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British Army’s most lethal tank prototype rolls off production line

British Army soldiers are a step closer to getting their hands on one of Europe’s most lethal tanks, as the latest Challenger 3 prototype has finished production in Telford.

With advanced armour and devastating firepower, the Challenger 3 boasts an impressive range of state-of-the-art technology, making it the most lethal and survivable tank ever operated by the British Army.

In a more dangerous world, the need for vehicles such as the Challenger 3 is imperative, as the threats facing the UK evolve. This tank will be at the heart of the British Army’s warfighting capabilities and will be integral to the UK’s deterrence.” Grant Shapps, Defence Secretary

The latest of eight Challenger 3 prototypes rolled off the Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) factory production line in Telford today.

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, visited the site where he met the engineers and apprentices who have worked to achieve this crucial milestone in UK armoured warfare.

The first prototype is already showing its capabilities on trials. All prototypes will be tested under operational conditions to validate their performance and make refinements, before another 140 are built and delivered to the British Army.

Challenger 3 will be the apex predator of modern warfare. With unmatched cutting-edge firepower, protection, and mobility, it will be ready to dominate the battlefield.

The tank can reach speeds of up to 60kph and is armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun with higher muzzle velocity and greater penetration than its predecessor, Challenger 2.

Its new modular armour and Active Protection System, which can detect and destroy rocket and missile attacks in seconds, will make it one of the best protected tanks in Europe. 

Challenger 3 will be at the heart of the Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, alongside Ajax and Boxer, and is critical to the Army's warfighting capability and the UK's contribution to NATO deterrence." Major General Jon Swift OBE, The Army's Director Programmes

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said: 

“In a more dangerous world, the need for vehicles such as the Challenger 3 is imperative, as the threats facing the UK evolve. This tank will be at the heart of the British Army’s warfighting capabilities and will be integral to the UK’s deterrence.

“The hard work and dedication on show in Telford and across the country is instrumental in driving forward UK defence innovation and delivering for our forces in the frontline.”

Providing the Army’s Main Battle Tank, the Challenger 3 will remain in service until at least 2040. 

The Army's Director Programmes, Major General Jon Swift OBE said: 

“Challenger 3 will be at the heart of the Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, alongside Ajax and Boxer, and is critical to the Army's warfighting capability and the UK's contribution to NATO. The delivery of these prototype vehicles, the first of which has already started trials, marks a significant milestone on the Army's modernisation journey.” 

RBSL is playing a key part in delivering the Land Industrial Strategy through its Challenger 3 programme, ensuring it benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing, whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country." Will Gibby, RBSL Managing Director

RBSL Managing Director Will Gibby said: 

“RBSL is playing a key part in delivering the Land Industrial Strategy through its Challenger 3 programme, ensuring it benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing, whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country.

“Delivery of the first pre-production Challenger 3 and the commencement of trials marks a critical milestone in our delivery of this impressive capability to the British Army and will provide our soldiers with a world-class Main Battle Tank made here in the UK.”

Challenger 3 is being delivered under an £800 million contract, creating many highly skilled roles, with nearly 300 jobs generated within RBSL, including 130 engineers and 70 technicians, and another 450 jobs across the UK. 

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