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Challenger 3 to get laser protection system

RBSL selects Elbit Systems UK ELAWS protection system for Challenger 3. (RBSL)

Elbit Systems UK (ESUK) will deliver its laser protection system for Challenger 3 main battle tanks (MBTs).

ESUK has been selected by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to deliver 150 of its Laser Warning Systems (ELAWS) for the Challenger 3 (CR3) programme, ESUK announced on 22 September.

An ESUK spokesperson was unable to disclose further details regarding the subcontract.

ELAWS can detect, categorise, and accurately pinpoint laser sources such as from range finders, anti-tank guided missiles, target designators, and infrared illuminators. Providing 360° coverage, it can act as a standalone system or integrate with a wide range of countermeasures. The system can also detect and pinpoint radar and radio frequency sources.

RBSL was selected in May 2021 to lead the GBP800 million (USD901 million) contract to upgrade 148 Challenger 2 MBTs to the Challenger 3 standard.

As part of the programme, the Challenger 3 MBTs will receive a new welded turret with Rheinmetall's 120 mm L55A1 smoothbore main armament, a new active protection system, a new modular armour, a versatile turret, and a suite of modern sighting systems.

A number of subcontracts have been awarded, including Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' Trophy active protection system (APS), which was selected in June 2021, while in February 2022, Thales UK was awarded a GBP90 million seven-year subcontract to integrate its Orion sighting systems for the MBTs.

The modernised vehicles are expected to be in service by 2027.

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