According to a video posted on Telegram, Challenger 2 main battle tanks donated by the UK to Ukraine have been deployed to the front lines by the Ukrainian army to fight against Russian troops.
In January 2023, the British Ministry of Defense announced that the UK would supply Ukraine with a squadron of Challenger 2 MBTs (main battle tanks) from the British Army’s military inventory. The cars were delivered with their associated ammunition. A total of 14 Challenger 2 MBTs have been supplied to the Ukrainian army to replace the former Soviet-made T-80BV main battle tanks currently in service with Ukrainian air assault brigades.
The Challenger 2 is a British main battle tank that features several improvements over the T-80BV, a Soviet-designed main battle tank, that would be beneficial to the Ukrainian Army.
One of the main advantages of the Challenger 2 is its advanced armor. It is famous for its “Dorchester” modular composite armor, known to be one of the best defensive structures in the world. This advanced armor could provide better protection to Ukrainian forces than the older, but still powerful, composite armor of the T-80BV.
Another aspect where the Challenger 2 shines is its firepower. Its 120mm rifled barrel is highly accurate and has a long effective range. The HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head) rounds it fires are extremely effective against a variety of targets, providing increased operational capability. The Challenger 2’s rifled gun, for example, is reputed to have an effective range of between 2 and 2.5 kilometers, and potentially more in ideal conditions. This is in contrast to the T-80BV’s 125mm smoothbore gun, which is a powerful weapon, but some argue that the rifled 120mm gun offers more consistent performance.
In addition, the Challenger 2 features a superior Fire Control System (FCS) with increased reliability and accuracy. The advanced thermal imaging and targeting capabilities of this system are another significant advantage over the T-80BV.
In addition, the Challenger 2’s Fire Control System (FCS), with its advanced thermal imaging and targeting capabilities, gives the tank an edge in combat scenarios. This would be especially advantageous in limited visibility conditions, allowing precise target acquisition and engagement both day and night.
In terms of mobility, while the T-80BV is slightly faster and lighter, the Challenger 2 offers excellent mechanical reliability and a well-balanced combination of speed, agility, and cross-country performance.
The T-80BV exhibits superior mobility attributes thanks to its gas turbine engine and remarkable power-to-weight ratio, which provides exceptional acceleration. By contrast, the Challenger 2, powered by a Perkins CV12 diesel engine, provides superior fuel efficiency and operating range, crucial considerations in battlefield scenarios. Challenger 2’s top speed on the highway is approximately 59 km/h (37 mph), reducing to approximately 40 km/h (25 mph) in off-road environments. The T-80BV, however, can reach up to 70 km/h (43 mph) on the highway, with a slight dip to around 45 km/h (28 mph) on rough terrain. Consequently, the T-80BV surpasses the Challenger 2 in terms of speed.
Alain Henry de Frahan