Published 09 February 2023

Another significant milestone has been achieved by the Challenger 3 Delivery Team within budget and ahead of schedule – we are moving closer to delivering one of the most capable and lethal tanks in Europe.

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Challenger 3 teams from DE&S’ Land Equipment Operating Centre and the British Army, together with our industry partners Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) have been working to progress the CR3 programme at pace, and we can now announce that we have approved the Critical Design Review (CDR) ahead of schedule. This follows the Initial Design Review (IDR) held in March 2022 and is the culmination of an enormous amount of collaborative work.

This CDR means that the design for the tanks has been agreed and that RBSL can now start building the CR3 prototypes.

The work was carried out under an £800M contract which was awarded to RBSL in 2021 to deliver 148 upgraded, fully digitalised battle tanks to the British Army.

Supply-chain sub-contracts have now been awarded to UK supply chain companies, contributing to the government’s levelling up agenda. Following two key design reviews, work to modernise and expand RBSL’s production facility in Telford – which will also manufacture Boxer vehicles – is now almost complete.

We have conducted successful trials of a cutting-edge new armour system that will protect the tank; a UK sovereign capability based on a DSTL design and manufactured by RBSL. In parallel and following the Secretary of State for Defence’s acceleration challenge, work is ongoing to deliver Main Battle Tanks earlier.

Outside of the core-contract, but a key future enabler, is the concurrent integration of the Trophy MV Active Protection System (APS). This is progressing well through the Concept and Assessment phases, with a successful demonstration being conducted in November 2022.

The fully digitalised tanks will benefit from:

  • a new 120mm smoothbore gun which uses the most advanced globally available ammunition
  • a new suite of sights providing tank commanders with enhanced day and night targeting abilities
  • a new armour solution
  • an active protection system
  • a turret that can be fitted to the tanks of allies and global partners
  • Significantly improved mobility through an upgraded engine and new hydrogas suspension