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FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby CameronPerson » 27 Sep 2018, 01:18

https://www.forces.net/news/challenger- ... rm-warfare

Another report on Chally 2 and an interview with the “Campaign Leader for Challenger 2” from BAE..

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

Postby RunningStrong » 27 Sep 2018, 21:45

It's Black Night.

Night.

N.

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

Postby SKB » 28 Sep 2018, 13:51


(Forces TV) 25th September 2018
Britain's manpower has been showcased at the Defence Vehicles Dynamics event in Millbrook - amongst them was the British Army's main battle tank. The Challenger 2 entered service in 1998 and its life is being extended to 2035. The prototype Challenger 2, Mark 2 Demonstrator, nicknamed the 'Black Knight', has been developed within the last year, with the focus on enhancing its sensor systems.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Oct 2018, 02:23

If the CR2s are updated to something like the "Black Knight", they will remain an effective platform until their OSD, but it remains to be seen whether the programme is sufficiently funded to achieve this.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 03 Oct 2018, 10:16

An effective platform for COIN and bullying the T-72s of second and third world nations, yes, and at least not being blind any more since 24 hour HK became standard years ago; but there are still massive problems needing solved. Chief among them the gun, and further purchases of modular armour, or even armour upgrades.

Information has started to drop on the composition and intended shell resistances of the vehicle, based on documents uncovered pertaining to the tank's intended specification in the mid-90's. The baseline armour hasn't been upgraded in 20 years (an eternity in tank design, and likely won't have been for 30+ since entry), so it's a worrying set of numbers for a peer-to-peer consideration.

The Challenger's upgrades are aimed predominantly at repeating an Iraq. To operate against someone overmatched against it, really. They're clearly not angling this at rivaling other modern tanks.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 03 Oct 2018, 10:37

RetroSicotte wrote: problems needing solved. Chief among them the gun, and further purchases of modular armour


On those two the "other" update design may prove interesting
- Streetfighter kits are unlikely to be procured in quantity (is it 22 that we have?)

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

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Oct 2018, 10:45

On the plus side the armour package the CR2 started with, even 20 years ago was the best there was, and although Russia has greatly improved the protection on its MBTs I have read much in regards to its kinetic penetrators, given that even the T-90 is using a gun almost as old as the CR2. WE simply have no the budget to purchase a new MBT and that is what is needed if we are to get back to the top of the tree. I also think that the funding the Army has should be going towards ensuring 16 Air Assault is properly equipped followed by the Strike Brigades, with the Armoured Infantry only then receiving the uplift they need. Until someone in power realises that we need to spend more on defence, somewhere between 2.5% and 3% actually spent of defence and excluding the other budgetary lines incorporated to give the appearance of the UK spending 2%, we need to carefully pick which capabilities are retained and improved and which are allowed to tread water or lost. I know we have a big budget but with the overheads and imposed expenditure on areas that should not be the responsibility of Defence we are where we are. The current CR2 upgrade is the best we are going to get and even that is not set in concrete. Mind you any war will be over before we get out heavy formations anywhere near the front line unless it is near Salisbury plain.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 03 Oct 2018, 13:02

ArmChairCivvy wrote:On those two the "other" update design may prove interesting
- Streetfighter kits are unlikely to be procured in quantity (is it 22 that we have?)

Thats right.

Lord Jim wrote:On the plus side the armour package the CR2 started with, even 20 years ago was the best there was, and although Russia has greatly improved the protection on its MBTs I have read much in regards to its kinetic penetrators, given that even the T-90 is using a gun almost as old as the CR2.

Even in 1998 it was regarded as no longer being the top. The comparatives to the British Army standard on the 2E were tested in Greece and found to be considered lower protection than the M1A2 Export variant, and the 2A5. 20 years is a lifetime in the tank world for armour. There's been multiple full revisions of baseline for everyone else on top of what they already had of equivalent use from the time.

And note that the M1A2 Export at the time was less armoured than the M1A2 in service with the HAP2 package.

Challenger 2 met the top standard on its induction alongside others, but it was never the bleeding edge. There isn't a single bit of actual information that puts that across other than vague boasting by news outlets.

As for the gun, it would be a dire mistake to say it's just the same thing as back on the old T-72s. It's accurate, reliable, kept up to date for integration with their more modern internal systems, and the ammunition it fires now exceeds the CHARM3 in both weight of submunition, and velocity at combat ranges. Russia hasn't sat idle. To say the 2A46M is "the same gun" is to equally admit that the L30A1 is just the L11A1 from the 60's. If anything, guns like the Rh120 prove that the age isn't an indicator. It's compatibility and ammunition that do, and in that the L30A1 struggles enormously due to its limitations in the submunition size.

There's a lot to like in the chassis (its ride, suspension maintenance, reliability, low gear torque, crew space, turret cheek layout with the sights not penetrating the armour model) but we have to be realistic about what can be expected of it.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Oct 2018, 16:10

Ok ok that will teach me to try and be a bit upbeat about a crap situation we find ourselves in. Mind you everyone said the CR1 was a piece of crap until GW1 and then everybody changed their minds. We have this idea that the Russians have super tanks, well yes the latest version of the T-90 and so on are far more effective than back in the 1990s but we have always over estimated the capabilities of Russian equipment. Also what we see at eh shows are often little more than concepts and often few if any get to the front line units, instead parade formations receive them. Reading my old janes it wasn't so long ago NATO thought it would have to fit 140mm guns to its MBTs to defeat what became the T-90. As for the initial protection on the CR2, I do think you are doing it down a bit. The Dorchester armour fitted to the CR2 was superior to the version fitted to the M1 and it was only with the additional armour packages that the M1 gained superiority. The sloping and configuration of the Armour on the CR is better and the tank has a smaller profile in height and width. However like all of the UKs AFVs we decided post Cold War that we didn't need to really invest in updating out fleets as what we had worked in GW1 and would continue to do so as peer on peer warfare was a thing of the past. The bought the small number of CR2s because they were basically already paid for to replace the remaining Chieftains in BOAR but we also got rid of the CR1s. Since the mod 1990s we have not done Heavy warfare and we do not have the will to do so again. As I said we cannot afford to bring out Armoured Infantry Brigades up to the level needed so we would do better to concentrate on formations we can and should. Leave the War in central Europe to those who have invested in heavy armoured warfare and concentrate on other regions where heavy armour is not the king. If not lets just give up, reduce the Army to a Home Guard and build up the RAF And RN.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 03 Oct 2018, 18:09

Lord Jim wrote: I know we have a big budget but with the overheads and imposed expenditure on areas that should not be the responsibility of Defence we are where we are


A good sound bite... care to break that up a little bit... and we can then have a :D discussion?
RetroSicotte wrote: The comparatives to the British Army standard on the 2E were tested in Greece and found to be considered lower protection than the M1A2 Export variant, and the 2A5.

I don't think they did any penetration tests; in other ways the "trials" were most thorough?
RetroSicotte wrote:the ammunition it fires now exceeds the CHARM3 in both weight of submunition, and velocity at combat ranges. Russia hasn't sat idle. To say the 2A46M is "the same gun" is to equally admit that the L30A1 is just the L11A1 from the 60's. If anything, guns like the Rh120 prove that the age isn't an indicator. It's compatibility and ammunition that do, and in that the L30A1 struggles enormously due to its limitations in the submunition size.
Quite right; the Germans gave up their edge by deciding to go for a "green" alternative in the 90's... let's follow the Yanks (who also know about the dangers of dpeleted uranium)
Lord Jim wrote: we would do better to concentrate on formations we can and should. Leave the War in central Europe to those who have invested in heavy armoured warfare

- who might those be? The Polish come to mind (this time they have tanks, not just horses... but we know how that ended up the last time around)

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

Postby ~UNiOnJaCk~ » 03 Oct 2018, 19:39

RetroSicotte wrote:Even in 1998 it was regarded as no longer being the top. The comparatives to the British Army standard on the 2E were tested in Greece and found to be considered lower protection than the M1A2 Export variant, and the 2A5.


Err...? What gave you this idea? It pretty much runs contrary to every piece of "accepted" wisdom regarding the Challenger that there is. I've certainly never encountered anything that convincingly disputes that Dorchester:

A: was an unprecedented step change in passive armour protection at the time of its introduction and
B: is any less effective today than it was 20 years ago.

Personally, i also think you are heavily overestimating just how much development has gone on in terms of passive armour solutions in that intervening period. Sure, various nations have dabbled with new types of armour package inserts with varying degress of success over the years but almost no-one has attempted anything more radical than that - and that includes the Abrams.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 03 Oct 2018, 20:54

~UNiOnJaCk~ wrote:Err...? What gave you this idea? It pretty much runs contrary to every piece of "accepted" wisdom regarding the Challenger that there is.

The actual results from the Greek trials state otherwise, and the specification sheet regarding the Challenger 2's requires resistance levels in the design also make such statements that match up. They actually compared all tanks with full technical specifications on their layouts and capability to resist from a given angle of attack with KE, CE, and non-direct attacks. They rated the Challenger came out notable poorer than the M1A2 Export, or 2A5.

A: was an unprecedented step change in passive armour protection at the time of its introduction and
B: is any less effective today than it was 20 years ago.

The only way for this statement to be true is for ammunition to not have advanced in quality since 1988. That is clearly not the case.

Dorchester was good, but there is this "myth" about it being some sort of "decades ahead of its time" armour of the gods that honestly has no real basis in documented numbers to back up. It's pretty much just an alternate means to create something similar to the first upgrade to the Americam HAP, both being bnased on Burlington. It's pretty much just over-exaggerated achievements like the "70 RPGs" and "MILAN to the turret" which were impressive...but not anything that states it's that much higher than anything else. There wasn't a single penetrating hit on an Abrams in its entire service history in Iraq that wouldn't have penetrated a Challenger in exactly the same spot, for example, while nothing that was recorded to the spots the Challengers were hit would have had any better luck against an Abrams, with the sole exception of one acknowledged side strike that hit the Challenger's WRAP2 Dorchester side-skirts, which are an external module outwith the scope of the point about the baseline armour anyway. (And wouldn't resist anything larger anyway, not enough LOS.)

Personally, i also think you are heavily overestimating just how much development has gone on in terms of passive armour solutions in that intervening period.

Hardly, the M1, Leo2, Leclerc, T-72/90 have all had complete armour package reneweals since then. Thats under the skin upgrades, not just modular packages.

Lord Jim wrote:Mind you everyone said the CR1 was a piece of crap until GW1 and then everybody changed their minds. We have this idea that the Russians have super tanks, well yes the latest version of the T-90 and so on are far more effective than back in the 1990s but we have always over estimated the capabilities of Russian equipment.

I didn't say super tanks, I said that underestimating what they have is a dire mistake to make. Russia relying on "loads of crap tanks overwhelming with numbers" was, even in its most appropriate day, a bit of a myth, at at least a very inaccurate statement. Their modern tanks have good resistance, good firepower, and have closed much of the gap in terms of systems.

Also what we see at eh shows are often little more than concepts and often few if any get to the front line units, instead parade formations receive them.

T-72B3s have been in service and in combat for some time now. It's definitely not just parade concepts like Armata. The T-14 is actually one of the least concerning things from them compared to the continued upgrades on the later T-72/90s, especially to the M designation where they receive the Relikt plates.

[/quote]The Dorchester armour fitted to the CR2 was superior to the version fitted to the M1 and it was only with the additional armour packages that the M1 gained superiority.[/quote]
The M1 was from the 70's. Of course a tank made in the 90's is better. Those added packs tghe Abrams got already entered service at basically the same time as the Challenger 2, if not before. The Greek trials identified the M1A2 as having stronger armour, and that was the export weakened version. (The 2E had the same Dorchester as the British one).

The sloping and configuration of the Armour on the CR is better and the tank has a smaller profile in height and width.

Sloping does not work in the same way as it used to. KEPs will shatter or embed before they bounce. Both the Challenger and the M1 have the same issues around the turret ring/driver area. And the only reason they have it, is because every tank has it there. The differences in size are very very small, really. The overall config of the armour is definitely not superior though. While I won't talk where openly, I'm sure you know the Challenger has a gigantic unprotected area of just RHA alone on its frontal arc.

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

Postby jimthelad » 03 Oct 2018, 23:14

Not anymore

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 04 Oct 2018, 00:14

jimthelad wrote:Not anymore

For 22 of them, sure. The other 205, not so much.

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

Postby mr.fred » 04 Oct 2018, 08:31

RetroSicotte wrote:Sloping does not work in the same way as it used to. KEPs will shatter or embed before they bounce.

While there is some truth in that, if it were entirely true it wouldn’t explain the Abrams’ glacis.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 04 Oct 2018, 09:12

mr.fred wrote:
RetroSicotte wrote:Sloping does not work in the same way as it used to. KEPs will shatter or embed before they bounce.

While there is some truth in that, if it were entirely true it wouldn’t explain the Abrams’ glacis.

Only because the M1's Abrams is at an extreme slope, around 80 degrees plus, it's very much a nearly unique exception. That's a very different model than the Challenger's, one that has upsides and downsides. But its design is what allows the rest of the M1s hull to be as well laid out as it is for a much more notable advantage in coverage.

In general sloping is more a concern of space vs weight than it is about enhancing protection by increasing thickness these days, particularly with NERA. There's some old photos kicking around of the 2A5 that had its iconic wedges just made into flat boxes to go on top of the flat turret, because it actually created a more effective impact surface for the NERA. The sloping design was chosen to save weight, rather than due to any form of enhanced protection.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 04 Oct 2018, 10:06

WE have differing view here but we also agree that the current CR2 is not up to the job. The current upgrade is a small step forward but even then there are areas that need improvement but are not affordable with current funding. So do we keep them? If the worst happens is it right to send our troops into combat in such vehicles? Should we leave the "heavy" combat to others in NATO? Should we use the funds we have to ensure other formations are better equipped that they are now or are planned to be?

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 04 Oct 2018, 12:04

Lord Jim wrote:WE have differing view here but we also agree that the current CR2 is not up to the job. The current upgrade is a small step forward but even then there are areas that need improvement but are not affordable with current funding. So do we keep them? If the worst happens is it right to send our troops into combat in such vehicles? Should we leave the "heavy" combat to others in NATO? Should we use the funds we have to ensure other formations are better equipped that they are now or are planned to be?

I agree, differing views but ultimately the same aim here.

To be honest, I think the only reason they even still exist is that the Gov doesn't want the "no tanks" press, or they'd have cut them long ago.

They are still very useful for what I said above, to "bully" older tanks like they did in Iraq with absolute abandon. But such a thing worth the cost? It's a contentious and controversial issue as to reputation and having is better than not but having something known for being one of the least capable in the alliance.

All I can say is I want them to stay regardless, simply because if you lose an entire capability, replacing it becomes even harder long term since you no longer have the "replacing..." justification.

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

Postby Little J » 04 Oct 2018, 12:48

So is replacement a better option than upgrade? Not a tank person, but was just reading on wiki (no laughing in the back) that the Septic's have looked at putting MTU 883's in the M1. As much as my national pride wants to keep CR2 (with every upgrade it needs), would it be better just to replace it (like the E-7 appears to be replacing E-3)?

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 04 Oct 2018, 13:05

Little J wrote:So is replacement a better option than upgrade?


Half-way house: replace the turret & gun? Waiting for the Rheinmetall design to be unwrapped as they themselves have an incremental upgrades path, towards the new Franco-German one. In 2006 there were static firing trials to compare a version of L55 (mod'ded for Ch2, but actually installed on an older tank): the gun/ round combo clearly beat the Ch2 performance (which has remained unchanged since).

Fast-forward by ten years:"[in] a November 2015 presentation by Armin Papperger, chief executive officer of Rheinmetall, which builds key components of the Leopard 2 and the American M1A2 Abrams, the journey toward MGCS will be an incremental evolution. The first step will be to upgrade the Leopard 2 with a new digital turret core system, new situational awareness system and an Active Defense System (ADS).

The tank will also need a new high-pressure 120mm cannon and new ammunition. Papperger expects that the new gun and ammunition will yield twenty percent better performance than the current L55 120mm cannon.

There are significant drawbacks to a longer cannon—which is one of the reasons the U.S. Army retains the shorter L44 120mm cannon for its Abrams. It’s possible that Rheinmetall is using new materials to increase the pressure within the cannon without increasing the cannon’s length"

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 04 Oct 2018, 14:41

ArmChairCivvy wrote:"There are significant drawbacks to a longer cannon—which is one of the reasons the U.S. Army retains the shorter L44 120mm cannon for its Abrams."

Intriguingly, part of why they kept the L44 was the US M829 series of shells actually work better at the 1,500m/s velocity rate than the 1,700-1,800m/a that the L55 version of the Rh120 gives. I've got a picture at home of an Abrams with an L55, and their testing concluded while it had roughly similar performance, it had higher spikes and lower lows due to the M829 not being designed for that sort of MV.

In the same report, they considered the DM63 as a licence build for an L55, but the M829E4 hits FAR harder even out of an L44 than the German gun/round combo anyway, owing to its borderline absurd submunition size and weight.

Makes it very clear just how important the ammunition is to be designed for exactly what the gun is doing these days. In many ways more important than the gun itself, provided it can load it.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 04 Oct 2018, 16:11

I agree MBTs still have a use but their cost is an issue. For me if retention is a must the way forward should have been the purchase of enough M1A2, second hand to equip to reduced strength Regiments, with only half being brought up to the latest spec for deployment, the remained sufficiently so to allow relevant training, plus the purchase of sufficient simulators to reduce overall operating costs. We could still retain the CR based engineering vehicles as they are in some ways more useful than the actual MBTs. This would have been an interim solution and would have given us an effective MBT with reduced support costs that would continue to be up dated in conjunction with the US Army. Not ideal but better than the way we are heading. As for funding, well we are buying too many Ajax and we need to cut "Light" infantry numbers would be where to start.

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

Postby mr.fred » 05 Oct 2018, 10:21

Little J wrote:So is replacement a better option than upgrade? Not a tank person, but was just reading on wiki (no laughing in the back) that the Septic's have looked at putting MTU 883's in the M1. As much as my national pride wants to keep CR2 (with every upgrade it needs), would it be better just to replace it (like the E-7 appears to be replacing E-3)?


While it depends on the details of the upgrade, I’d say probably not.
Buying new/ refurbished , with all the required upgrades to make it current, is likely to be more expensive. If we do something the main user does not* then we have our own small fleet again, with increased costs in keeping it up to date. The E3/E7 thing is an example of that. If we’d kept up with the US upgrade programme, we wouldn’t need to replace. At the very least, we’d be replacing a 20 year old tank with a 40 year old tank**.

*e.g. Diesel engine on an Abrams
** unless we buy the LeClerc, which is unlikely.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 05 Oct 2018, 15:53

A purchase of MiA2s would be viable if we were careful NOT to try to add kit that would divert their configuration away from the version sin use with the US Army. If that means zero UK content then so be, with such a small fleet, 100 at most, with the benefits of being pat of the US supply chain far out way any small benefit for UK content. I would go as far as keep the US communications equipment if it is compatible with the UK kit in other platforms. Initially only a single small Regiments worth, say 40 vehicles would be brought up to the top standard, with the remainder possible upgraded in small batches if funding allow. This is the only way the UK is going to get a modern platform that has the hitting power needed to deal with the latest threats. Should we go down the route, I am not sure, but then again I am not sure we should retain our heavy formations anyway. The Mechanised Brigades are going to be far more useful and there will be changes to the organisation of these formations as the Army recognises that there are obvious holes in the capabilities needed for them to be truly effective. The current organisation is based purely on what can be purchased under the current funding. Deleting the Heavy platform and the ongoing upgrade programmes would free up funding to correct the recognised deficiencies. To be blunt, I see the future British Army as a light/medium organisation but heavy hitting still if the right equipment, tactics and organisation are adopted.

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

Postby mr.fred » 05 Oct 2018, 17:47

If a tank is the greatest threat to a tank, the logically a tank is also the greatest threat to any AFV. Given that, I wouldn't have high hopes for how well will a mechanised formation would stand up to an armoured formation.

The reasoning for a mechanised force and against an armoured force is, to me, redolent of expecting the enemy to co-operate in the creation of your dream engagement.


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