Published 27 April 2023

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Germany and the UK will work together on the next phase of development for advanced armour-piercing tank ammunition for the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank.

DE&S CEO Andy Start, in his role as UK National Armament Director, met his German counterpart, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, at the Honourable Artillery Company in London, where they signed a Statement of Intent to collaborate on the Enhanced Kinetic Energy (EKE) round, which will provide a step change in the British Army’s ability to defeat evolving enemy threats.

Demonstrating that the new munition passes all legal and regulatory standards, this next phase of “qualification” marks a significant milestone in the ammunition’s programme.

Ongoing discussions will seek a joint programme to be stood up this year, with the aim for the EKE ammunition to be used on Challenger 3.

They would be fired from the L55A1 turret on Challenger 3 and German Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks, supporting interoperability with NATO allies. The agreement follows both countries announcing the gifting of a squadron of their respective Main Battle Tanks to support Ukraine in its fight to counter Russia’s illegal invasion.

Andy said: “The UK will continue to drive stronger collaboration between partner nations to address current and future procurement needs. This approach maximises our collective strength to drive standardisation across NATO and provides the opportunity for nations to improve availability and realise efficiencies.”

DE&S Director General Land Chris Bushell said: “Whilst the wider capability benefits of this agreement is great news for defence and the Armed Forces, the real term benefits of this collaboration will be felt in procurement. For those of us delivering front line capabilities such as Challenger 3 this is welcome news.”

Under the terms of the new agreement, Germany and the UK will also remain open for other nations to join the co-operation or be export recipients, as well as continuing discussions on potential collaboration for other types of 120mm tank ammunition.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We’re very pleased to work with Germany on this programme, helping equip our respective armed forces with a crucial battle-winning capability. The standardised ammunition will not only benefit battlefield collaboration with many of our NATO allies, but has important export potential for UK and German defence industry partners.”

German National Armament Director, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, said: “With the Statement of Intent being signed, the United Kingdom and Germany will consider the request to allow for additional partners to join the programme as soon as possible. A request from another partner to join is also on the table.”

As the programme develops, the sharing of work between the countries will be key to ensuring a sustainable industrial capacity for both nations’ industries.

In February, UK MOD announced the approved the Critical Design Review (CDR) for Challenger 3 ahead of schedule. The progression of this programme at pace has been made possible by the collaborative working between DE&S, the British Army and our industry partners Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).