TechUkrainian forces adapt Challenger 2 tanks for enhanced battlefield prowess

Ukrainian forces adapt Challenger 2 tanks for enhanced battlefield prowess

One of the Challenger 2 tanks donated to Ukraine has been reinforced by its crew.
One of the Challenger 2 tanks donated to Ukraine has been reinforced by its crew.
Images source: © The Sun | The Sun

3:25 PM EDT, March 11, 2024

The Challenger 2 tanks have been lauded by the Ukrainians, who liken them to "sniper rifles" because of their superior optics and fire control system that enables shooting at significantly longer distances than Soviet-era designs allow.
However, like with Western tanks, the Ukrainians have implemented additional modifications. Photos reveal the installation of bar armor on the hull sides and the front lower armor plate to prematurely detonate shaped charges or their precursors in tandem solutions with two charges.

Additionally, the turret’s FN MAG machine gun mount has been enhanced with a protective shield made from bulletproof vest steel inserts, aimed at safeguarding the tank commander from gunfire.

Noteworthy as well is the use of the L27A1 sub-caliber rounds, also known as CHARM 3, evident in the third photo. These Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) rounds, shaped like darts and made of depleted uranium, can penetrate the armor of any Russian tank, even those protected by heavy reactive armor.
### Challenger 2: The Quintessence of British Armored Innovation
Great Britain, a frontrunner in tank development, crafted the Challenger 2 as a sophisticated evolution of its predecessor, the Challenger 1. One of its hallmark features is the advanced, multi-layered Chobham/Dorchester second-generation armor, which offers excellent protection against shaped charges and great resistance to kinetic penetrators. This has resulted in a vehicle weighing over 66 tons (about 60 metric tons), fortified with additional armor.
A unique characteristic of the Challenger 2 is its rifled L30A1 cannon of 120 mm caliber and 55 calibers in length, which employs separately loaded ammunition. This design diverges from the one-piece ammunition and smoothbore guns typical in NATO tanks and facilitates the usage of specific High-Explosive Squash Head (HESH) rounds. These rounds are designed to be highly effective against fortifications and armored targets, detonating on impact and creating high internal stress, which can severely harm the crew without internal anti-spall protection. Nevertheless, APFSDS penetrators remain the primary type of anti-armor ammunition.
The Challenger 2's mobility is powered by a robust diesel engine delivering 1200 HP. While slightly less potent than the engines in Leopard 2 tanks or the M1 Abrams tank family, which employs a gas turbine, the British tank still exhibits commendable speed and maneuverability.
Related content