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FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 Sep 2020, 12:09

It is possible that just interpretation of language is the problem here
Lord Jim wrote: could it be an add on armour package for both the hull and the "New" turret

- if so, it would roughly replicate the depleted uranium additional armour layers on M-1s: frontal glacis and the front curvature on both sides of the gun, on the turret

Some sketches of the placing of it (production line photos as 'underlying'):
http://i.imgur.com/GwDeQ69.jpg

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 26 Sep 2020, 16:28

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Ron5 wrote:pours some ice cold water over the idea of 130mm gun

Don't know who that famous man is, but, yes, there is also a rumour that the same turret that is proposed to be put onto the UK Challies could work wonders on the very old ("original") Norwegian Leo2A4s.
- not a big batch... but every little bit helps (with the unit cost :) )


The 130mm ?? That would be a turn up.

As would a new Challenger turret that could also (easily?) be mounted on Leo's as part of an upgrade package. Bet there would be a few countries that would fancy that. Esp with 130mm gun and proven ammo. OK now I'm getting crazy, time to lie down.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 26 Sep 2020, 16:39

ArmChairCivvy wrote:On the Warrior thread attention was drawn to this paper (written evidence):
https://committees.parliament.uk/writte ... /9638/pdf/

It includes an excellent 'potted' history of (designing &) building AFVs in the UK, i.e how we went from world leader to no IP of our own in no time at all (which in armour is decades).

However, this list is presented as "decisions taken" and I am not sure that we "are there yet"?
"The Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme includes:1. A new turret and smooth bore gun.2. A new Kinetic Energy (KE) Round bought from the US or Germany.3. A new Day/Night Hunter Killer capability which will include greater range requirements for the new round.4. A new upgrade card for the ballistic computer.5. New Frontal Modular Armour (NMA).6. An Active Protection System (APS)either Trophy or Ironfist. Sources suggest that TrophyMedium Vehicle (MV) has been selected. This variant has also believed to have been purchased by Singapore.7. Upgrade of the Base Platform8. War stocks and Rheinmetall ammunition qualification.The armour and APS need to get through development integration critical design review and the NMA needs to complete development, all this before 2022 Quarter 3 review note proceeds."

- especially point 5 seems to be in lieu of the option of having a completely new turret? Have I missed something (I thought the latter was the favoured option)?
... and what is NMA, anyway


Not sure why the confusion about a new turret. The 120mm smooth bore requires one. As shown in the picture from ATDU.

The program has not passed maingate (due this year) so "decisions taken" don't mean a whole lot. Personally I doubt an APS will be seen other than FFBNW.

I seem to remember from the first reveal of the RM proposal that a new armor package(s) were part of the offer. Mostly based on the old packages no longer fitting the upgraded vehicle esp turret. No doubt made from RM's finest.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby military » 26 Sep 2020, 17:59

Lord Jim wrote:Is point 5 referring to new modular armour for the front of the Hull? Or could it be an add on armour package for both the hull and the "New" turret, basically a TES set for use when deployed operationally.


I presume the turrets get new armour as the turrets will be newly manufactured by Rheinmetall / RBSL (not sure whether in Germany or the UK).

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 Sep 2020, 19:34

military wrote:I presume the turrets get new armour as the turrets will be newly manufactured

Would think so, esp. as armour development proceeds at pace

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 26 Sep 2020, 20:38

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
military wrote:I presume the turrets get new armour as the turrets will be newly manufactured

Would think so, esp. as armour development proceeds at pace

Why can't the new turret just be configured to take whatever applique is latest and greatest?

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 26 Sep 2020, 22:21

Ideally it would be modular like on the Merkava IV.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 27 Sep 2020, 16:44

All tank turrets are modular. Even the current Challenger. It's just a matter of cost to actually replace what's in them.

military wrote:As a guess about NMA, I believe the kits of appliqué armour used in Iraq in 2003 for Challenger 2 were the same kits used for Challenger 1 in Iraq in 1991. Some of the appliqué armour goes on the front hull, so maybe they are replacing that?

In 1991 the Challenger 1 Mk2 and Mk3 were equipped with 200mm of VARMA Series 3 plating on the sides, and the ROMOR-A ERA on the front.

Come 2003, this was VARMA Series 6 (Sometimes known as 2E standard, note not the same as the 2E "export" tank of the same name.) on the sides with ROMOR-A on front.

Later on, this shifted to be known as various standards from 2F, 2G, 2H, to the latest 2I as the external composite changed formula and design layering. (2F introduced a 20mm backing plate for example, 2H onwards has a 30mm 'shelf plate' behind the 200mm composite). ERA was also added, while the frontal nose was adjusted from the late era 2F onwards to bea composite block of the same Dorchester based material.

It's all a massive variety, but it's certainly not the same as the original 1991 one. Details emerged from a Gunnery Instructor I occasionally chat to elsewhere, although most of the above can be seen in the Haynes Operating manual anyway, so it's open knowledge.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Sep 2020, 19:22

...developing at pace.

US army uses thin titanium plates behind composite armour and for M1A2 a 1100 lb weight reduction just for this is quoted. Add blow out panels, covers for sights and NBC system etc.

In an early Future Combat Vehicle hull section for ballistic testing the lower body and nose sections were fabricated from Military Specification MIL-DTL-46077G Class 3 low cost titanium and were mated to a composite and space frame composite upper hull section.
- low cost is one avenue (weight savings for same protection levels)
- dual hardened titanium is another

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 16 Oct 2020, 22:37

Comments from a Challenger 2 Gunnery Instructor based on things he has overheard (note: not what he is outright claiming for certain):

After my recent interactions with both BAE and Rheinmetall... the MOD has already said no to the L55 being a thing for CR2 and that is confirmed. The fact that, engineering wise, the 120mm in terms of its ammunition is already at its mechanical limits in terms of penetrator length means there is now virtually no viability for future improvement. (I know... a sensible decision being made is not what we expect) Not that long ago, there was a top heavy discussion between Germany, Britain and France about the possibility of a next generation Euro MBT which Germany and France were initially happier to proceed with, while Britain backed away at that moment in time. France has subsequently backed out completely. (Note from RS: He later clarified he means only the French MoD, not French industry) Consequently, Rheinmetall then put into motion the prototype plan for its next gen tank featuring... da da da their new 130mm. It's not an accident that the vehicle hull is that of CR2 though. This is a hint for the MOD... For a little while now BAE have been sharing data with Rheinmetall with regard to the development of an enhanced armour which began with RARDE back in the day amongst other data/development sharing. What this all boils down to is Rheinmetall playing with the Idea of a CR2/Leopard 2/Leclerc hull with what is fundamentally (under the new turret addon modular armour) the CR2 LEP turret with the 130mm and a new autoloader. Rheinmetall are right now building another version of the 130mm armed tank but with a Leopard 2 hull.

This will still have the same 130mm and autoloader but the same LEP turret (and modular addon armour) which we have already seen. The direction Rheinmetall are going in, or want to, will ultimately lead to Leo3/CR3 etc. The plan is to basically keep the existing hulls in a basic sense but either flat out replace the armour packages with a package similar to the modular additions to the LEP turret or just add the modular armour to the current existing armour. The question with regard to propulsion has not been answered with any clarity but its been hinted at that both tanks will share the same powerpack and the HAAIP as it stands now for CR2 will be scrapped. Then there's all the other improvements to consider such as the APS from Black Knight and LWR which as an example will be common. The MOD as a customer are keen to avoid the same situation experienced recently with regard to Ajax/Warrior going massively over budget and planned in service date. The fact that the MOD have asked for a proposed in service date from Rheinmetall/BAE means its being taken seriously. We will have to wait and see.



It seems logical. Lots of Chally/Leo customers may not pay for a whole new vehicle but would be happy to replace the turret alone, and having the UK to possible head up some exports may circumvent Germany's Gov holding up certain customers in their eyes.

Note that I think there may be a difference between that project, and MGCS which France may still be a part of since that's a whole different tank entirely.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Oct 2020, 03:12

So would it be worth waiting longer for Rheinmetall's idea of a Challenger 3 with modular armour and a 130mm Gum. Would such a programme even be affordable or could we get a deal from Rheinmetall for being the launch customer? I understand the train of thought that the L55 is reached its limit developmental wise, but the US is sticking to the L44 and will probably keep using it until a railgun becomes available. :D

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 03:59

RetroSicotte wrote:France has subsequently backed out completely. (Note from RS: He later clarified he means only the French MoD, not French industry)

True or not, it does not change the fact that their tank and fighter prgrms are 'joined at the hip' as both need political support to be sustained. The challenges are different: parliamentary balance in Germany re: uparming/ modernising, in France Dassaults vocal complaints about not being in the driving seat, and also the smaller economy's ability to pay (new carrier, replacement sub, Sahel war, in-country military patrols...)
RetroSicotte wrote:logical. Lots of Chally/Leo customers may not pay for a whole new vehicle but would be happy to replace the turret alone
Whole fleet replacements tend to take decades; this is a quicker way to respond to changing threats

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 17 Oct 2020, 09:00

RetroSicotte wrote:the MOD has already said no to the L55 being a thing for CR2 and that is confirmed. The fact that, engineering wise, the 120mm in terms of its ammunition is already at its mechanical limits in terms of penetrator length means there is now virtually no viability for future improvemen

If that’s true the MoD needs taking out behind the barn and shooting.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 09:47

mr.fred wrote:is already at its mechanical limits in terms of penetrator length
Has this not been a known fact for a good while?

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 17 Oct 2020, 12:31

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
mr.fred wrote:is already at its mechanical limits in terms of penetrator length
Has this not been a known fact for a good while?

Assuming that you’ve misquoted, a fair few people have been dissatisfied by MoD procurement, but to offer up additional costs to de-risk a weapons system for another country’s benefit (again) in the middle of budget pressure and problems seems misguided at best.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 13:44

OK, so that was the gist
mr.fred wrote:to de-risk a weapons system for another country’s benefit (again) in the middle of budget pressure

and I would say (though I don't have the cost comparisons to hand - and I v much doubt that anyone who is not involved has) that it is the best way for us to get out of the whole that we have dug ourselves in.

As I said this week on some other thread, risk is a cost add-on, but for it to work that way, one needs to
A. be able to assess risk, and
B. know the base costs for the alternatives, so that one can have that premium slapped on, for objective assessment and, in the end, selection

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 17 Oct 2020, 15:48

It's been reported in several places that the MoD has been offered the 130mm as an option by RBSL for the Challenger LEP.

But, and it's a huge "but", the MoD will no way chose the 130mm until everyone else commits to that caliber being the one for the future and not 140mm. It's all about ammunition and ammunition supply. If everyone goes 130mm then 130mm ammo will be dirt cheap. Otherwise, priced like 120mm rifled ammo but programmable. So real pricey.

The Challenger LEP that ATDU is playing with is 120mm.

Mind you, the thought of RBSL offering to upgrade Leo's to 130mm by sticking a new turret on top is an intriguing thought. Would be a few countries in line for that I would imagine.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 18 Oct 2020, 01:27

Well worth a watch. Covers the progress of the Army's AFV programmes and how the Integrated Review might affect them.
https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Ind ... 27604b47d1

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Oct 2020, 10:28

Ron5 wrote:the MoD will no way chose the 130mm until everyone else commits to that caliber being the one for the future and not 140mm. It's all about ammunition and ammunition supply.

While I agree the point -a v important one it is, too - don't think 'everyone else, necessarily applies
- two out of US/ UK/ Germany/ France would do
- if Germany+UK go, then Sweden (with promised total renewal from 2030) would be likely to follow, with their stock being of same age (and of planned quantity) as ours. Their Leos being 2A5 Improved, which prescribed improvements increased the combat weight by close to 3 tonnes, to 62 tonnes.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ~UNiOnJaCk~ » 18 Oct 2020, 12:19

RetroSicotte wrote:Comments from a Challenger 2 Gunnery Instructor based on things he has overheard (note: not what he is outright claiming for certain):

This is a hint for the MOD... For a little while now BAE have been sharing data with Rheinmetall with regard to the development of an enhanced armour which began with RARDE back in the day amongst other data/development sharing.



If I've understood this correctly, what is being suggested here is that the new armour package seen on the CR2 130mm demonstrator is a BAE/UK developed solution?

I had heard suggestions that we were still undertaking armour/advanced materials research in the background for quite a while now. It would be interesting to find out if this represents the fruits of those supposed labours.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 18 Oct 2020, 16:23

~UNiOnJaCk~ wrote:If I've understood this correctly, what is being suggested here is that the new armour package seen on the CR2 130mm demonstrator is a BAE/UK developed solution?

I had heard suggestions that we were still undertaking armour/advanced materials research in the background for quite a while now. It would be interesting to find out if this represents the fruits of those supposed labours.

It could be all sorts of things, but some degree of development has still gone on for external modules. The Challenger's composite external panels moved through approx 2-4 variants over time. Not quite the same as full body research on an MBT as Rhm has done, but engineering knowhow can always be applied.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 18 Oct 2020, 16:25

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Ron5 wrote:the MoD will no way chose the 130mm until everyone else commits to that caliber being the one for the future and not 140mm. It's all about ammunition and ammunition supply.

While I agree the point -a v important one it is, too - don't think 'everyone else, necessarily applies
- two out of US/ UK/ Germany/ France would do
- if Germany+UK go, then Sweden (with promised total renewal from 2030) would be likely to follow, with their stock being of same age (and of planned quantity) as ours. Their Leos being 2A5 Improved, which prescribed improvements increased the combat weight by close to 3 tonnes, to 62 tonnes.


Germany and France will be the same whatever it is. Sweden doesn't matter, not big enough. Lord alone knows what the US will do, we have a huge investment in 120mm which makes it hard to change.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ~UNiOnJaCk~ » 18 Oct 2020, 17:00

RetroSicotte wrote:It could be all sorts of things, but some degree of development has still gone on for external modules. The Challenger's composite external panels moved through approx 2-4 variants over time. Not quite the same as full body research on an MBT as Rhm has done, but engineering knowhow can always be applied.

When you refer to external modules, do you mean in the sense of an up-armour kit in the vein of TES or the NG arrangement for Leopard 2?

To my eyes the armour configuration of the 130mm CR2 looked a little too integral to be an external bolt on kit, more like the base armour array?

That said, bolt on armour is integrated in an increasingly sophisticated way in recent years, it can sometimes be hard to tell apart.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Oct 2020, 17:19

~UNiOnJaCk~ wrote:the armour configuration of the 130mm CR2 looked a little too integral to be an external bolt on kit, more like the base armour array


Indeed. Look at base Leo A5 and the I (or S, for Sweden) side by side and the differences look similar: Improved S, a modified Leopard 2A5 with three tons of additional armor, primarily applied to the front and the top

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 19 Oct 2020, 02:29

~UNiOnJaCk~ wrote:When you refer to external modules, do you mean in the sense of an up-armour kit in the vein of TES or the NG arrangement for Leopard 2?

TES, thats all thats changed on Chally 2, and the only visible "into service" armour development seen thus far for MBTs in the UK.

To my eyes the armour configuration of the 130mm CR2 looked a little too integral to be an external bolt on kit, more like the base armour array?

It's definitely a bolt on. The seams are visible on examination around the obsolete components like the operator's sight (which wouldn't be present on a 3 person tank were it a full on new thing).


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