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Land Platforms

Jordan restructures its armoured formations

22 February 2018

Key Points

  • The Royal Jordanian Army is restructuring its armoured units with the addition of second-hand AFVs from Italy and Germany
  • Its ex-British Army Challenger 1 MBTs will be retired

The Royal Jordanian Army (RJA) is restructuring its armoured forces, with second-hand Iveco Centauro 105 mm 8x8 Mobile Gun Systems (MGSs) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) equipping new units and the RJA’s Challenger 1 MBTs being retired.

Details of the restructuring were given at the recent IQPC International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) Conference, held in London from 22–25 January, by a representative of the King Abdullah II 3rd Armoured Division.The RJA is to phase out its 120 mm-armed Al Hussein MBTs (shown) and only retain the upgraded 105 mm-armed M60A3 MBTs it has in service. (C F Foss)The RJA is to phase out its 120 mm-armed Al Hussein MBTs (shown) and only retain the upgraded 105 mm-armed M60A3 MBTs it has in service. (C F Foss)

The RJA currently has eight battalions of MBTs, four of which are equipped with a total of 182 US-supplied General Dynamics Land Systems M60A3s armed with 105 mm M68 rifled tank guns that have been upgraded with a Raytheon Integrated Fire Control System (IFCS).

The other four battalions are equipped with ex-British Army Challenger 1s, which are known locally as Al Hussein MBTs. Around 400 of these had been delivered by 2004, although it is unlikely that many are still in service.

Although the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) has developed various firepower upgrades for the Al Hussein MBT, none of these ever entered service. Therefore the Al Husseins will now be phased out of service, with only the M60A3s remaining in the RJA inventory.

Meanwhile, Jordan has already taken delivery of 141 ex-Italian Army Centauros, of which 80 are expected to be deployed by two battalions, with the remainder used for spares and training. The Centauros fire the same family of 105 mm ammunition as the upgraded M60A3 MBTs and, as they are wheeled, have greater strategic mobility, since they can be rapidly deployed without requiring a heavy equipment transporters.

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