UK Rejects Claim That Giving Ukraine Challenger Tanks Reduces Operational Capability

A top UK military official has rejected the claim that sending Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine would reduce operational capability by nearly a third.

The claim was made by a British lawmaker who criticized the country’s decision to give its war-torn ally 14 FV4034 Challenger 2 main battle tanks to help counter Russian aggression.

According to the lawmaker, supplying Kyiv with that many tanks would equate to a loss of 25 to 30 percent of the British Army’s operational assets from the overall fleet.

However, UK Chief of Defence Staff for Financial and Military Capability, Lt. Gen. Robert McGowan, said the percentage “is not that high.”

The service reportedly has 227 Challenger 2 tanks in its inventory, and the claim that 14 of them represented a third of serviceable tanks would imply that only 42 are operational.

The alleged figure would also mean that more than 81 percent of the tanks in the overall inventory are not ready to perform missions.

Despite refuting the claim, McGowan refused to disclose the precise number of Challenger 2 tanks that are operationally ready.

Only ‘Temporarily Weaker’

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said earlier this year that sending Western tanks to the battlefield signifies the country’s willingness to intensify its support for Ukraine.

However, UK Chief of the General Staff Patrick Sanders admitted that the move could leave the British Army “temporarily weaker.”

But he shrugged off the concern, saying to his troops that ensuring Russia’s defeat in Ukraine would make the UK and other countries in the region safer.

“There is no doubt that our choice will impact our ability to mobilize the army against the acute and enduring threat Russia presents and meet our NATO obligations,” he told BBC News.

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