Rheinmetall and BAE systems have both been awarded £23m for a two year Challenger 2 life extension programme (assessment phase) contract by the MoD.
They will each develop solutions, to address ‘obsolescence’ issues and keep Challenger 2, which first saw active service in 1998, up to date for combat and peace keeping roles for a further 20 years by sustaining capability and operational effectiveness.
The companies will effectively complete with a view to winning the eventual £700m upgrade contract. Completion of the upgrade programme on the 227-strong fleet will extend the Challenger 2’s ‘out of service’ date by ten years to 2035.
Considered advanced when first designed, with augmented reality and 360 degree monitoring, Challenger 2 has now been surpassed by more modern tanks’ technological capability, like the new generation T-14 Armata tank unveiled by Moscow last year. Despite several upgrades over the years, a Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015 identified the need for a significant overhaul.