Pioneering new technology for Challenger 3 tank

The British Army’s new main battle tank will incorporate a cutting-edge protection system.

A key step forward in the development of the Challenger 3 main battle tank has been achieved, with a defence company given the green light to carry out trials of an anti-missile system.

The protection system recognises incoming enemy missiles, intercepts and destroys them before they hit the tank.

“This is an exciting moment for the Army as we make the first steps towards an Active Protection System capability for the CR3 Main Battle Tank." Colonel Will Waugh, Programme Director - Armour Main Battle Tank Programme

The system forms part of an upgrade programme, overseen by lead contractor Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), which will entail detailed integration and system trials of the protection system.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the award of a contract to upgrade 148 Challenger 2 tanks during a visit to the company’s site in Telford, Shropshire last month. 

The upgraded tanks, featuring extra firepower and state-of-the-art protection systems, will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of tank design, poised to respond to future global threats and challenges. 

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd’s Trophy Active Protection System (APS) for armoured vehicles has been selected by the Ministry of Defence for detailed assessment on Challenger 3.

Developed by Rafael in response to successful anti-armour attacks, Trophy APS provides combat-proven protection against rocket and missile threats. The system simultaneously locates the origin of hostile fire for immediate response.

Trophy APS is the only fully-integrated, combat-tested APS in the world and has been installed on Israel Defense Forces’ Merkava tanks since 2010.

The protection system has made numerous combat interceptions with no injuries to crews or dismounted troops or damage to platforms since its first operational interception in 2011.

Colonel Will Waugh, Programme Director - Armour Main Battle Tank Programme, said, “This is an exciting moment for the Army as we make the first steps towards an Active Protection System capability for the CR3 Main Battle Tank. 

“This technology, already battle proven with our international allies and partners, will deliver a step change in protection against guided and unguided anti-tank weapons – a threat that continues to proliferate around the world and grow in lethality.

“This marks another step forward in delivering a modernised Main Battle Tank able to defeat any threat it might meet in the future.”

A transformed Army that will be more lethal, better protected and better connected than any of its competitors was set out in the ‘Future Soldier’ vision that followed the UK government’s Integrated Review of defence capability. Challenger 3 is an example of this transformation.

Challenger 3 will be a ‘best of class’ NATO tank, with the highest levels of lethality and survivability on the battlefields of today and tomorrow, until its forecast Out of Service Date of 2040.

The Challenger 3, along with Ajax and Boxer, will be at the heart of the Army’s warfighting capability in the Heavy Brigade Combat Teams. The APS will complement CR3’s upgraded armour, which will offer commanders enhanced survivability able to withstand the battlefield threats CR3 is likely to encounter.