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The Challenger 3 Tank: What You Need to Know

The Challenger 3 Tank: What You Need to Know - Paisley Autocare

Stuart Ross |

Introducing the Challenger 3 Tank

 
 

The Challenger 3 is a planned British main battle tank in development for the British Army. It will be produced by conversion of existing Challenger 2 tanks by the British/German Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land joint venture.

The Challenger 3 will feature a number of significant upgrades over the Challenger 2, including:

  • A new 120mm smoothbore gun that can fire the most advanced ammunition available.
  • A new suite of sights providing tank commanders with enhanced day and night targeting abilities.
  • A new armour solution that provides improved protection against a wider range of threats.
  • An active protection system that can intercept incoming missiles and rockets.
  • A turret that can be fitted to the tanks of allies and global partners.
  • Significantly improved mobility through an upgraded engine and new hydrogas suspension.

The Challenger 3 is scheduled to enter service with the British Army in 2027. It will be the most advanced main battle tank in the British Army's inventory, and will provide the Army with a significant capability advantage over its adversaries.

The Rafael Trophy Active Protection System (APS)

The Rafael Trophy Active Protection System (APS) is an Israeli-made system that protects armored vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). It is the only fully-integrated, combat-proven APS in the world, and has been installed on Israeli Defense Forces' Merkava tanks since 2010.

The Rafael Trophy APS is being integrated onto the Challenger 3 tank as part of a £20 million contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence in 2023. The integration is expected to be completed in 2027, when the Challenger 3 is scheduled to enter service with the British Army.

The integration of the Trophy APS onto the Challenger 3 will significantly enhance the tank's survivability against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. The Trophy APS will provide the Challenger 3 with a layer of protection that will allow it to operate in more hostile environments and against more sophisticated threats.

The integration of the Trophy APS onto the Challenger 3 is a significant development for the British Army. It will provide the Army with a tank that is more survivable and better equipped to meet the challenges of modern warfare.

120mm smoothbore gun (NATO Approved)

120mm smoothbore gun

The 120mm smoothbore gun is a type of tank gun that is used on a variety of main battle tanks, including the Challenger 3, the M1 Abrams, and the Leopard 2. It is a smoothbore gun, meaning that it does not have any grooves or rifling inside the barrel. This allows the gun to fire a wider variety of ammunition, including kinetic energy penetrators and programmable airburst rounds.

The 120mm smoothbore gun is a very powerful weapon. It can penetrate up to 700 millimeters of steel armor at a distance of 2,000 meters. It can also fire programmable airburst rounds that can detonate in the air above a target, showering it with shrapnel.

The 120mm smoothbore gun is a key component of the Challenger 3's main armament. It gives the tank the ability to engage and defeat a wide variety of targets, including enemy tanks, infantry, and fortifications.

Here are some of the advantages of the 120mm smoothbore gun:

  • It can fire a wider variety of ammunition, including kinetic energy penetrators and programmable airburst rounds.
  • It is more accurate than a rifled gun, due to the lack of grooves in the barrel.
  • It has a longer range than a rifled gun.

Here are some of the disadvantages of the 120mm smoothbore gun:

  • It is not as effective at defeating sloped armor as a rifled gun.
  • It is more susceptible to jamming than a rifled gun.
  • It is more expensive to produce than a rifled gun.

Overall, the 120mm smoothbore gun is a powerful and versatile weapon that is well-suited for use on main battle tanks. It gives the tank the ability to engage and defeat a wide variety of targets, and it is constantly being upgraded with new ammunition and technologies.



Here is a table summarizing the key differences between the Challenger 2 and Challenger 3 tanks:

Feature Challenger 2 Challenger 3
Main armament 120mm smoothbore gun 120mm smoothbore gun
Fire control system Thales FCS Thales FCS Mk.2
Armour Chobham armour "new Modular Armour" consisting of External "EPSOM" and Internal "Farnham" Armour, APS
Active protection system None Rafael Trophy APS
Mobility Perkins CV12-1200 26.1 litre V12 diesel engine Perkins CV12-9A 26.1 litre V12 diesel engine
Crew 4 4
Weight 62.5 tonnes 66 tonnes
Length 10.57 metres 10.96 metres
Width 3.85 metres 3.85 metres
Height 2.92 metres 3.12 metres