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February 8, 2022

Thales to deliver sighting systems for British Army’s Challenger 3 tanks

The contract forms part of the larger £800m Challenger 3 upgrade programme.

Thales UK has secured a $121.7m (£90m) subcontract from RBSL to supply sighting systems for the British Army’s upgraded Challenger 3 main battle tank (MBT).

The two parties signed the contract in the presence of Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack at Thales’s site, in Glasgow.

As agreed, Thales UK will deliver panoramic and fixed azimuth weapon aiming sights for the tank’s commander and gunner.

The scope of supplies will also include a signal processing system (SPS), for video tracking, and wide-area search and detection (WASAD) capabilities.

The sighting systems will enable the crew to view the battlefield in high definition, in all conditions.

They will also support accurate target identification, tracking, digital imagery, and provide the crew with additional detail regarding the target.

The contract forms part of the £800m Challenger 3 upgrade programme announced in May last year. As the primary contractor, RBSL will be upgrading 148 Challenger 3 MBTs.

The contract with Thales UK is expected to support 700 skilled engineering and technician jobs in Glasgow.

Secretary Alister Jack said: “This contract gives the British Army the advanced capability it needs to ensure the country’s security. I met many of the Thales workforce on a recent visit and was impressed by their capability and enthusiasm.

“This contract will support highly skilled jobs in Scotland. In total, UK defence spends around £2 billion a year in Scotland, supporting more than 12,000 jobs.”     

RBSL managing director said: “RBSL is committed to ensuring the Challenger 3 programme delivers positive industrial impact for the UK.

“This means collaborating and working closely with our suppliers to deliver impressive capability and technology for British soldiers, as well as protecting UK engineering and manufacturing skills at the same time.”

Launched in July 2019, RBSL is an independent joint venture (JV) business between BAE Systems and German defence company Rheinmetall.

According to the company website, it employs approximately 450 people.

Last month, Thales announced that its FZ275 70mm/2.75in laser-guided rocket had received certification to launch from Arnold Defense’s LAND-LGR4 rocket launcher.

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