Ground Warfare

British Army’s First Pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank Enters Trials

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British Army’s First Pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank Enters Trials

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British Army’s First Pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank Enters Trials
British Army’s First Pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) Main Battle Tank Enters Trials

A huge leap towards delivering the British Army’s next Main Battle Tank capability has been achieved with the first pre-production Challenger 3 going into trials in the coming weeks. This marks a major milestone for the Army and the culmination of many months of hard work by RBSL’s team. This prototype, along with further prototypes to follow close behind, will soon show their capabilities on trials. During the trials the prototypes will be tested under operational conditions to validate their performance and make refinements before another 140 are built and delivered to the British Army. The Challenger 3 platform will be fitted with a new 120mm L55A1 smoothbore gun built by Rheinmetall, enabling the use of the most advanced ammunition available. Next Generation UK-sovereign modular armour, a fully digitised turret and integration of Trophy Medium Variant APS onto the platform will protect against rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles and provide the British Army with a step change in war-fighting capability.

First pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) main battle tank has rolled off the production line at Telford and deployed to German for trials.
First pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) main battle tank has rolled off the production line at Telford and deployed to German for trials. (Photo by RBSL)

Colonel Will Waugh, Senior Responsible Owner of the Army’s Armour (Main Battle Tank) Programme, said:”Delivery of the first pre-production Challenger 3 and the commencement of trials marks a critical milestone on the journey to the Army’s modernised Main Battle Tank capability. Challenger 3 will be at the heart of the Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, alongside Ajax and Boxer, under Future Soldier. Events in Ukraine have underscored the need for credible warfighting capabilities. The Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, with Challenger 3 at their centre, are key to the UK’s contribution to NATO’s deterrence.

Challenger 3 Deputy Project Manager at RBSL, Nick Berchem said:“Designed with the crew’s safety, operational effectiveness, and comfort at its heart, and with the users’ advice at every stage, I am sure it will prove to be a very potent and popular addition to the British army’s inventory. It is hugely exciting and very satisfying to be part of the team bringing this immensely capable tank to life.”

First pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) main battle tank will be put through its paces under operational conditions to ensure it meets.
First pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) main battle tank will be put through its paces under operational conditions to ensure it meets British Army standards before production of final vehicles. (Photo by RBSL)

Major General Darren Crook, Director Land Equipment for Defence, Equipment & Support said:“In an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world, our priority is to deliver to the Army the capability it needs to deliver Future Soldier and be more lethal on the Battlefield. I am immensely proud of the work the whole team has undertaken: the Army, DE&S and RBSL working together to deliver the first pre-production Challenger 3. This marks a critical milestone in our delivery of this impressive capability to the British Army and will provide our soldiers with a world-class Main Battle Tank made here in the UK. It also demonstrates the centrality of the Land Industrial Strategy, with the UK increasingly developing a highly-skilled industrial base and maintaining strategic advantage through our Industry partners such as RBSL.”

During the trials the prototypes will be tested under operational conditions to validate their performance and make refinements before another 140 are built and delivered to the British Army
During the trials the first pre-production Challenger 3 (CR3) main battle tank will be tested under operational conditions to validate their performance and make refinements before another 140 are built and delivered to the British Army. (Photo by RBSL)

Challenger 3 (CR3) is a planned 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. RBSL is playing a key part in delivering the Land Industrial Strategy through its Challenger 3 programme, ensuring it benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing, whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country. Ammunition is to be developed in conjunction with Rheinmetall AG, with a new kinetic energy round being developed for Challenger 3 and Leopard 2. The multi-million pound investment in its Telford facility, and the creation of jobs within RBSL and the UK supply chain, contributes towards national industrial resilience, and the social value and ‘levelling up’ aspirations the UK Government has set out.

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