The UK begins assembling first Challenger 3 prototypes: Final tank design ready

British Army engineers, along with their colleagues at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (a joint venture between Britain’s BAE Systems and Germany’s Rheinmetall AG), have finalised the design for a new version of the Challenger 3 main battle tank ahead of schedule.

As a result, the tank design has been agreed and the RBSL plant in Telford can now begin prototyping.

The work was carried out under an £800m (over $1bn) contract which was awarded to RBSL in 2021 to supply the British Army with 148 upgraded, fully “digitised” Challenger 3s from 2027.
There has also been a “successful” test of the new advanced armour system, the military has said.

In addition to the main contract, a parallel integration of the Trophy MV Active Protection System (APS) is under development, with a successful demonstration in November 2022.

Challenger 3 will have:

→ a new 120mm smoothbore gun to use “state-of-the-art ammunition”;
→A new set of sights, providing tank commanders with improved targeting capabilities by day and night;
→A new armour solution;
→ an active defence system;
→ A turret that can be mounted on allied and global partner tanks;
→A significantly improved mobility thanks to an upgraded engine and new hydrogas suspension.

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