Main Battle Tank
by Paul D. Handel
Originating as a private venture by Vickers Defence Systems in 1986,
the Challenger 2 is the first tank accepted by the British Army since the
Second World War designed and built exclusively by a Contractor, rather
than in response to a specific Army request.
The Challenger 2 was selected in June 1991 by the British government
and an order for 127 tanks and 13 driver training tanks was placed. The
first vehicles were accepted in 1994, and an order for an additional 259
MBTs and 9 driver training tanks was placed in July 1994. It is understood
that production is complete.
The hull of Challenger 2 is essentially the same as Challenger 1,
however some 156 improvements have been made. The Perkins Condor Diesel
(originally a Rolls Royce design) produces 1200 hp and is coupled to a new
6 speed David Brown TN54 transmission.
A Plessey Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) has replaced the Coventry Climax
unit in the Challenger 1. Upgraded hydropneumatic suspension and hydraulic
track tensioners are fitted. Two 45 gallon (200 litre) drums can be fitted
to the rear of the hull in racks, but these are not connected to the
vehicle’s fuel system. As well as the smoke grenade dischargers fitted to
the turret, smoke can be generated by injecting diesel fuel into the
engine exhausts, a feature normally associated with Russian AFVs.
The all new turret mounts an improved 120mm L30A1 rifled gun, which fires
the new DU (depleted uranium) round. Ammunition is separate, with the
round and the charge being loaded individually. A Boeing L94A1 7.62mm
Chain Gun is installed coaxially with an L37A2 7.62mm machine gun being
mounted externally. The fire control system used an improved version of
the computer fitted to the M1A1 Abrams.
A thermal imaging sight for the commander, with 360 degree rotation, is
fitted to the turret roof. The gunner also has a thermal imaging
A Pearson Engineering Combat Dozer Blade can be fitted.
Challenger 2 Main
The photos accompanying this article were taken by
the author at Tankfest 2002 at The Tank Museum, Bovington, and the British Army
display at Larkhill in July 2002. My thanks to Mr Max Richards for organizing
and facilitating my attendance at the Larkhill event.
the thumbnails in the table below to view the images full size.
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Article Text and Photographs Copyright ©
2003 by Paul D.
Page Created 07 May, 2003
Last Updated 06 May, 2003
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