The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed the successful completion of live qualification firings of the British Army’s future Challenger 3 main battle tank (MBT).  

The trials, carried out in northern Germany in the presence of UK Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge, mark a pivotal step in the tank’s development, ensuring its accuracy and operational readiness.  

The live firing exercise involved the Challenger 3 tank engaging targets from various distances to validate its precision.  

These tests were led by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) UK and Rheinmetall, utilising Rheinmetall ranges to align with NATO Reference Standards for the new weapon and ammunition systems.  

This event follows UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps’s recent visit to the RBSL factory in Telford, where he viewed the latest of eight Challenger 3 prototypes and announced the completion of production work for the first MBT prototype.  

The first prototype is already under evaluation to assess its capabilities, with the remaining seven to follow suit.  

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All these trials are essential to confirm that the tank’s performance adheres to operational standards and to make any necessary refinements before commencing the production of an additional 140 units for the British Army. 

Equipped with advanced survivability features and firepower, the Challenger 3 boasts a suite of technologies, positioning it as the most lethal and survivable tank in the British Army.  

Challenger 3, which will replace Challenger 2, is being produced by RBSL under an £800m ($1bn) contract. It is expected to remain in active service until at least 2040.  

This latest version of the Challenger series includes a modern turret with an advanced smoothbore gun compatible with top-tier NATO ammunition, upgraded armour, enhanced sensors and an active protection system. 

Cartlidge said: “Challenger 3 is a hugely impressive, cutting-edge tank. It will be crucial in the Army’s warfighting ability and the UK’s contribution to NATO, while acting as a deterrent to our adversaries. 

“The live firings and production progress are testament to the talent of our defence industry, helping equip our soldiers with one of the world’s most lethal tanks and creating hundreds of skilled jobs back home in the process.”