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C4iSR: Land

Thales UK supplying new TI camera for Challenger 2 tanks

11 October 2019
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A British Army Challenger 2 MBT showing the protected housing for the Thermal Sighting System mounted externally above the rear of the 120 mm L30A1 rifled gun, and with cover open. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Thales UK has confirmed that it is supplying its Catherine MP thermal imaging (TI) camera as a replacement for the legacy TI camera installed in the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) Thermal Sighting System (TSS), which is mounted externally above the BAE Systems 120 mm L30A1 rifled gun.

The work is done via the Thermal Imager Sustainment Programme (TISP), which aims to replace the TI subsystems to keep the Challenger 2 effective until the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP) comes on line in about five years. The TSS currently uses the Thermal Imaging Common Module (TICM).

The design authority for Challenger 2 MBT and its variants is Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) at Telford, a joint venture between Germany’s Rheinmetall (55%) and BAE Systems Land UK (45%). RBSL awarded the 1st phase production contract to Thales UK, which includes two systems that were installed in Challenger 2 MBTs less than 16 months after contract award, according to Thales UK.

The two Challenger 2 TIPS were put through a series of trials with the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington in Southern England and Castle Martin range for user acceptance testing and training system compatibility testing, the company said.

In addition, there were other previous trials including electromagnetic compatibility trials that included checks to ensure compatibility between the new TI solution and the vehicle, which has been confirmed by RBSL.

Thales UK is now delivering Catherine TI cameras to allow the RBSL field support engineers to convert existing Challenger 2 MBTs deployed in Northern Europe, said Thales UK.

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