The Challenger 3 is an extension of the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme(LEP), aiming to sustain the tank out to 2030+. It aims to improve the tank in all key areas and ensure it is a capable tank with potential modifications for the future. Development of Challenger 3 is being done by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).
The main armament is the Rheinmetall L55A1 120mm smoothbore gun, this gun is found on the modern Leopard 2A7V and Leopard 2A8, it can fire any current NATO round. The technology demonstrator has been seen firing the DM63A1 round, its primary KE round is in development, and will most likely be the DM83 Neo Round.
The sights are all new for Challenger 3, with Thales providing the Gunner and Commander’s sights with the DNGS T3 and Orion systems. G&H will provide the drivers periscope as a key component of rheinmetall’s trailblazer vision system. The gunner and commander’s sights are the same generation 3 thermals found on the Ajax IFV.
The suspension has been upgraded to the 3rd generation Hydrogas system from Horstmann, further increasing off-road performance. The engine has been upgraded to Perkins CV12-9A V12 diesel 26.1 litre, producing 1500hp at 2400rpm engine, propelling the tank to 60kph. To handle this additional power, the transmission is also being improved to the 1500hp spec. The HAAIP program is introducing these upgrades to Challenger 2 hulls in readiness for the Challenger 3 upgrade, more in this can be found here: Challenger 2(2022) - “The Last Hurrah”
The vehicles protection systems are being seriously improved, with trophy MV and Elbit ELAWS being fitted as the self defence systems. The physical armour is also being improved with newly developed Epsom Modular Armour and Farnham Embedded Armour to counter modern threats. Ammunition storage has also been changed from Challenger 2. Ammunition is being removed from the hull and will be stored in the back of the turret with blast door and blowout protection, on top of the LOVA ammunition’s inherent safety.
Challenger 3 is aimed to begin service in 2027, with full operating capability in 2030. This has the potential to be brought forward to 2025 give the programs rapid progress.
Crew: 4, Driver, Loader, Gunner, Commander
Main Gun: L/55A1
Ammunition: DM83, DM63, Next generation MP rounds.
Sighting Equipment: Thales DNGS T3 sight, Orion stabilised independent panoramic sight, Trailblazer Driver Visions System with Spectre.
Stabilisation/Gun Laying Equipment: Curtis-Wright TDSS
Elevation/Depression: +20/-10 Degree
Engine: CV12-9A with improved power(1500hp at 2400rpm)
Transmission: TN54E(1500hp upgrade)
Torque Converter: 3.5x Stall Multiplier.
Suspension: 3rd generation Horstmann Hydrogas
Active Protection System: Trophy MV
LWS: Elbit ELAWS
Armour: Epsom Modular Armour, Farnham Embedded Armour