The “desert” modification of the Challenger-2 is the clearest example of a possible upgrade of the entire tank fleet of the Great Britain. Lattice protivokumulyativnye screens, elements of RS ROM and additional booking of the lower frontal parts of the body - the business card "Desert Challenger". Strengthening NLD is an additional security measure in case the frontal projection fires from a short distance and the terrain screen cannot cover this vulnerable part of the hull with 100 mm armor plate thickness
Modernization programs for modern armored vehicles today occupy almost the first place in the lists of updating the technological potential of the armed forces of most countries of the world. AND Tanks are still the main units in need of regular improvement of armor protection equipment, active defense, tank information and control systems, increasing the power, accuracy and resource of guns, as well as the development and introduction of a series of new armor-piercing and cumulative ammunition. After all, anti-tank missile systems are improving before our eyes, and the BPS of standard anti-tank guns continues to pose a serious threat in a network-centric war. But on BMP and other BBM classes you can’t argue against tungsten and uranium cores. For this reason, no matter how much progressive circles of military experts trumpet about the diminishing role of MBT in the 14st century land theater of operations, the main battle tanks will continue to remain the basis of any offensive or defensive operation. As examples: the appearance of a promising Russian MBT with an uninhabited T-2 Armata tower, the creation of a promising Turkish Altay tank, the constant modernization of German Leopard-6A7 / XNUMX tanks, and a whole series of similar programs.
Today we will focus on the review of the ambitious British program "Life Extension Challenger 2", the results of which should be upgraded the entire tank fleet of MBT "Challenger-2" of the Great Britain. Let's start with the fact that the basic version of the Challenger-2 is not distinguished by maximum survivability on the modern battlefield due to the lack of additional funds that increase the level of body armor of the hull and tower. At the same time, the standard multi-layered armor of the Chobham-type tower, together with several steel armor plates, forms a physical envelope with a thickness of about 725 mm, the equivalent resistance from armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles (BOPS) reaches 800 mm. Protection is provided against BOPS of the type ZBM-42M “Lekalo” (at distances more than 1000 m) and from ZBM-48 “Lead-2” at a distance more than 2500 m. Destruction of a British tank in battle with our T-72B3, T-80U and T -90С can occur either starting from 5-kilometer distance with tank guided 9K119М “Reflex-M” missiles, or from 2000 m with standard BOPS, but you should still be able to get to 2 km to “Challenger-2” because you need to be able to get 120 km-hawk to the XMNUMX-30. L4E72 has a high accuracy of fire and armor penetration, which for the T-3B80 represents a huge thunderstorm. Only T-90U and T-2C can effortlessly fight a Challenger 72 at close range. The issue of a weak T-3B72 armor protection lies in maintaining the previous design of the T-540B serial tower's armor protection, the equivalent resistance from the BOPS of which is only 5 mm, and the DZ Kontakt-72 has a lot of open gaps in the front projection. For some reason, the more advanced T-XNUMXB “Slingshot” project was simply forgotten, and it remained only as a single prototype.
The Challenger-2 is unlikely to withstand the hits of the more advanced BOPS developed for the Armata, its frontal projection is not protected either from the Kornet-E, Chrysanthemum-S ATGMs, as well as the Javelin ATGMs attacking the tank in the upper, thinnest, armor plates of the hull and turret. The lack of an active protection complex (KAZ) turns the tank into an excellent target for aviation tactical missiles and other guided munitions. The first thing the British Army wants to update with its 227 tanks in service is the aging turret. As a matter of fact, it is not entirely logical to call it “obsolete”: the size of the turret's side armor plates is 360 mm, which in the safe maneuvering corners of +/- 30 degrees gives an increase in thickness to the same 725 mm as the frontal armor plates. On the right "cheekbone" of the turret (in front of the tank commander's seat), this dimension reaches 900 mm. For example, the French AMX-56 "Leclerc" side dimensions in similar safe maneuvering angles do not exceed 400 - 450 mm and can be penetrated even by the outdated Soviet ZBM-29, ZBM-32, or American 105-mm BOPS M833. "Challenger-2" becomes vulnerable only when fired from angles of +/– 35-45 degrees from the normal of the frontal projection, this can be clearly seen on the turret section drawings. A rather vulnerable section of the tower is the section of the massive gun mask, hitting which can cause the mask to inevitably jam in the narrow space between the frontal armor plates: the gun will not be able to aim in the elevation plane.
Drawing of the OBT "Challenger 2" tower with markings of armor dimensions
Increasing the security of the entire frontal projection (including the cannon mask) and on-board armor plates can be achieved by installing compact modules of modern dynamic protection, providing protection against tandem cumulative ammunition, as well as increasing resistance to BOPS on 20-50% and against CS on 70-90%. The right solution would be to equip the Challengers-2 with the Polish built-in dynamic protection ERAWA-1 and ERAWA-2. Considering the rather high durability of the Chobham armor, as well as a large angle of inclination of the frontal armor plates of the British MBT, even ERAWA -1 "could protect the tank from some modern tandem ATGM," ERAWA-2 "can protect the British machine even from promising ATGM with a long-term margin (up to 1200 mm from BOPS and up to 1550 mm from the COP). The two most important advantages of the Polish dynamic protection of the “ERAWA” family are the compactness of the EDS and the parallel arrangement of the plane of the dynamic protection element to the surface of the armor plate to be protected.
1. The ERAWA-01 Square EHD TX1 has dimensions of 150 x150 x26 mm and can be installed at a distance from 30 to 50 mm from the surface of the armor. Thus, the elements are issued above the armor design of the tank, all on 56 — 76 mm, which is very advantageous when installed on the MBT with large-size massive towers, which are Challengers-2. Larger elements will seriously violate the overall standards of the machine and can reduce the field of view of optical-electronic thermal sighting sights. The mass of one element of the DRA ERAWA-1 is 2,9 kg, and therefore 200 elements TX01 increase the mass of the tank by just 580 kg (up to 630 with attachment points). This amount of EHD can safely cover most of the frontal projection of the tank “Challenger 2”. EDS TX02 “ERAWA-2” has dimensions 150x150x42 mm and weight in 4,7 kg. The installation distance from the surface of the armor is identical to the “ERAWA-1” modules, but these modules are able to withstand tandem CS, as well as in 1,4 — 1,5 times reduce the action of BOPS. The explosive in EHL TX01 / 02 is TNT or TNT-hexogen; In the process of detonation, a sharp displacement of steel plates of the EDZ case, which have a destructive effect on both the working fluid of the cumulative jet and the armor-piercing cores of the BPS, occurs; a high-explosive effect of the explosive creates a decent amount of stopping effect. In the EHL TX02, unlike the TX01, under the 6-millimeter steel cover there is also a ceramic envelope, which protects from freelance explosive detonation from a single hit of machine-guns and small-arms bullets. The TX02 module is represented by two layers of TNT-hexogen, separated by a thin steel sheet.
2. The fastening of the ERAWA-1 / 2 EDS parallel to the armor surface also helps to reduce the overall dimensions of the tower structure within the normal range. It is worth noting that after the participation of British tanks in military companies in Iraq, the media witnessed a change in the configuration of the external armor protection of the tank: additional heavy modules of spaced armor appeared on the SCE, as well as on the lower frontal part (NLD) of the corps. It is assumed that these may also be elements of the new ROMOR RS. Such modules are also installed on the zygomatic parts of the sides of the tower, where the size of the side armor plates varies from 360 to 420 mm. The back of the turret received anti-cumulated lattice screens to protect the tank’s containment from penetration of the cumulative RPG and ATGM of the 2 generation.
In the XXI century, 2 Challengers are in dire need of installing active protection complexes (KAZ), without which they will turn into easy “mining” of modern assault and tactical attack aircraft, attack helicopters and ATGM operators of 3 generation, where ATGMs with EKGSN are capable to attack the target from the shelters, and even in the dive mode after the completed slide, stitching the roof of the tower and the armor plates of the logging equipment, like a “oil needle”.
The second part of the Life Extension Challenger 2 program includes an increase in the firepower of British tanks. The main instrument of the "Challenger 2" today remains the very controversial 120-mm rifled gun L30E4. Despite the increased diameter of the trunnions and nests under the gun, in comparison with the L11A5, the accuracy of the L30 increased slightly, which was confirmed by the Greek tender in 2002-th year. During firing from the scene, the Challenger 2 showed the highest accuracy of shooting, hitting 10 from 10 targets, while performing the shooting stage on the move with simultaneous detection of new targets (for the crew equivalent to intense tank combat) all 40% of targets were hit (8 of 20 targets), the tank was driven by a Greek crew firing missiles. The cumulative accuracy of the British machine for the execution of all the tasks of the tender was 69,19%, which is slightly lower than that of the OBT Leopard 2A5, Leclerc and M1A2 Abrams, which is slightly above average. The L30E4 gun has a length of 55 calibers (L55), but the initial BOPS speed in the rifled bore is slightly less than that of the smooth-bore guns (of the order of 1550 m / s), which affects the L27 CHARM 3 projectiles, which are normal, and can be normalized by the L700 CHARM 120 projectiles, which can be normal, and the normal cannons are normal. 55 mm steel dimension. The Great Britain is not very happy with this situation, and therefore all interest has long been riveted to the more punchy and durable German smooth-bore tank gun Rh-XNUMX / L-XNUMX.
Back in 2005, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense signed a contract with BAE Systems for the TDP program, according to which a German tank gun will be installed on one of the 2 Challengers. The Rh-120 / L55 cannons manufactured by the German Rheinmetall should gradually completely replace all the L30E4 rifled. The parameters of the German gun are much more expressive than the British product. Firstly, these guns are unified with LAHAT tank guided missiles capable of firing at the enemy at distances up to 6-8 km, which already moves them closer to our 125-mm 2XXXX and 46XXXX guns. Secondly, the initial DM-4 / 5 BOPS speed is 2 m / s, which provides armor penetration from 82 to 53 mm, and taking into account more advanced projectiles - all 63 — 1750 mm. The resource of the German gun is at least 720 shots. With this gun, the British OBT "Challenger 780" will become a much more formidable fighting machine than it is now.
The power unit “Challenger-2” is represented by an 12-cylinder V-shaped diesel CV-12 “Condor” with an 1200 hp power, which gives it a speed of 56 km / h on highways and 40 km / h over rough terrain. Despite the low power density of the tank in the 19,2 hp / ton, on the test sites it looks very decent: in the first gear it climbs on very steep climbs, gaining speed very actively. The tank’s permeability is very high: 30-degree lifts, meter walls, 2,8-meter ditches and meter fords are easily stormed, and all this with the old hydropneumatic suspension and TN-54 transmission. Later, all the machines can be upgraded following the example of the desert modification «Desert Challenger», which is equipped with the German transmission Renk HWSL-295TM and more powerful 1500-horsepower diesel engine MT-883 Ka-500, able to give a little potyazhelevshy (up to 63,5 t) "Challenger-2 »Specific power in 23,6 hp / ton and speed around 67 km / h: the survivability of the tank on the battlefield will increase by 7 — 10%.
Consideration is being given to the development of a charging machine for the modernized “Challendger 2 +”, similar to that installed on the French “Leclercs”, but it is not yet known whether the conservative BAE Systems circles will do this. After all, since the development of the tank from the company's specialists, there is a perception that AZ can fail in combat conditions, and even a small collision can end in tragedy for the crew. The tank's fire control system is built around the Abrams’s ballistic computer version M1A1, and the tactical information exchange system is around the Mil Std 1553 data bus, which allows you to exchange information with any other units equipped with a similar interface, and therefore, in a major update of the TIUS Challengers-2 ” need The program to extend the operation to 2035 year is absolutely not subject to criticism.