Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Challenger 2 tank
|Speed:|| 37 mph(road)|
|Primary armament:||L30 120mm rifled gun|
|Secondary armament:||7.92 mm coaxial machine gun|
|Crew:||4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)|
The Challenger 2 is a main battle tank built by the UK company, BAE Systems Land Systems. Although carrying the same name as its predecessor it shares few parts. Challenger 2 has replaced the Challenger 1 in service with the British Army and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman. The UK placed orders for 127 Challenger 2 tanks in 1991 and an additional 259 in 1994. Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2 in 1993 and a further 20 tanks November 1997.
Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in 1998 and the last was delivered in 2002. Deliveries for Oman were completed in 2001. Challenger 2 has seen operational service in Bosnia and Kosovo, and Iraq in 2003.
Challenger 2 is equipped with an 120 mm L30 rifled tank gun. The gun is made from electro-slag refined (ESR) steel and like earlier British 120 mm guns is insulated by a thermal sleeve. It is fitted with a muzzle reference system and fume extraction.
Around 50 rounds can be carried from a selection of APFSDS, HESH or smoke. A depleted uranium (DU) APFSDS round known as CHARM 1 (CHallenger ARMament) was produced, this has been replaced with the improved CHARM 3 round. As with earlier versions of the 120 mm gun the rounds are two part - separate charge and warhead.
The gun control is an all-electric control and stabilisation system. A 7.62mm chain gun is fitted to the left of the main gun. A 7.62 mm L37A2 machine gun for anti-air defence is mounted on the loader's cupola.
The turret is protected with second generation Chobham armour sometimes known as Dorchester. The nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system is located in the turret bustle. On each side of the turret are five L8 smoke grenade dischargers. Challenger 2 can also create smoke by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust manifolds.
Fire control and observation
The Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight II (TOGS II), from Thales gives night vision. The thermal image is displayed on both the gunner's and commander's sights and monitors. The gunner has a Thales Optronics stabilised Gunner's Primary Sight using a laser rangefinder with a range of 200 m to 10 km.
The driver is equipped with Thales Optronics image-intensifying Passive Driving Periscope (PDP) for night driving.
- Perkins CV12 diesel engine delivering 1,200 hp (895 kW)
- David Brown TN54 transmission.
- Second-generation Hydrogas suspension.
- Maximum speed 37 mph, 59 km/h (road) 25 mph, 40 km/h (Cross country)
- Range 280 miles, 450 km (road) 156 miles, 250 km (cross country).
Although it had seen use in peacekeeping missions and exercises before, the Challenger 2 did not make its true wartime debut until March 2003. During the invasion of Iraq, 7 Armoured Brigade operated as part of 1st Armoured Division , with 120 Challenger 2s. The tanks saw extensive use during the siege of Basra and provided excellent fire support to British forces. The only loss that was suffered was due to a friendly fire incident, where one Challenger 2 engaged another with its 120 mm gun, destroying the second tank killing two crew members. The tank's availability was excellent and the problems that were suffered during the large Saif Sareea II exercise of eighteen months earlier were solved by the issuing of Urgent Operational Requirements for equipment such as sand filters.
Upgrades and variants
Challenger 2E has a new integrated weapon control and battlefield management system, which includes a gyrostabilised panoramic SAGEM MVS 580 day/thermal sight for the commander and SAGEM SAVAN 15 gyrostabilised day/thermal sight for the gunner, both with eyesafe laser rangefinder. This allows hunter/killer operations with a common engagement sequence. An optional servo-controlled overhead weapons platform can be slaved to the commander's sight to allow operation independent from the turret.
The power pack has been replaced with a new 1500 hp (1100 kW) Europack with transversely mounted MTU 883 diesel engine coupled to Renk HSWL 295TM automatic transmission. The smaller but more powerful engine allows more space for fuel storage, increasing the vehicle’s range to 550 km.
Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CHARRV)
- Two winches
- Crane for Challenger 2 power pack.
- Dozer blade : earth anchor, stabiliser, obstacle clearance, fire positions preparation.
- Crew: 3 + 2 REME fitters
- Combat weight 62 500 kg
- Crew 4
- Length (hull) 8.327 m
- Length (gun forward) 11.55 m
- Width 3.52 m
- Height (to turret roof) 2.49 m
- Ground clearance 500 mm
- Max road range 450 km
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