UK Sends First Challenger 3 Tank Prototype to Germany for Trials

The British Army has sent the first pre-production model of its new Challenger 3 main battle tank to Germany to undergo trials.

The procurement arm of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) shared photos of the prototype being rolled off the production line at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) in Telford.

The Challenger 3 prototype will be thoroughly evaluated under operational conditions to ensure that it meets British Army standards.

All feedback gathered will be used to refine the tank’s design before RBSL produces a further 140 vehicles for the UK military.

If all goes well, the Challenger 3 is expected to achieve initial operational capability by 2027 and be fully operational in 2030.

Why Germany?

The UK’s decision to test its new main battle tank in Germany could have been influenced by Berlin’s rich history of tank production and its sophisticated testing grounds.

The European nation also has diverse terrain, from flat plains to hilly regions, which provides a conducive testing environment.

Additionally, transporting tanks to Germany for testing is more cost-effective than sending them to other locations.

Apart from the Challenger 3, Germany is the training ground for the Leopard 2A7V main battle tank.

‘Best Tank in NATO’

The Challenger 3 is a 66-ton, all-weather armored vehicle designed to be at the heart of the British Army’s future warfighting capability.

It is armed with Rheinmetall’s L55A1 120-millimeter smoothbore weapon, which can fire NATO-standard ammunition.

It is built for a crew of four: commander, gunner, loader, and driver.

Like the Ajax armored vehicle, the Challenger 3 has been fitted with a sophisticated optical/targeting suite consisting of Thales’ Orion, Day/Night Gunner, and Panoramic Sight.

RBSL previously claimed that the Challenger 3 would be the “best tank” in NATO, “delivering a network-enabled, digital main battle tank [that provides soldiers] with a step-changing capability [to ensure] 21st century deterrence.”

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