The UK Ministry of Defence’s Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) aims to remove obsolescence from the main battle tank, extend its out-of-service date by ten years to 2035 and upgrade its capabilities.
The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank has served the British Army faithfully since 1998, seeing its first combat use during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But sometimes even an old friend needs a makeover to remain relevant. In 2016, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded contracts worth £23m each to BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Land Systems to lead teams to progress the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project to the assessment phase, which ran until the end of 2018. The contract award to upgrade 227 tanks is due by mid-2019.
The upgrades would seek to address new threats, targets, and capabilities. The proposals will definitely include passive and/or active ATW defence suites to cope with the rising threat from infantry AT weapons.