The United Kingdom will soon support the Challenger 2 main battle tank in Ukraine and pointed out that neither the protective performance of the Challenger 2 nor the Chobham armor is as magical as the legend says. The Challenger 2 Protection can be said to have fallen from the altar.

British Challenger 2 main battle tank.

After breaking the protection myth of Challenger 2, we will find the tank Challenger 2 useless. Regarding mobility, other Western tanks in the same period, Leopard 2, M1, Leclerc, and even The Japanese Type 90 tanks with Asian hearts in Europe, all use 1500 horsepower engines. 

Even the T-80U, which is only 46 tons, has 1250 horsepower. The Challenger 2 has only 1200 horsepower (the Italian Ram tank also has 1200 horsepower, but others are only 54 tons); combined with the early-type 62.5-ton combat weight, the power-to-weight ratio is only 19.2 horsepower/ton, almost the lowest batch among the three generations of tanks. The TES upgraded combat weight is even higher. 

It has soared to 74.8 tons and won the title of the heaviest main battle tank in active service, and the power-to-weight ratio is only about 16. The mobility is really appalling.

The weight of Challenger 2 TES has reached 74.8 tons.

Of course, it’s not that the British haven’t thought about improving it. After all, if they use it themselves, they can make do with it. 

The Soviet Union disintegrated when the Challenger 2 was in service, but if it is used in the international military trade market, it will compete with Leopard 2A5/6 and M1A2. That would be a shame, so the UK launched an improved Challenger 2E.

The main improvement is to switch to the German MTU company’s European power pack, using the MTU883 1500 horsepower diesel engine and the Lenk HSWT295 hydraulic automatic transmission. The mobility of Challenger 2E has finally caught up with the same level as Leopard 2A5 and M1A2.

But the idea is very good, but the reality is very skinny. The European power pack has caused serious acclimatization problems in the power cabin of the Challenger 2, and the reliability is very poor. In the Greek tank bidding in 1998, the performance of the Challenger 2E power system To the disappointment of the Greeks, the engine failed during the 1000km continuous off-road test. It took 3 hours to repair it, but it was seriously behind. 

The German Leopard 2A5, American M1A2, French Leclerc, Russian T-80U, and Ukrainian T- 84 These competitors were left behind. In the follow-up target shooting test, the power system of the Challenger 2E lost the chain again. In the 2.15-meter deep water crossing test, the British were even more frightened by the M1A2 that broke down in the water. He directly refused to allow Challenger 2E to participate in this test.

The bidding of Challenger 2E in Greece ended in dismal, and even today. Still, no one has been sold. In the end, Greece chose to buy the Leopard 2A5 tank, while the Challenger 2E failed in the international market and was not favored by the British Army.

In the Greek test, the Challenger 2E lost face again in the target shooting test, except that the power system lost its chain. It was 18 out of 20 rounds. Leclerc’s data is unknown. Challenger 2E had a gearbox failure in the test and a target score of only 10 out of 20 rounds. It was the second-to-last among all tanks, only better than the Ukrainian T-84 because the T-84 -84’s legal fire control system failed, and the French refused to help competitors repair it, so T-84 could not participate in the target shooting test.

However, the Challenger 2 for British use is not as good as the foreign trade Challenger 2E. I saw it). Although it is equipped with a thermal imager, the thermal imager cannot stabilize the image. It can only stabilize the line, meaning the Challenger 2 tank cannot shoot in motion at night. It’s really miserable.

As for the 120mm rifled gun, it is even more of a heavyweight role. After all, except for the Indian Arjun tank, no third-generation tank uses a 120mm rifled gun. Rifled guns severely limit the initial velocity of armor-piercing projectiles. The initial velocity of the armor-piercing projectile is low, and the penetration depth is naturally not good.