Smoke billows from the destroyed Challenger 2
Smoke billows from the destroyed Challenger 2 (Picture: OSINTtechnical).

Challenger 2 destroyed in Ukraine hit mine before being struck by suicide drone, officials say

Smoke billows from the destroyed Challenger 2
Smoke billows from the destroyed Challenger 2 (Picture: OSINTtechnical).

The UK-supplied Challenger 2 that was destroyed in Ukraine hit a mine before being struck by a Russian loitering munition, also known as a suicide drone, Western officials have said.

The incident means this is the first Challenger 2 to have ever been taken out at the hands of an enemy.

Officials say all of the tank's crew escaped before it burst into flames.

Footage appeared on social media of the Challenger 2 burning in Ukraine, with the loss showing Kyiv is now committing its best-equipped brigades to its counter-offensive.

The video was believed to have been taken on the southern front in Zaphorizhzhia, the focal point of Ukraine's main thrust against the invading Russian forces.

Watch: What is the Challenger 2 main battle tank?

The UK has supplied Ukraine with 14 Challenger 2s, but Western officials confirmed there are no plans to replace the damaged tank.

Ukrainian crews have been undergoing training on the Challenger 2 in the UK before returning to the frontline.

The Challenger 2 has been the British Army's main battle tank for more than 20 years and since entering service in 1998, it has been used on UK military operations across the globe, including Iraq and Kosovo.

Watch: Challenger 2 instructors on reality of training Ukrainian soldiers.

Weighing 62.5 tonnes and operated by a crew of four, the Challenger 2 is designed to engage and destroy enemy tanks.

It is both heavily armed and heavily armoured while still offering good mobility.

It is well-protected with top-secret Dorchester armour, also referred to as Chobham armour.

A Ukrainian tank crewman recently praised the capabilities of the "very precise" Challenger 2, describing it as a "sniper rifle among tanks".

He said the tank can "withstand several hits" and is much better protected than its Soviet counterparts he had previously operated. 

Dozens of modern battle tanks have been given to Ukraine by the West, including US Abrams and German-built Leopard 2s.

Ukraine also received a large number of older tanks from former Warsaw Pact nations earlier on in the conflict.

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