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12 Mar 13. Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBT): Life Extension Programme . The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (12 Mar 13) that the MoD is “in the early stages of a programme to extend Challenger 2 in service to 2035”. The detailed requirements for the Life Extension Programme are being investigated and specified.
Comment: On 30 Apr 12 the Minister confirmed that it is planned to dispose of 118 Challenger 2 MBT, leaving a ‘supported’ MBT fleet of 227. Disposal options are said to be: selling (but who will buy?); breaking up for spares (‘cannibalizing’) or recycling.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Jordan has expressed a desire to receive the surplus Challenger 2 tanks as its existing fleet of Challenger 1s, originally bound for Iran, is ageing and its ammunition and gun dating. BAE is believed to have supported this wish but the MoD wants to keep the surplus tanks for cannibalisation. The next question is will the Upgrade be sole source to BAE or competed with GDUK and Lockheed Martin? Watch this space!
11 Mar 13. The Netherlands and Jordan have struck a €21m deal that will see 60 surplus Cheetah air defence systems being transferred to the Jordanian armed forces. The agreement also includes the delivery of Cheetah spare parts, some 350,000 rounds of surplus ammunition and technical documentation. In addition, five Leopard 1 armoured recovery vehicles will be handed over to Jordan together with the hulls of 12 non-refurbished PRTL air defence systems and two Leopard 1 main battle tanks (MBT), which will be used for spare parts. Eleven Thales Nederland Flycatcher Mk1 mobile radar fire control systems and 22 40mm Bofors L/70 guns are also included in the deal. The Dutch Ministry of Defence will provide assistance with training and deliveries will commence in 2014. The Cheetah is the Dutch variant of the German Gepard twin 35mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) and is based on a slightly-modified Leopard 1 tank chassis. Produced by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the mobile air defence system is equipped with independent search and tracking radars, a search radar (S-band for the German vehicle and X-band for the Netherlands vehicle) installed at the rear of the turret, and a tracking radar (Ku band for the German vehicle and X/Ka band for the Netherlands) on the front of the turret. The Dutch MoD acquired five pre-production and 95 production PRTLs, the last of which was delivered in 1979. In 1995 it was decided to refurbish 60 PRTLs, the first of which was redelivered in 1998. The upgrade programme was a bilateral effort with the German army concurrently refurbishing 147 of their Gepards. The upgraded air defence gun was known as Cheetah in Dutch military service and its service life was planned to continue until 2015. However, due to a realignment of Dutch ground based air defence forces, the Cheetahs were withdrawn from service in 2007 and stored under the auspices of the Dutch Defence Material Organisation. Germany phased out its last Gepards in 2010. Romania received 43 former German army Gepards in 2004 and Chile bought 30 in 2008. The latter deal was later cancelled due to high overhaul costs. In late 2012, another 36 upgraded Gepards were sold to Brazil. (Source: Shephard)
12 Mar 13. Afghan National Army to receive additional MSFVs from Textron. Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&L Systems) has secured a contract for supply of additional mobile strike force vehicles (MSFV) to the Afghan National Army (ANA). Awarded by the US Army Contracting Command (ACC), the $113.4m firm-fixed-price contract foreign military sales (FMS) contract covers production and delivery of additional 135 MSFVs, bringing the total number of vehicles ordered to date by the army to 634. The vehicle