Challenger 3 (Technology Demonstrator): Smoothbore Galore

We’re going to be showing you one of the first Rank VIII MBTs coming to the game, which will be the Challenger 3 TD! Capable, lethal and up to the challenge, today we’ll be talking about exactly how this new addition will be when it arrives in War Thunder.

Challenger 3 TD: An MBT for Great Britain at Rank VIII


  • Deadly L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon!
  • Improved engine pack.
  • GEN 3 thermals.
  • Laser Warning Receiver.

Vehicle History

In 2014, the British MoD set out requirements for upgrading existing Challenger 2 tanks to a new standard through the Life Extension Program (LEP). There were several requirements, but the core idea was to upgrade the Challenger 2’s turret with better electronics and enough updated technology to last until 2035.

BAE Systems and Rheinmetall were awarded contracts to design and present a prototype for evaluation. Both put forward two proposed designs: BAE in 2018 that featured an Active Protection System (known as the Challenger 2 “Black Night”) and Rheinmetall in early 2019 that featured a modified turret with an L/55 smoothbore cannon.

However, later in 2019 after the proposals were presented, Rheinmetall and BAE Systems decided to join forces and create a joint venture named Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), headquartered in the UK. This newly formed company went with Rheinmetall’s original proposal, which was also shown again at DSEI 2019 under RBSL, and was the one that eventually went on to win the Life Extension Program.

In 2021, RBSL was awarded a contract from the MoD to upgrade 148 existing Challenger 2 tanks to their winning design, with this new tank going on to be named the Challenger 3. Main production of the Challenger 3 is expected to start around 2024 with the first tanks expected to be delivered to the British Army between 2027 and 2030.

Meet the Challenger 3 Technology Demonstrator!

The Challenger 3 is coming to War Thunder in its prototype form that was presented to the British MoD in 2019, and will be arriving to the British ground tree with the release of the next major update! Coming in at the all-new Rank VIII for ground vehicles, this tank is the ultimate Challenger, as it’s armed with an L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon, has better engine horsepower, excellent thermal sights, plus a great selection of ammo. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what this tank has to offer.

Interesting: The Challenger 3 TD is the 3rd version of the Challenger tank, where this series dates back over 40 years — Challenger 1 from 1983, Challenger 2 from 1998 and Challenger 3, after full-scale production, from 2027.

There’s one stand-out addition to the Challenger 3 TD that significantly enhances its capability in battle compared to the Challenger 2, and that’s the L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon! This fantastic gun is mounted into a modified Challenger 2 turret, meaning you’ll have access to the lethal DM53 APFSDS round, HEAT-FS and even a HE-TF round. Although this gun is a welcomed addition, it does mean access to the traditional HESH and smoke shell is completely lost. Furthermore, the modified turret features excellent electronics, including a brand-new commander optic, GEN 3 thermals for the gunner/commander and LWS/LR, although a machine gun is absent from the turret roof.

Download Wallpaper:

Moving to the hull and armor, which remains virtually identical to the Challenger 2. Particularly in the form of composite armor around the front, a large lower front plate and the weakness of the driver’s vision port. It’s also worth noting that additional armor packages that are quite familiar to previous Challenger 2s cannot be equipped on the Challenger 3 TD in-game. Despite having a modified turret to house the larger L/55 A1 cannon, the turret cheeks of this tank still remain the same as the armor of its predecessor, which is decent in general.

Did you know? The Challenger 3 TD is the first British MBT to be armed with a smoothbore cannon instead of a rifled cannon, and the first time that HESH rounds are missing from British MBTs.

One burning question that you may be asking is if mobility has improved, and… it has! Slightly. The Challenger 3 TD has a 1500 HP engine instead of the standard 1200 HP engine, however the top speed remains at 59 km/h, which is still on the low side compared to other MBTs. Thanks to this extra horsepower, this tank will generally be able to get around better and reach its top speed quicker. It’s also worth keeping in mind that this tank weighs 66 tons, which is in between the weight of the regular Challenger 2 (62.5 tons) and TES (74.8 tons).

In your matches by Tom, Community Management Team Leader: The CR3 offers something quite important. With better mobilyty, advanced thermals and a very powerful round you can effectively aim and fire on enemies faster due to the more forgiving firepower. This is the advantage you should aim to utilise as much as possible while you play. As top tier tanks are very universal there’s no strict playstyle to employ, but just keep in mind that you don’t absolutely need to fight up-close for your advantages to work.

Overall, the combination of excellent electronic systems, better horsepower, good armor and a smoothbore gun will make the Challenger 3 TD a breath of fresh air when playing the British top tier lineup. Don’t forget that the recently announced Rank VII Challenger 2 (OES) premium — coming soon too — will help you research the Challenger 3 TD faster. That’s it for today’s blog, until next time, see you soon!

Kick-start your British ground research with this starter pack:

British Starter Pack

The Kit Includes:
  • Crusader II “The Saint” (Rank II, Britain)
  • Spitfire Mk.IIa Venture I (Rank II, Britain)
  • Premium Account for 7 days
  • 120000 Silver Lions

You can greatly speed up the research of the Challenger 3 TD with this premium pack:

Challenger DS Pack

The Kit Includes:
  • Challenger DS (Rank VII, Britain)
  • Premium account for 15 days
  • 2000 Golden Eagles

Tldr, we made chally (the most advanced mbt in the world) a chally 2 with a smooth bore gun and a little extra hp

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No more BESH :(
No roof MG :'(

I hope it gets a better reload rate.

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Seems like British mains cant get satisfied no matter how many better Challenger models does gaijin add.


Complaining is a national pastime in the UK ;)


Alas, HEAT-FS stock grind has arrived at top tier Britain.


Amazing addition.

YEEEEEAAAAAAASSSSSSSS FIIIIIIINALLY!!! A chally that combines all the good aspects of the rest!!

The issue isn’t how many tanks we get but the tank we receive, compared to my Russian experience the Challengers are absolute poo to play and is just unenjoyable and a waste of SL

Instead of fixing the issues of the Challenger 2 Gaijin thinks its a good idea to spam more to “resolve” the issue

Hopefully the Challenger 3 (P) changes this but I highly doubt


The Challengers have their issues like many other MBT’s. The Cr1 mk 3 is a great tank in my opinion. LRF, L26, and thermals. It’s really good at being a Sniper. However in CQC it is horrific. The 5 second reload is great but only for 4 rounds.

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why is the armor the same as the challenger 2?
it isn’t.


Because it’s the CR2 LEP. The only difference is the gun and thermals. Probably turret shape but there’s nothing more.


Because it’s the prototype which mounted an L/55 gun into an existing Challenger 2 turret.

Is this real? Or is it just a joke?


This is a classic case of double standards by Gaijin. They are forcing any new vehicles/bug reports to have primary sources, but they have introduced a tank to the game which has very limited public sources.

For example; the upgraded engine - I can tell you that the gearbox design is not publically available (though I cannot tell you why, but it relates to my work) only the base design of the gearbox TN54E (which if you check, is the same as the Chally 2), yet Gaijin just give the tank a buff with no evidence.

Or how about the armour package, which has been stated is a significant upgrade to the Chally 2 Dorchester armour, now known as Farnham, alongside EPSOM Reactive armour (confirmed by DSTL - the UK Defence Science and Technology Labs, who developed the armour), now clearly DSTL will not say what the armour does, but they have sunk a lot of money into making it world class. Gaijin will add one feature (with no stats), but not add another?

And if Gaijin are just using publically stated articles to create the Chally 3 spec (because let’s face it, that is exactly what they are doing), then the following article includes an overview of the upgrades (including the armour, the Trophy APS, ORION sights, etc): UK’s Challenger 3 MBT Programme Passes its CDR 


Incorrect. The Chally 2 LEP was what gave the Black Night and the Rheinmetal submissions.

Chally 3 is the merge of these 3 platforms plus armour overhauls and further enhancements.


exactly, the LEP programme is the Black night/2E/TES projects together, not a single tank. the Challenger 3 2019 prototype is the culmination of those.


Gaijin adding a Russian vehicle that ISNT in service(2S38) with virtually no real info known about it: “we give this thing the benefit of the doubt regarding its capabilities. No prob.”

Gaijin when adding a NATO vehicle that isn’t in service: “Better play it safe, here’s basically a copy paste with a new gun, enjoy” :)


Definitely real. WT’s social media guy is always 100% serious.