The British Army's reliable Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) has served since 1998, with notable action in the 2003 Iraq War. To address evolving threats, an upgraded version named "Challenger 3" (CR3) is being developed. Instead of a completely new tank, the existing Challenger 2 tanks will be enhanced through the Life-Extension (LEX) program, involving new turrets and structural modifications. The collaboration between Germany and the UK, under the Rheinmetall BAe Systems Land (RBSL) label, will result in upgraded tanks starting production in 2027.
The CR3, as of 2022, weighs 73 tons, features conventional armor, and is powered by a single engine with conventional track and wheel systems. Its four-person crew, including driver, commander, gunner, and loader, will operate within a rotating turret housing the power unit. The tank will incorporate advanced armor and the Israeli Rafael "TROPHY" Active Protection System (APS) to enhance crew and system protection against modern threats. Its firepower relies on the German Rheinmetall 120mm L55A1 smoothbore main gun, offering accurate firing while on the move.
The British Army aims to procure 148 CR3 tanks, targeting Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2027 and Full Operational Capability (FOC) by approximately 2030. The collaboration between major NATO members signifies the tank's advanced capabilities and adaptation to the changing battlefield landscape.
Year of Service: 2027
Status: Under development. Program is running.
Manufacturer: Rheinmetall BAe Systems Land (RBSL) - UK/Germany
Main Battle Tanks (MBT)
The primary armored ground combat unit of the modern army, utilizing speed, protection, and/or firepower to lead armored attacks.
Frontline troops used for direct engagement in forward operations against enemy positions/targets.
Tanks vs. Tanks
Fight with armored vehicles of similar form and function.
The vehicle uses a track wheel arrangement to provide improved off-road capability.
This vehicle is of modern tank quality and its main armament is housed in a turret.
Drive-through owner weapon
The weapon is located in the traversing module and can counter the enemy threat in all directions.
The main gun has an integrated recoil mechanism that allows the system to remain in training after firing at the target.
Shoot anytime, anywhere
Airborne systems of modern quality ensure the accuracy of the main weapon and allow firing on the move.
The design includes features such as a chain linkage system or high ground clearance for better traversing of terrain.
Angled armor on critical faces adds inherent ballistic protection to the vehicle.
Improved armor protection
Increased protection by installing additional armor on top of the standard grade; old-design steel plates and modern types of reactive armor.
Additional protection of the upper track area and running wheels is achieved by additional armored skirts along the sides of the hull.
Crew are protected (standard or optional) by nuclear biological and chemical agents to improve survivability in contaminated areas.
The vehicle itself can generate a smoke screen either through fired projectiles or built-in engine function (raw fuel injection).
Night vision equipment is available to the crew to allow operation in low light conditions or at night.
Available for air defense/air defense
The system will receive an air defense component to protect itself from low-flying threats from afar.
Vehicles have built-in anti-infantry capabilities for local vehicle defense or general troop suppression.
Length: 27.6 feet (8.4m)
Width: 13.8 feet (4.2m)
Height: 8.2 feet (2.5m)
Weight: 145,505 lbs (66,000 kg)
Tonnage: 72.8 tons
Engine: 1 x Perkins CV12-9A V-12 diesel engine, horsepower unknown, driving a conventional sprocket arrangement.
Transfer: 1 x David Brown Engineering (DBE) TN54E planetary drivetrain (six forward speeds, two reverse speeds).
Speed: 35.4 km/h (57.0 km/h)
Area: 326. 2 miles (525.0 km)
1 x 120mm L55A1 smoothbore main gun is located at the front of the turret.
1 x 7.62mm anti-infantry coaxial machine gun.
1 x 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun on top of turret.
10 x Smoke Grenade Launchers (accepted).
45 x 120mm projectile (estimated).
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition (estimate).
500 x 12.7mm ammo (estimate).
10 x Smoke Grenade.