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Challenger
Challenger 2, Iraq

Unit

Armoured Vehicle

Type

Tank

Class

Main Battle Tank

Special Abilities

None

Parameters

8.3m long, 3.5m wide, 2.49m tall

Weight

62.5ton

Main Weapon

L30A1 120mm rifled gun, 52 rounds

Standard Weapon(s)

Coaxial L94A1 L94A1 chain gun L37A2 7.62mm

Country of Origin

UK FlagUnited Kingdom

Operator(s)

UK FlagBritish Army Royal Army of Oman

Manufacturer(s)

Vickers Defence Systems

Prototyped

1989

Built

1993

Number Built

~446

Entered Service

1998

Fate

N/A

The FV4034 Challenger 2 (CR2) is a British main battle tank in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman. It was designed and built by Vickers Defence Systems (now known as BAE Systems Land & Armaments).

The Challenger 2 replaced the Challenger 1 in the British Army and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman. Vickers Defence Systems began to develop a successor to Challenger 1 as a private venture in 1986. A £90 million deal for a demonstrator vehicle was finalised in January 1989. In June 1991, the Ministry of Defence placed a £520 million order for 140 vehicles, with a further 268 Challengers ordered in 1994. Production began in 1993 and the unit's tanks were delivered in July 1994. The tank entered service with the British Army in 1998, with the last delivered in 2002. It is expected to remain in service until 2035. Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2s in 1993 and a further 20 tanks in November 1997.

The Challenger 2 is an extensive redesign of the Challenger 1. Although the hull and automotive components seem similar, they are of a newer design and build than those of the Challenger 1 and fewer than 5% of their components are interchangeable. The tank's drive system provides a 550km range, with a maximum road speed of 59km/h. It has a four-man crew.

The Challenger 2 is equipped with a 120mm 55-calibre long L30A1 tank gun, the successor to the L11 gun used on the Chieftain and Challenger 1. Uniquely among NATO main battle tank armament, the L30A1 is rifled, because the British Army continues to place a premium on the use of high-explosive squash head (HESH) rounds in addition to armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot armour-piercing rounds. The Challenger 2 is also armed with a L94A1 EX-34 7.62mm chain gun and a 7.62mm L37A2 (GPMG) machine gun. 49 main armament rounds and 4,200 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition are carried.

In 2006, the Challenger 2 was widely considered to be one of the best protected tanks in the world. The turret and hull are protected with second generation Chobham armour (also known as Dorchester). However, in Iraq that year, the front underside hull armour of a Challenger 2 was defeated by an RPG-29 despite being augmented with an ERA package.

It has seen operational service in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

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