13 Jul 20. The UK Government Infrastructure & Projects Authority published a figure of £1.3bn for Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP) on Thursday July 9th
This figure takes into account a new turret, VAT, MoD and support costs.
The numbers required range from 148 to less than 200, down from the original figure of 227, 3x type 55 Regiments.
The bid from RBSL is expected to be submitted in August.
The Life Extension Programme includes:
- A new turret and smooth bore gun.
- A new Kinetic Energy (KE) Round bought from the US or Germany.
- A new Day/Night Hunter Killer capability which will include greater range requirements for the new round.
- A new upgrade card for the ballistic computer.
- New Frontal Modular Armour (NMA).
- An Active Protection System (APS)either Trophy or Ironfist. Sources suggest that Trophy Medium Vehicle (MV) has been selected. This variant has also believed to have been purchased by Singapore.
- Upgrade of the Base Platform
- War stocks and Rheinmetall ammunition qualification.
The armour and APS need to get through development integration critical design review and the NMA needs to complete development, all this before 2022 Quarter 3 review note proceeds.
CDS General Sir Nick Carter commented last week that the final structure of the UK’s Strike Brigades is predicated on the Internal MoD Review currently being carried out.
Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that to achieve the required upgrades for Challenger 2 LEP and to introduce Ajax and Boxer, that severe cuts will be introduced to the legacy fleet including, as reported last week, (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.22 ISSUE 27, 05 July 2020, MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS, Out go the MRAPS!) Mastiff, Wolfhound and Ridgback, although not Panther, but to include Husky, FV432 and CVR(T). FV 432, of which there are still 900 in service, is still in use for Brigade Ops for mortar, Command Post and ambulance variants whilst CVR(T) is still in service for a variety of Recce roles.
Should FV 432 and CVR(T) be mothballed or sold, this will impinge on the workload of RBSL and DSG who currently manage the fleets.
Other sources suggest that in addition to the severe cuts being worked up, that Warrior WCSP will not be affordable and an AJAX variant could also go. Warrior would be kept in its current form until 2025 and possibly some variants converted to ABSV. WCSP would be replaced by another variant of Boxer with a Rafael CT40 or 30mm customised turret as chosen by Lithuania.
In the longer term sources suggest that there will be closer cooperation with Germany and the use of more German equipment by the British Army including Puma or the Rheinmetall K41 Lynx.