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UK MoD Announces Challenger 2 Life Extension Project(LEP) By Julian Nettlefold

challie2Before we go into details of the individual bids its worth looking at the RFP issued by the MoD for the Challenger 2 LEP.

The number of vehicles required is 227.

Summary of Requirements / Description of Work: Armoured military vehicles. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Armoured Vehicles Programmes (The Authority) has a requirement to deliver a Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (CR2 LEP). The user requires the CR2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Out of Service Date to be extended from 2025 to 2035, in order to continue to provide precision direct fire manoeuvre capability across a broad spectrum of operations. CR2 LEP seeks to address obsolescence issues to maintain main battle tank capability until 2035. This is a Category A Military Project (up to £700M inclusive of VAT, including initial logistic support).

Section VIII: Contractors Invited to Bid


Challenger 2 Union Jack image plainBAE Systems Challenger 2 LEP Team

On June 23rd BAE Systems  announced a major strategic partnership with other world-leading defence companies to bid for the UK Ministry of Defence Challenger 2 Life Extension Project. As announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, Challenger 2 will form a key part of the British Army’s capability through to 2035. In order to achieve this, several key systems will need to be replaced.

With BAE Systems, ‘Team Challenger 2’ is made up of seven key players in the defence industry: General Dynamics Land Systems-UK; General Dynamics Mission Systems-International; Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES Ltd); Moog, QinetiQ and Safran Electronics (formerly Sagem).

Original Challenger 2

BAE Systems designed and built the original Challenger 2 with a mission to give the British Army the best tank in the world. Since Challenger 2 came into service in 1998, BAE Systems has continued to support the vehicle to ensure it always remains at optimal readiness. It has also delivered many Urgent Operational Requirements and upgrades in that time to respond to emerging threats and changing battle scenarios.

BAE Systems designed and manufactured the original Challenger 2, starting work in 1986 using its own funds for initial development. It received orders in 1991 and 1994 for a total of 386 Main Battle Tanks and 22 Driver Trainer Vehicles.

BAE Systems has been continually supporting and upgrading the tank since completing the first delivery in 1994. This has included delivery of Urgent Operational Requirements including armour and other upgrades to meet the needs of the British Army. BAE Systems remains the Design Authority for Challenger 2.

The tender issued by the MOD – the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project – is to remove obsolete parts from Challenger 2 in order to extend its life. The Life Extension Project is a UK MOD Category A Military Project.

Challenger 2 LEP Brief

Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), 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 offers 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.”

The ITT was issued on July 14th with a downselect to two Companies in October for a 24 month Assessment Phase.

Simon Jackson of BAE Systems said that the scope of work under the ITT will include enhancement of the existing Challenger 2 performance. He also said that a number of key people involved in the BAE Team had been involved in some form or other in the Challenger 2 Project since its inception and as such there was considerable expertise and passion in the team to make this work

When asked about the possibility of separate RFI for a technology insertion of the TOGS EO/IR system originally supplied by Pilkington Optronics (Now Thales)with a CDC (Now GD) Fire Control System Computer, he said that an RFI was issued 4 months ago and they await the results.

As to whether the companies would have to cut metal to build a demonstrator or run a paper study, he said that this had not been confirmed.

The work to convert the tanks to the new Challenger 2 Mark 2 standard would be carried out at General Dynamics’ factory in South Wales, where the British Army’s new AJAX vehicle will start production in 2017.

General Dynamics Land Systems-UK is currently designing and manufacturing the new AJAX vehicle for the British Army, the largest vehicle production programme in the UK. General Dynamics Mission Systems-International supplied systems for the original Challenger 2 and is a major provider to the US Army.

As a key strategic partner on the bid team, Vice President of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, Kevin Connell, added, “This is a great opportunity to leverage the capabilities of AJAX.  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. AS GDLSUK has a major input into the turrets being supplied by Lockheed Martin, particularly the C2 System, we are well placed to transition this technology into Challenger 2 including the GVA and any Bowman upgrades or Morpheus systems.”

“We made the decision to team with BAE for Challenger 2 LEP rather than bid as a Prime, a position we have now made apparent to the MoD, as we considered that teaming with BAE and the other members would not only present a very strong solution to the MoD but give the MoD what they want with the inherent IP in our team in tank manufacture and development”

David Ibbetson, Vice President, General Dynamics Mission Systems-International added, “As a supplier to the original Challenger 2 tank, I am delighted that General Dynamics Mission Systems is a member of Team Challenger 2.  With our skills and expertise, we can offer the UK MOD value for money, whilst providing the most technologically advanced and proven systems available.”

Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), said, “We looked at other facilities (SIC: Pearson Engineering )and decide that with a few additions that GDLSUK’S Welsh facility had all the required capabilities for Challenger 2 LEP work. Babcock’s DSG will be considered for any Through Life work to support the new vehicle over its extended life.”

She later stated that any concerns that Challenger 2 would be overmatched by other products by 20135 would be addressed under the LEP.


Key capabilities of Team Challenger 2 are:

  • Design Authority – BAE Systems
  • Systems Integration and Engineering:

o BAE Systems

o General Dynamics Land Systems-UK

o QinetiQ

  • Specialist technologies:

o General Dynamics Mission Systems-International

o Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES Ltd)

o Moog

o Safran Electronics (formerly Sagem)

When asked about the 120mm Rifled Gun and whether it would be replaced with a smooth bore as proposed under the now defunct CHARM Programme, Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), said, “We have briefed all customers including Oman and Jordan about the viability of ammunition for the existing gun, including the HESH Round and have assured them of availability well into the next 290 years. As far as we know there is no requirement to replace the existing gun.”

The Editor discussed this with BAE during DSEI and the major redesign required, including an autoloader would prohibit a smooth bore gun.

When asked whether the BAE Land Systems UK business was unsustainable in the if the bid was lost Jennifer Osbaldestin said, “Without the Challenger 2 LEP was have a sustainable business sin the UK with Design Authority for a number of UK and overseas vehicles. With the merger of the Land Systems and Munitions businesses announced on January 1st, we have a robust and sustainable UK Land Systems business.”

On 16 August 16th BAE Systems Submits Proposal For Challenger 2 Life Extension Project. Team Challenger 2 has submitted its proposal to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) Assessment Phase. The BAE Systems-led team is a major strategic partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems-UK; QinetiQ; General Dynamics Mission Systems-International; Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES Ltd); Moog and Safran Electronics (formerly Sagem).

Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), said, “BAE Systems and its partners have been working closely to develop an innovative approach and strong proposal.  Our bid submission is based on a clear understanding of the Army’s requirements and an unparalleled blend of tank skills and expertise.  We look forward to leveraging this capability with the MOD to enable the delivery of Challenger 2 Mark 2 in a way which meets the performance and ownership cost needs of the MOD.”

Simon Jackson, Team Challenger 2’s Programme Manager at BAE Systems, added, “We’re really excited about this.  Having designed and built Challenger 2, it is a great opportunity for BAE Systems to lead a team of the world’s best tank experts to develop Challenger 2 Mark 2 and to deliver and subsequently support the vehicle for the British Army.  Team Challenger 2 has all the skills needed for the complex job of integrating the key elements – sights, gun control and fire control.  In addition, bringing commonality with AJAX and its architecture allows us to realise Challenger 2 Mark 2’s potential. The actual vehicle conversion will be carried out at General Dynamics Land Systems-UK factory in South Wales – again making full use of earlier investments and developed skills.  So, if selected, we have everything in place to hit the ground running from day one.”

CMI Defence and Ricardo Bid

ricardoBelgian weapons systems designer, manufacturer and integrator CMI Defence, and Ricardo UK Ltd, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during Eurosatory to collaborate in responding to a major invitation to tender issued by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Under the terms of the MoU, CMI Defence and Ricardo will respond together to the invitation to tender recently issued by the British Ministry of Defence regarding its Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP), which will see the upgrade of the British Army’s main battle tank fleet. In this process, CMI Defence S.A. will act as the prime contractor, Ricardo UK Ltd being its premium automotive partner. As the leader of this bid team, CMI Defence provides an extensive history and knowledge of delivering heavy firepower gun-turret systems. Known under the brand name Cockerill®, CMI Defence weapons systems are battle proven, reliable, safe and demonstrate a firepower capability rarely seen on the market. Thanks to this vast history and knowledge set, CMI Defence is thus perfectly positioned to integrate its systems capabilities into the Challenger 2.

Ricardo UK Ltd.’s position of leading authority on platform automotive in the UK makes it CMI Defence’s ideal premium partner for the Challenger 2 LEP. Ricardo’s vast wealth of knowledge on Challenger 2 stems from its former successful contracts with DSTL and DE&S for power train studies, which then gave the Authority demonstrable options for Platform Obsolescence Management and upgrade opportunities.

CMI_Defence_logo_2014_profil_200x200_001Jean-Luc Maurange, president of CMI Defence, stated, “CMI Defence has the passion, energy, drive and full commitment to becoming the Challenger 2 Design Authority. The bringing together of our two independent companies creates a dynamic, flexible and responsive team. As specialists in the defence land domain, we will create and deliver an innovative solution to not only meet the customers’ needs but also to take into consideration the aspirations of the User (British Army).”

John Stretton, managing director head of defence for Ricardo UK Ltd, stated, “Both our leading expert companies are looking forward to a long term continuation of our already successful relationship. Together, we are perfectly positioned to answer UK MoD’s needs and ambitions for the Challenger 2 fleet.”

John Stretton told BATTLESPACE that the team expects to announce further members to the Team particularly in the area of protection and armour.

Rheinmetall Submits Comprehensive Offer

rhein2On August 11th Rheinmetall announced that it had submitted a comprehensive offer to extend the life and substantially upgrade the capabilities of the British Army fleet of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) in response to the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) Request for Tender. Rheinmetall provides a wide range of cutting edge systems that are integrated in tank fleets around the world and is currently actively engaged in the upgrade and delivery of Leopard 2 MBTs for two major international customers. Through continual investment in research and development Rheinmetall has remained at the cutting edge of tank technology.

Rheinmetall has leveraged its extensive knowledge of MBTs to develop an innovative solution for the Challenger 2 that will not only extend the life of the tank but allow it to be brought in-line with the latest generation of MBT capabilities using proven high technology readiness systems. Rheinmetall’s solution will replace major obsolete components in the Challenger 2 while at the same time introducing new capabilities that will substantially improve the combat power of the British Army.

Ben Hudson, Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division, said,“Our team has put together an innovative proposal to solve not only the obsolescence issues of the Challenger 2 but to also cost effectively enhance the capabilities of the MBT. One example of this is that our solution can integrate either the existing 120mm L30 rifled gun or our proven 120mm L55 smooth bore system that is in service with the German Army and can fire the latest generation kinetic energy rounds and our unique 120mm air-burst ammunition. When combined with the new optronics, situational awareness and fire control systems our solution will allow the Challenger 2 to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.”

Rheinmetall is committed to, and has the expertise to, undertake all aspects of the Challenger 2 LEP Design Authority and will fully incorporate UK suppliers into the Program conducting both the fleet upgrade and Through Life Support in the UK, while also establishing a long term UK presence linked to this and other projects.

Peter Hardisty, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK, said, “Incorporating UK suppliers into our team is fundamental to the long term supportability of the UK fleet and we have had fantastic support already from a number of UK partners who are members of our team, including Supacat, Thales UK and BMT. The Company is committed to transferring substantial MBT technology into the UK and generating an enduring UK capability to support not only the MBT fleet but also the fleet of over 7,000 trucks we have delivered to the British Army.”

Rheinmetall and its Defence divisions – Vehicle Systems, Electronic Solutions and Weapon and Ammunition – set the global standard for excellence in a wide array of disciplines and offer an extensive array of military hardware that deliver mobility, lethality, survivability of

troops, reconnaissance capabilities and networking of national and international systems.

Lockheed Martin UK Bid

locklogoLockheed Martin UK announced on August 10th that it is to bid for the Ministry of Defence’s contract to upgrade the British Army’s Challenger 2 tanks.  In collaboration with Elbit Systems UK, Lockheed Martin UK will submit a proposal to undertake the Life Extension Project (LEP) that will see the main battle tanks in service until 2035. Lockheed Martin UK is the prime contractor for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme, which is upgrading a minimum of 380 armoured fighting vehicles for the Army. The company is also designing and delivering 245 turrets for the AJAX vehicles that are being produced by GD UK.

In June, a new £5.5m manufacturing facility was opened at Lockheed Martin’s Ampthill site in Bedfordshire where work on Warrior and AJAX will be undertaken. If successful, the facilities would also be used to deliver the Challenger 2 LEP, creating and safeguarding jobs at the site.

Richard Muir, Business Development Director from Lockheed Martin UK, said, “We have a proven track record of designing and delivering turrets for armoured fighting vehicles through the Warrior and AJAX programmes. The ability to transfer knowledge between programmes ensures commonality and reduces risk.  We have invested millions of pounds in our facilities and have doubled our workforce of skilled engineers to develop our Ampthill site into a centre of excellence. By teaming with Elbit Systems UK, and using our established and predominantly UK-based supply chain, we’re confident we can offer an innovative solution to extend the life of Challenger 2 and deliver improved capability to the British Army.”

elbitThe team brings together Lockheed Martin’s experience in armoured fighting vehicles with Elbit System’s proven expertise and experience in LEPs and obsolescence management across more than 3,000 platforms.

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said, “Elbit Systems’ reputation as a leader in solutions for land forces is based on more than four decades of experience. Elbit produces one of the most diverse and comprehensive ranges of land-based sensors and systems in the industry. The company’s total solution concept covers the entire spectrum of combat vehicles, from complete modernization and training to maintenance depots and life-cycle support services.  Working through its UK subsidiaries, which employ some 500 people, Elbit Systems Ltd expects to both create and sustain high tech jobs in several locations across the country.”


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