Land vehicles

‘Black Night’: Could This Upgraded Challenger 2 Battle Tank Transform Warfare?

Britain's manpower has been showcased at the Defence Vehicles Dynamics event in Millbrook - amongst them a prototype for updating the British Army's main battle tank.

Challenger 2 was designed and manufactured by BAE Systems, it entered service in 1998 and its life is being extended to 2035.

Two companies are bidding for the contract to do this - Rheinmetall, which is yet to revealed its proposal, and BAE Systems, which have showcased a prototype at the event.

Challenger 2, Mark 2 Demonstrator, nicknamed the 'Black Night', has been developed within the last year, with the focus on enhancing its sensor systems.

It has a new commander's panoramic sight with a thermal and optical channel - meaning it has a full 24-hour hunter capability. 

A night vision system was also added.

The Black Night's new capabilities also contribute to its protective and offensive triggers.

These include laser warning receivers on its platform to help detect threats.

The active protection system is the iron fist - which can detect incoming missiles and destroy them before they hit the target.

Black Knight Challenger 2

The new systems also continue inside the tank. Simon Jackson, campaign leader for Challenger 2 at BAE Systems, said:

"When you get inside the platform we've put in a brand new commanders crew station - with flat screen displays, which all the sensors and the battle management can be seen and integrated."

Each new design was aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the tanks while also making the 'commander's life easier', says Mr Jackson:

"To make the commander's life much better and overall that significantly improves the fight-ability of the Challenger 2. 

"We think it's turning a great tank into an even better tank."

He added: "I myself was a tank soldier - we've got a lot of people in the business who were on tanks.

"We designed it so we know exactly what needs to be done to give the British Army exactly what they need."

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