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British Army Challenger 3 Live Fire

A British Army Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank fires a round during trials in Germany [Crown Copyright: PO Joel Rouse]

Live firings of the British Army’s Challenger 3 have taken place in Germany this week witnessed by the UK Defence Procurement Minister.


Press Release, Whitehall, 25 April 2024: Live firings of the British Army’s highly lethal future tank – the Challenger 3 – have taken place in Germany this week, witnessed by UK Defence Procurement Minister, James Cartlidge.

With advanced survivability and devastating firepower, the Challenger 3 boasts an impressive range of state-of-the-art technology, making it the most lethal and survivable tank ever operated by the British Army. The live firing took place in northern Germany, following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s visit to Berlin yesterday where he announced a joint endeavour to develop Remote-Controlled Howitzer 155mm Wheeled Artillery Systems (RCH 155), which will be fitted to Boxer vehicles.

A tank barrel being manufactured [Crown Copyright: PO Joel Rouse]

The UK and Germany are the two largest economies in Europe and Germany is our largest trading partner on the continent, with bilateral trade worth £147.7 billion last year. Challenger 3 is being delivered by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) under a £800 million contract, creating a number of highly skilled roles, with nearly 300 jobs generated within RBSL, including 130 engineers and 70 technicians, with an additional 450 jobs across the UK.

The live qualification firings involved the first Challenger 3 tank firing rounds at targets from a range of distances to ensure accuracy. They are being led by RBSL UK and Rheinmetall and are using the Rheinmetall ranges for consistency with NATO Reference Standards for the new weapon and ammunition. This important milestone follows Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps last week seeing the latest of eight Challenger 3 prototypes at the Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land factory in Telford.

A complete tank barrel [Crown Copyright: PO Joel Rouse]

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “Challenger 3 is a hugely impressive, cutting-edge tank. It will be crucial in the Army’s warfighting ability and the UK’s contribution to NATO, while acting as a deterrent to our adversaries.

“The live firings and production progress are testament to the talent of our defence industry, helping equip our soldiers with one of the world’s most lethal tanks and creating hundreds of skilled jobs back home in the process.”

Providing the Army’s Main Battle Tank, the Challenger 3 will remain in service until at least 2040. This third iteration of the Challenger series includes a state-of-the-art turret with a more capable smoothbore gun, which is compatible with the most lethal NATO ammunition available, as well as improved sensors, advanced armour, and an Active Protection System.


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