DSEI 2019: RBSL's Challenger 2 LEP contender comes out in the open

by Mark Cazalet

The Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) proposal for the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Life Extension Programme (LEP) made its public debut at DSEI 2019, held in London from 10–13 September.

RBSL's proposal for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme as shown at DSEI 2019. The upgrade would provide the Challenger 2 with ammunition commonality with NATO tanks for the first time. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)

RBSL's proposal for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme as shown at DSEI 2019. The upgrade would provide the Challenger 2 with ammunition commonality with NATO tanks for the first time. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)

The proposed upgrade includes a new-build turret with a fully digital electronic architecture, a Thales Orion panoramic day and night sight for the commander, and a Thales DGNS T3 day and night sight for the gunner. The turret architecture would also permit an active protection system or counter-improvised explosive device (IED) electronic warfare system to be fitted in future if the user were to require it. The vehicle has additionally been fitted with day and night driving cameras and its toe plate appears to have been modified.

Most notably, the primary armament of the tank has been changed to a Rheinmetall 120 mm L55A1 smoothbore gun, which would provide the Challenger 2 with ammunition commonality with NATO tanks for the first time. The L55A1 is capable of firing Rheinmetall’s 120 mm ammunition family, with a typical loadout including the DM63 armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding-sabot (APFSDS) round for armoured targets and the DM11 programmable high-explosive round with impact, delay, and air-burst settings for various other targets.

This article, first published 12 September 2019, is subject to a correction and has been amended.

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The Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) proposal for the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Life Ex...

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