The British Army’s fleet of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, down to 227 units since 2010, is now just awaiting the financing of the evaluation phase to engage the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (CR2 LEP). BAE Systems, the original manufacturer of the tanks, together with General Dynamics UK and Lockheed Martin UK confirmed that they had responded to the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) call for tender by 14 January.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, producer of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks and new partner of French group Nexter, apparently decided not to answer the call for tender after the British Army confirmed it would definitely neither buy second-hand tanks nor develop a new platform.
The MoD revealed in its monthly publication “Defence Contracts Bulletin” that this major programme had a €920 million budget and that the selection phase would last two years, with formal attribution of the contract to be notified in 2019.
The CR2 LEP programme will prolong the tanks’ serviceable life to 2035. Although few details of the upgrade have been publicised, priority seems to have been given to modernising the turret sub-systems, rather than replacing the L30A1 120mm gun and propulsion bloc.
At a later date, the CR2 LEP upgrade could be offered to the Sultanate of Oman which has a regiment of 38 Challenger 2 tanks.