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Challenger® 2
Main Battle Tank

Our mission was to design the ‘best tank in the world’
Not only does 2016 mark a century since the first tank went into combat, but it is also 30 years since BAE Systems began designing Challenger 2, the British Army’s Main Battle Tank, which is now due to be in service until 2035
Image of Challenger® 2 Vehicle with Union Jack livery
 
Challenger® 2

Our mission was to design the best tank in the world

 
 
One of the first tanks to feature augmented reality in its sighting systems, Challenger 2 was a huge step forward both in tank design and in capability for the British Army. In addition to more advanced sighting systems, the probability of hitting a target was hugely increased by a combination of better gun control equipment and a more advanced digital Fire Control System, providing a highly stable and accurate gun even when moving at speed over rough terrain.
 
Not only did the day and night thermal imaging allow much improved threat identification, but the sighting system allowed 360 degree monitoring, with the ability to divide segments of the battlefield between individual crew members to ensure constant surveillance.
 
As with any tank, Challenger 2 needed an effective combination of mobility, armour and firepower. Firepower was achieved with an impressive 120mm gun delivering both armour piercing and high explosive rounds. A powerful 26-litre diesel engine delivering 1,200 horsepower, combined with Hydrogas suspension, gave mobility on even the roughest terrains – allowing speeds of nearly 60km/h on road and 40 km/h off-road. Finally, Challenger 2 has high protection levels which to date has protected its crews on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
 
Gavin Twidale, now Chief Engineer for BAE Systems Land (UK), was an apprentice back in 1986 working on Challenger 2 at the very start of its development. He vividly remembers how the team felt about their job: 

Our mission was to design the best tank in the world. It’s wonderful to have started my career as an apprentice designing Challenger 2 and now to see our new generation of engineers looking at how to extend its life. We all feel intensely proud to have designed, built and supported this iconic tank.

Gavin Twidale,

Chief Engineer, BAE Systems Land (UK)
 
While Challenger 2 was designed to counter conventional forces, it has also adapted to other roles including counter-insurgency and peacekeeping. To respond to emerging threats and changing battle scenarios, BAE Systems has delivered many Urgent Operational Requirements and upgrades since it first came into service in 1998. BAE Systems has also supported the vehicle over that time to ensure it always remains at optimal readiness.
 
Challenger 2 has a bright future, too. As announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the tank will form a key part of the British Army’s capability through to 2035. In order to achieve this, BAE Systems will be addressing the several key systems that need to be replaced or upgraded, re-invigorating Challenger 2 and allowing it to serve the British Army with distinction for the next two decades. 
 
 
Challenger 2 Image Gallery

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Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

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The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

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The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

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The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

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The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank - Crown Copyright

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The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger® 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

Download Image
The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

Download Image
The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

Download Image
The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

Download Image
The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank
Challenger® 2

Main Battle Tank

Download Image
The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
 
* CHALLENGER ® is a registered trade mark in the UK of BAE Systems plc.