BAE Systems has formed a new team to bid for a life extension project of the British Army’s main battle tank Challenger 2.

The Team Challenger 2 will also include General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, General Dynamics Mission Systems-International, Leonardo-Finmeccanica, Moog, QinetiQ and Safran Electronics.

The project will replace several key systems of the battle tanks, which have been in service since 1998.

The existing tanks will be transformed into new Challenger 2 Mark 2 vehicles at General Dynamics’s factory in South Wales.

General Dynamics Land Systems UK vice-president Kevin Connell said: "We would deliver the Challenger 2 Mark 2 vehicles from our new manufacturing facility in Merthyr Tydfil, helping to sustain and create new jobs at the site.

"With the skills we have developed designing and producing AJAX, we are well positioned to be part of Team Challenger 2."

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Under the project, the team will add a thermal imaging system to the tank, which will provide the commander with new hunter / killer capabilities.

QinetiQ will provide its systems engineering expertise and an independent assessment service, including computer modelling and verifying safety measures.

"We have taken an innovative approach in teaming for this bid to enable the best and most experienced partners to develop and deliver a winning solution."

After the upgrade, the tank’s electronic architecture connecting the vehicle’s sub-systems will allow the installation of new commander’s crewstation and give the vehicle an expandable architecture hosting new interfaces, reconfigurable displays and controls.

BAE Systems Land UK managing director Jennifer Osbaldestin said: "We have taken an innovative approach in teaming for this bid to enable the best and most experienced partners to develop and deliver a winning solution.

"This approach gives us access to capabilities and facilities that will sustain Challenger 2 through life and offer a value for money solution for British taxpayers.

"BAE Systems designed and built Challenger 2, we are now excited about the opportunity to use our expertise with the rest of Team Challenger 2 to update and integrate new technology to further extend the capability for the British Army."

Image: Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in 1998. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.