Land Platforms

Challenger 2 MBT LEP selection draws closer

22 February 2018
The British Army is updating its ageing Challenger 2 main battle tanks. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

The 24-month Assessment Phase (AP) to determine the winning bidder for the British Army Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) Life Extension Programme (LEP) is due to be completed at the end of 2018.

Two competitors – a BAE Systems-led team that includes General Dynamics Land Systems UK, and Rheinmetall – are bidding for the opportunity to update 227 Challenger 2 MBTs operated by the service’s three Armoured Infantry Brigades as well as training contingents in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Both companies have been provided with two Challenger 2 MBTs for the assessment, with one of these being a fully functional vehicle while the other will be used as a demonstrator for new subsystems that will replace obsolescent or end of life equipment.

These include stabilised sighting systems for the commander and gunner, associated control handles, gun control equipment, elements of the fire-control system, and crew displays.

Team Challenger 2 will utilise turret elements developed for the Ajax reconnaissance vehicle destined for British Army service, while Rheinmetall will leverage on its turret development experience with the Leopard 2 MBT and its other armoured vehicles. Both competitors are also expected to offer potential firepower enhancements as a potential add-on to the LEP.

The invitation to tender (ITT) for the Demonstration, Manufacture and In Service (DMI) phase is expected to be released around August 2018. Industry response is required to be submitted to the UK Ministry of Defence’s (UK MoD’s) Defence Equipment and Support organisation in December 2018 with a potential contract award in mid-2019.

Each of the British Army’s three are assigned with a Challenger 2 regiment with a total of 56 MBTs, comprising three 18-vehicle squadrons. Two vehicles are attached to the respective regimental headquarters.

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