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Uk Surges Ahead With Challenger 2 Upgrade


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After languishing for years last-in-line for upgrades the Brits' MBT is finally set to get the attention it needs:

 

 

LONDON — The UK Ministry of Defence has kick-started a program to update the British Army’s neglected Challenger 2 main battle tank fleet with at least three contractors submitting initial proposals to undertake the work.

Challenger 2 builder BAE Systems, along with rivals General Dynamics UK and Lockheed Martin UK, have all confirmed they responded by the Jan. 14 closing date to a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) issued in December by the MoD’s procurement arm, the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organization.

Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the builder of the Leopard 2 tank, was previously reported to be interested in the update program but it’s not known if the company has filed a PQQ now that buying new or secondhand tanks has been ruled out by the Army.

Company officials could not be contacted ahead of going to press.

Officially known as the Challenger 2 Life Extension Program (LEP), the update, including initial logistic support, could be worth up to £700 million (US $1 billion), said the MoD’s Contract Bulletin. The update program could also be applied to Challenger 2s operated by the Oman government, said the Contracts Bulletin.

The contractors are vying for two competitive assessment phase contracts expected to run for two years.

 

So, what do folks here think the Challenger 2 needs most? Adoption of a smoothbore 120mm cannon is an obvious item the article mentions, but the wish list is going to be long and there won't be enough money for all of it. So what should the British look to improve on their main battle tank?

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Replace the TOGS-2 and primary day sight, with a single integrated sight... using TOGS-2 that have a different aiming method than day sight is a pain in the ass.

 

Actually all necessary upgrades were already done in Challenger 2E.

 

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Is there any reason why they can't make fin stabilized hesh? Is the spin important or would the fin make the round to big?

 

Velocity is too low for effective fin stabilization and accuracy suffers.

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120mm smoothbore? Never going to happen. HM Spacebourne Armoured Corps will have rifled rail guns to fire HESH rounds from their hovertanks while colonizing worlds in the Orion Nebula. ;)

Actually some years ago a Rh120 in a Challenger 2 mantlet was test fired in Unterlüß.

 

Photos somewhere hidden in an old Challenger thread here, that I cannot find at the moment.

 


 

Question is, what is the best that can be done with the limitations of the current system to get around rebuidling the ammunition storage for fixed cartrdiges?

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The original topic thread was "Demise of the CR2" and you can't find it because it was last added to in November and the default forum filters by date.

 

CLEP is simply "CR2 Life Extension Programme". Any upgrades to equipment will come only as a side-effect of the replacement of obsolete parts, unless the three potential bidders try to sweeten the pudding with freebies, for which there will almost certainly be no possibility to score points in the proposal scoring system.

 

However, as far as a wish list is concerned there are no limits.

 

Items that should happen:

- Procurement of TES kits (or equivalent) sufficient for a deployment

- New ammunition. There must be headroom to squeeze more out of the L30, simply because as far as I know the current round design is more than 10 years old.

- Engine makeover. 1500hp flat rated should be quite possible and with TES making CR2 heavier than the moon, it would be necessary.

 

There's a lot of other stuff - increased digitisation, sufficient datalinking for reception of tactical UAV data, etc, but my wish-list includes integration and test of at least one APS - not for permanent fitment, but to avoid having to UOR a last-gasp solution should we find ourselves needing it..

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HESH is a piss poor reason to be stuck with a unique gun and ammunition. It's just not that good an idea.

 

Just drop in a new 2-man turret assembly with a bustle mounted autoloader, 120mm smoothbore, modern FCS, commander's RWS and plumbing for APS. Really....a repackaged Leclerc.

 

The UK will never work with Iran because of the Saudi factor.

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IMHO in the mid to long term, UK might purchase M1's from US (stored ones after refurbishement and modernization) or even new ones... heck I am sure that when General Dynamics won the Scout SV program in the UK, they would be double happy with UK purchasing a production license for M1A2 in the UK with all modifications required by UK MoD, like a diesel engine, perhaps a different suspension and a heavier addon armor package? It is possible.

 

Or eventually UK will wait for new tank developed in US or continental Europe.

 

As for Challenger 2 with smoothbore.

 

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They'd rather spend that money at home than on the other side of the channel. Especially that they do have their own tanks in their inventory, which can be upgraded.

 

But you're right about storing shit in some US desert. Should have been done with CR1s instead of GIVING them away.

Edited by urbanoid
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It was a mistake to lose the capablity I maintain. But it would cost far more than its probably worth to rebuild the capability now. Unless we suddenly want to build a 6 division Army which I would applaud, but ranks up there somewhere along the lines of Jeremy Corbyn being the next PM, and Forest Green FC winning the FA Cup. :)

 

This. Good idea. BAOV awaits. May even be sufficient for BAON as well - British Army of Neman*

 

*a river in Lithuania, in Poland known as Niemen, and in certain frightening, confusing language - Memel. as in "Von der Maas bis an die Memel". :D

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To be clear - the items on my list *aren't* part of CLEP as far as I know.

 

The engine refresh shouldn't require more than modifications as opposed to a full replacement. Modernise the fuel system, perhaps - the existing design must be 15 years old by now.

 

Also, the Titan and Trojan engine bay is different from the CR2 bay and provides additional scope for cooling, which means it's able to sustain rated power at higher ambient temperatures.

 

Final assembly of Scout is to take place in Wales, with turret final assembly probably Flitwick (near Bedford), but hull manufacture is in Spain and the base turret is from Germany.

 

The Scout engine is, of course, a Rolls Royce (cough) MTU design.

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...And HESH has proven to be highly effective despite being outdated at its primary mission of blowing up crunchies and opening doors...

 

There is a zero things HESH does that modern multi-mode (superquick/delay/prox) HE does not. Other than having god awful trajectory and piss poor fragmentation pattern.

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...And HESH has proven to be highly effective despite being outdated at its primary mission of blowing up crunchies and opening doors...

 

There is a zero things HESH does that modern multi-mode (superquick/delay/prox) HE does not. Other than having god awful trajectory and piss poor fragmentation pattern.
Not to forget a hardened tip to penetrate mud huts or clay walls to better blow them apart. Maybe even penetrate a BMP and blow it to pieces.

 

HESH had its times, but these are past.

Edited by Panzermann
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Yes, it was reasonably good for some applications, question is is it worth poor trajectory and poor fragmentation pattern. Even compared to '70s 125mm HE it is a loser, nevermind something newer.

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... Maybe even penetrate a BMP and blow it to pieces.

 

Delay fused 125mm HE does exactly that, as evidenced in Ukraine. It would also do that to almost any IFV in service ATM. 125mm delay fused can penetrate about 50mm of steel w/o problem and cause crack reliably on up the 90mm thick steel plates.

Edited by bojan
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