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Challenger tank

The Challenger 2 is a main battle tank built by the UK company, Alvis Vickers Ltd (formerly Vickers Defence Systems). Challenger 2 is in service with the British Army and with the Royal Army of Oman. The UK placed orders for 127 Challenger 2 tanks in 1991 and an additional 259 in 1994. In 1993 Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2 tanks and an order for a further 20 tanks was placed in November 1997.

Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in June 1998 and the last of the 386 tanks was delivered in April 2002. Deliveries for Oman were completed in 2001. Challenger 2 has seen operational service in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Challenger 2E, the latest development model, has been designed for the export market and is suitable for harsh environmental and climactic conditions. The 2E has been extensively trialled in Greece, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and a production version is expected by the end of 2002.

Table of contents
1 Armament
2 Self-protection
3 Fire control and observation
4 Propulsion

Armament

Challenger 2 is equipped with an L30, 120mm rifled tank gun from the Royal Ordnance division of BAe SYSTEMS. The gun is made from electro-slag refined steel (ESR) and is insulated with a thermal sleeve. It is fitted with a muzzle reference system and fume extraction. The turret is capable of 360 rotation and the weapon elevation range is from -10 to +20.

There is capacity for 50 120mm projectiles, including armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive squash head (HESH) or smoke rounds. The L30 gun can also fire the depleted uranium (DU) round with a stick charge propellant. With the DU round, the L30 is part of the Charm 1 gun, charge and projectile system. A Charm 3 system is under development in which the DU projectile has a higher length to diameter aspect ratio for increased penetration.

The gun control is provided by an all-electric gun control and stabilisation system from BAe SYSTEMS. Challenger 2 is also equipped with a Boeing 7.62mm chain gun, which is located to the left of the main tank gun. The loader has a 7.62mm GPMG L37A2 anti-air machine gun, mounted on the cupola.

Self-protection

The turret is protected with second generation Chobham armour. A nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system is located in the turret bustle. On each side of the turret are five L8 smoke grenade dischargers, from Helio Mirror Company. Challenger 2 can also set a smoke screen by the injection of diesel fuel into the engine exhausts.

Fire control and observation

The digital fire control computer from Computing Devices Company (now General Dynamics Canada) has capacity for additional systems, for example a Battlefield Information Control System.

The commander has a panoramic VS 580-10 gyrostabilised sight from SAGEM (formerly SFIM Industries). A laser rangefinder is incorporated into an intermediate assembly. Elevation range is +35 to - 35. The commander's station is equipped with eight periscopes which provide 360 vision.

The Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight II (TOGS II), from Thales (formerly Pilkington) Optronics, provides night vision. The sensor is based on UK TICM 2 common modules. The thermal image, with magnification x 4 and x 11.5 is displayed in the gunner's and commander's sights and monitors. The gunner has a Thales Optronics stabilised Gunner's Primary Sight, consisting of visual channel, 4Hz laser rangefinder and display. The laser rangefinder has a range of 200m to 10km.

The driver is equipped with an image-intensifying Passive Driving Periscope (PDP) from Thales Optronics, for night driving.

Propulsion

The Challenger 2 has a twelve-cylinder, 1,200hp Perkins Caterpillar CV12 diesel engine and a David Brown TN54 gearbox, with six forward and two reverse gears. Second-generation Hydrogas suspension and hydraulic track tensioner are fitted. The maximum speed by road is 59km/h and 40km/h cross country. The range is given as 450km by road and 250km cross country.