by Israeli defense company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, promises to revolutionize the way tanks and personnel are safeguarded on the modern battlefield. The Trophy APS has already demonstrated its effectiveness during three weeks of assessment phase trials on the Challenger 3 representative system. With a total of 25 shots, including live intercept shots, the Trophy system has showcased its lightning-fast response time and accurate target acquisition capabilities. This advanced system not only detects and destroys incoming rockets and missiles in less than a second, but it also identifies the source of hostile fire, providing forces with valuable situational awareness and enabling immediate countermeasures.

By securing the hardware required for the upcoming demonstration phase, this new contract ensures that multiple Trophy systems, along with countermeasures and test equipment, will be available for qualification and integration activities. This proactive approach to procurement allows for the early engagement of Rafael Defense Systems and RBSL (Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land) as the Design Authority for the Challenger 3 tanks, streamlining the development process and expediting the delivery of a robust and capable system. In addition to the military advantages the Trophy APS offers, the manufacturing of the Challenger 3 tanks by RBSL has also brought significant economic benefits to the UK. The project has generated numerous job opportunities throughout the UK supply chain, contributing to the government’s focus on fostering economic growth and supporting local industries. The Challenger 3 program is not only about enhancing national defense but also about bolstering domestic capabilities and ensuring a strong industrial base for future endeavors.

Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank
British Army Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank. (Photo by RBSL)

The Demonstration Phase, scheduled to begin in 2024, will be conducted at Rafael’s cutting-edge facility in Israel as well as various UK test ranges. This collaborative approach not only allows for rigorous testing in different environments but also promotes knowledge sharing and strengthens international partnerships. In conclusion, the next phase of testing the Trophy APS for the Challenger 3 tanks marks a significant advancement in the United Kingdom’s defense capabilities. By securing the hardware required for further development and integration, the British Army is one step closer to deploying a cutting-edge defense system that provides unparalleled protection against rocket and missile threats. The collaboration between DE&S, Rafael Defense Systems, and RBSL ensures that the final product will be a testament to innovation, effectiveness, and the unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives of military personnel.

Challenger 3 (CR3) is a planned fourth generation British main battle tank in development for the British Army. It will be produced by conversion of existing Challenger 2 tanks by the British/German Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land joint venture. Improvements to Challenger 2 began in 2005 as the Capability And Sustainment Programme (CSP) to keep the Challenger 2 competitive until the 2030s. The Challenger 3 has an all-new turret with an improved hull. The most significant change from Challenger 2 to Challenger 3 is the replacement of the Challenger’s main armament from a 120 mm L30A1 Rifled main gun to the 120 mm L55A1 smoothbore gun (which itself is an upgraded version of the L55 fitted to the Leopard 2A6/A7 family of main battle tanks) giving commonality with other NATO members. Unlike other fourth generation main battle tanks such as AbramsX, KF51 Panther and T-14 Armata which make use of an autoloader to reload to gun, Challenger 3 uses a human loader.

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