The UK may transfer about 10 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. An initial Sky News report said the UK was considering supplying some 10 Challenger 2s, just a fraction of the 300 needed by Kyiv, as Ukraine tries to build a mechanized force to help defeat Russia.
What will this decision lead to?
If the decision on heavy armored vehicles is taken, this will mean:
- firstly, a significant increase in support for Ukraine by Western allied countries;
- secondly, Britain will indeed be the first country to send its own tanks to counter the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine;
- thirdly, the British initiative will encourage other countries to do the same: transfer heavy tank weapons to Ukraine, which will help to launch a powerful counteroffensive.
Colonel Hamish de Bretton Gordon, former commander of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, said the use of Western tanks could “tip the scales” on the battlefield in favor of Ukraine.
The government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has not yet made a final decision, but if it gives the go-ahead, the UK will be the first country to agree to the supply of powerful Western tanks to the Ukrainian military.
It seems that the transfer of French AMX-10RC armored fighting vehicles (also classified as light tanks) to Ukraine, as French President Emmanuel Macron told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, marked another significant increase in Western support for Ukraine.
Also, as previously reported, Poland may transfer up to ten Leopard tanks to Ukraine. This decision is considered in Warsaw as a way to encourage allies to provide tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Why the Challenger 2 tank is unique?
The Challenger 2 is a third-generation British main battle tank in service with the armies of Great Britain and Oman. It was designed and built by the British company Vickers Defense Systems (now known as BAE Systems Land & Armaments).
Initially, you need to understand the specifics of the Challenger 2, which have their unique features. Because traditions in the British army are much stronger than unification within the Alliance. And in the first place is the main armament of the Challenger 2 tank – its 120-mm L30A1 cannon with a length of 55 calibers.
Despite the fact that this is a unified tank caliber, the gun itself is special. Firstly, it is rifled, and secondly, it uses separate loading ammunition not unified with NATO.
Challenger 2 Specifications
The tank is equipped with a new rifled 120-mm gun L30E4. It is capable of firing a wide range of standard NATO 120mm tank ammunition. This pistol is manually loaded. The effective firing range of an armor-piercing projectile is more than 3,000 m. The Challenger gun claims to be the most far reaching gun in history. During the Gulf War, he defeated an Iraqi tank at a distance of 4 km.
Secondary armament consists of two 7.62 mm machine guns. One of them is installed coaxially with the main gun, and the other is placed on top of the roof.
Challenger 2 is equipped with a new fire control system. Some of its components are similar to the American M1A1 Abrams and the French Leclerc MBT. Its fire control system has a high probability of hitting stationary and moving targets. This main battle tank has a battle management system similar to that used on the M1A1 Abrams. In addition, British tanks can exchange information with US tanks.
The Challenger 2 is equipped with a 1200 hp Perkins Caterpillar CM 12 12-cylinder diesel engine. and a David Brown TN54 gearbox with six forward and two reverse gears. A second-generation hydro-gas suspension and a hydraulic track tensioner were installed. The maximum speed on the highway is 59 km/h, on rough terrain 40 km/h. The power reserve is 450 km on the road and 250 km on rough terrain.
The crew of the vehicle consists of four people, including the commander, machine gunner, loader and driver.
Physical dimensions – length 8.3 m, width 3.5 m, height 2.49 m;
- Weight: 64 tons, with additional armor 75 tons
- Gun caliber: 120 mm
- Engine: 1200 hp
- Specific power 18.7 hp/t, with additional armor 16.0 hp/t
- Maximum speed: 59 km/h
- Power reserve: up to 550 km
- Crew: 4 people
The West is preparing for more powerful military support for Ukraine
Western military assistance is critical to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia. France’s decision to supply Ukraine with light tanks, the UK’s consideration of delivering its tanks to Ukraine, and the announcements by Poland and Finland of their readiness to supply Leopard tanks to Kyiv suggest that the West is accelerating support for Ukraine with next-generation military technologies that will help them win this battle.