Army’s new 66-ton Challenger 3 is ‘better than any Russian tank and most lethal in NATO’


DEFENCE chiefs have unveiled the Army’s newest battle tank – and insist it is better than any Russian tank and the most lethal in NATO.

The Challenger 3 – an upgrade of the famous Challenger 2 – can reach speeds of up to 60mph and is armed with a new 120mm smooth bore gun.

Army chiefs have unveiled a new 66-ton battle tank, the Challenger 3, and reveal it is the most lethal in NATO

Costing £800 million, the tank is part of a programme to upgrade Britain’s fleet of armoured fighting vehicles and make the military fit for future conflicts.

Hailing the project, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The best tank available in the British Army is the Challenger 3 when we start developing it and rolling it out.

“It will be the most lethal tank in NATO, it will be able to talk to all the other elements of not only the army but all the other services and increase Britain’s punch in war fighting.”

He added that “world-beating” tank was better than Russian armour because of its new gun. Pointing at the Challenger’s new 120mm smooth bore gun, the Defence Secretary said: “Why this is better than the Russian’s is this thing here. This gun.

“The smoothbore gun and its lethality plus its ability to force-multiply by being able to talk to everyone else on the battlefield.”

The latest Russian T-14 Armata tank is fitted with a 125 mm gun and is thought to have a top of 50-56 mph. The Challenger will also be “fully digitalised” meaning the crew can and receive information on screens and communicate with vehicles on the battlefield as well as aircraft and ships.

Defence chiefs insist the upgrade from the famous Challenger 2 is better than any Russian tank

It has a top speed of 60mph and a 120mm smoothbore gun

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace called Challenger 3 ‘world-beating’

‘Continue to protect the nation’

Data and images can also be beamed to other vehicles as well as military commanders in the UK. Each tank will also be fitted with special threat detection systems and thermal imaging cameras.

It will fire high-velocity ammunition which can be programmed digitally from its turret. Army bosses are cutting the current Challenger tank fleet from a strength of 227 to 148.

The remainder being given the new Challenger 3 upgrade. Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Chris Tickell CBE said: “The announcement of the Integrated Review has provided us with a huge amount of opportunity and left the Army in a good place.

“The integration of Challenger 3 is key to ensure our success and integration in the land domain, ensuring that we meet our international commitments and continue to protect the nation.”

The tank will be built by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land in Telford, Shrops, and create 200 jobs locally as well as a further 450 across the UK.

The top of speed of the new Challenger 3 tank is 60 mph. Its predecessor, the Challenger 2 had a top speed of 37 mph.

Challenger numbers are being cut from 227 to 148, with the rest upgraded to new models in an £800million programme

Lieutenant General Chris Tickell CBE said the new tank ‘has provided us with a huge amount of opportunity and left the Army in a good place’

The famous M2 Sherman tank used by the US and British Army during the Second World War had could reach speedster just 30 mph.

Challenger 3 is nearly three times as much as that of Nazi Germany’s Panzerkampfwagen IV tank which had a maximum speed of 26 mph.

The Chieftain tank which was used by the British Army during the Cold War fared not much better with a top road speed of just 30 mph.

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