Photo: Graeme Main/MOD
The Challenger 2 is military vehicle currently being used by the British Army and the Royal Army of Oman. In use since 1998 the vehicle, which ranks as an advanced MBT or main battle tank in both armies, was manufactured between 1993 and 2002 under a contract with BAE Systems Land and Armaments formally known as Vickers Defence Systems.
A total number of 446 were built during the time. The British Army acquired 368 between 1998 and 2002 amassing a bill of £890 million and the Royal Army of Oman acquired 38. The vehicle now carries a value of approximately £4,217,000 or US$7,921,000.
The third in the line of challenger vehicles and posited to be the most reliable MBT worldwide, the Challenger 2 has withstood extraordinary pressure in the line of duty. Among its bragging rights is the ability of one tank to survive fourteen rocket-propelled grenades and a MILAN (Anti-Tank Light Infantry Missile). Overall, the model feared well during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 with no total losses in the line of fire.
Overall it is a high performance all terrain vehicle that can withstand heavy assaults and is packed with a considerable amount of firepower and advance technology that make it useful in almost any battlefield scenario.
Weight: 62.5 tonnes.
Length: 8.3 m (27 ft 3 in) and extends to 11.50 m (37 ft 9 in) with its gun forward.
Width: without appliqué armor 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) and 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in) with armor.
Height: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Capacity: It accommodates a crew or four consisting of a driver, commander, loader or operator and a gunner.
Heavily armored, the tank is among the highest protected worldwide. The vehicle is designed with both the hull and turret being protected by classified level 2. Chobham/Dorchester armor which is argued to be two times stronger than steel. They come fitted with ERAs (Explosive reactive armor) where necessary and the turret bustle is equipped with a NBC protection system.
Its boasts a L30A1 120 mm rifled gun with 52 rounds as its primary armament. It also comes with a Coaxial 7.62 mm L94A1 EX-34 and 7.62 mm L37A2 commander’s cupola machine gun as its secondary armament. Five L8 smoke grenade dischargers line each side of the turret and as an added feature, smoke can be created when diesel is injected into an exhaust manifold.
The Challenger 2 uses the Perkins CV-12 Diesel powered engine with a kick of 1,200 hp (890 kW), hydropneumatic suspension and a David Brown TN54 epicyclic transmission gearbox with 6 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can cover a range of 450 km (280 mi) at a maximum speed of 59 km/h (37 mph) and an off road of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).
some of its other features include
- Night vision and night driving.
- Digital fire control computer
- 360º vision in the commander station attributed to eight periscopes.
- A laser rangefinder that can cover 200 m to 10 km.