Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (CR2 LEP)

There has been quite some speculation what this may or may not involve and the transition from the previous programme which made use of the word enhance to this one, which describes an extension, should make it fairly clear what the scope is.

From the contracts journal

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Armoured Vehicles Programme (AVP) has a possible future requirement to deliver a Category A Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (CR2 LEP). The user requires the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Out of Service Date extended from 2025 to 2035 in order to continue to provide precision direct fire manoeuvre capability across a broad spectrum of operations.

The MOD AVP is conducting a Market Survey to inform the CR2 LEP Procurement Strategy and Initial Gate Business Case.

That is it, extend the life from 2025 to 2035, and that is a ‘possible’ as well.

 

 

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Lord Jim
Lord Jim
May 25, 2014 3:34 pm

Any LEP to the Challenger 2 must be built around replacing the exisitng rifled main gun with a smoothbore, preferably the German L55. Historically the main problem of this has been ammunition stowage, where at present the Challenger 2 ammunition bins are designed for the two piece ammunition the 120mm smoothbore used one piece with a combustable casing. Modifiying the bins to one piece ammo with dramatiacally reduce the number of rounds carried according to some experts. However the alternative of trying to develope a unique two piece round, though possible, would be costly and we would still be in the possition of being the sole NATO users of such rounds.

Another alternative would be to replace the whole turret with either that of the Leopard 2 A6 or the latest M1 Abrams. Both of these come with their own problems, mainly systems compatibility. In this the Leo is probably the easier of the two. Additionally we could conduct a major reworking of the existing turret to introduce stowage like that on the M1.

The final solution would be to replace the Challenger 2 all together and I am sure during the investigation process looking into the LEP this will be considered. A lot depends on what size of Tank fleet the UK will retain after 2015. The gernas appear to have already disposed of the majority of their surplus Leo 2s but with requistration etc in the US, there maybe the numbers of surplus M1s stateside to meet our needs but I wouldn’t hold my breath. One possible option would be for vanilla M1A2s to be build on the Egyptian production line and then shipped to the UK for the instalation of UK specific systems such as Bowman. Only a small chance but these would be cheaper than buying a similar number of tanks for the US line to the latest production standard

The LEP is going to be driven by cost and I can see no cheap options except retaining the status quo and sourcing new ammuntiion together with feeding the fleet through the workshops and giving them a deep service. If this is the route followed it would not be a bad thing as it would allow funding for other AFV programmes which are more important and relevant to the future role and capabilities of the Army.

The Other Chris
May 25, 2014 3:59 pm

I really can’t see the Army having the logistics chain to keep an M1’s GT spinning. I can’t see them developing such a chain either, especially considering Challenger 2’s were used to consolidate following a surge while the Abrams resupplied.

Chris
Chris
May 25, 2014 4:11 pm

Desperately sad that ‘new build’ options might all be imports. Or at best CKD kits from foreign producers nailed together in the UK.

There was a rumour a few years back that a senior civil servant at some glittering dinner event told a senior BAE director that “BAE might have a monopoly over the supply of fast jets to the RAF, and a monopoly over the supply of ships and submarines to the RN, but I’m damned if I’ll give BAE a monopoly over the supply of armour to the Army.” This may of course be untrue, but that’s what the rumour was. Shortly after this CV90 lost to ASCOD in the FRES shambles and BAE closed the Vickers factory in Newcastle.

If the rumour was true, you have to wonder what the civil servant intended to achieve; what else apart from removal of the UK’s only domestic heavy armour competitor that is. There really wasn’t an option for BAE to change its structure in response – the only option that would have readmitted Vickers to the supplier list was selling the UK land systems group off, which was never going to happen after the integration with ex-United Defense. So I guess BAE did the only thing it could do in the circumstances.

You also have to wonder what authority to deny fair competition between land systems bidders this civil servant had. It doesn’t seem likely any public servant, nor any politician, could have the right to shut out a legitimate company from potential business. What ever happened to fair competition and all that?

I suppose Telford has some capability to deal with heavy vehicles but you’d have to wonder if there’s space to set up a production line – big vehicles demand big production lines as well as strong floors. More likely though is that BAE has decided MOD is irrelevant as far as heavy armour goes (the numbers of vehicles in any future buy are likely to be unimpressive) and it will concentrate on other customers instead.

Fedaykin
May 25, 2014 4:20 pm

@Lord Jim

Where to start aye:

“Any LEP to the Challenger 2 must be built around replacing the exisitng rifled main gun with a smoothbore, preferably the German L55.”

No it doesn’t and no it won’t. The current rifled gun is more then adequate especially considering we are hardly likely going to be getting into major tank battles against any peer rival. The MOD has already found a cheaper solution to the ammunition shelf life issue, buying more off a Belgium company. Also the L30 does not have the barrel life issues of earlier rifled main guns.

“Historically the main problem of this has been ammunition stowage, where at present the Challenger 2 ammunition bins are designed for the two piece ammunition the 120mm smoothbore used one piece with a combustable casing.”

Correct , the current turret hasn’t the space for single piece ammunition. TankNutDave explains the issue succinctly here:

“Another alternative would be to replace the whole turret with either that of the Leopard 2 A6 or the latest M1 Abrams.”

Indeed a possible solution BUT the turret also contains much of the most expensive systems in a tank, the cost difference between buying and integrating new turrets vs buying a whole new tank is far closer then one would think especially when you throw in the logistic costs. It is FAR cheaper buying new ammunition off a foreign manufacturer even if it is a limited procurement run.

“The final solution would be to replace the Challenger 2 all together and I am sure during the investigation process looking into the LEP this will be considered.”

No they won’t it is just too costly an option considering the size of our current fleet of Challenger II. Unlesss they came almost free it ain’t worth it.

“One possible option would be for vanilla M1A2s to be build on the Egyptian production line and then shipped to the UK for the instalation of UK specific systems such as Bowman. Only a small chance but these would be cheaper than buying a similar number of tanks for the US line to the latest production standard”

Nope won’t happen again, looking beyond the current political issues with Egypt there is a reason why the Egyptian Abrams are cheaper then the American examples and it isn’t down to labour cost differential. The Egyptian Abrams are built to a far simpler specification and lack the advanced armour of the American built examples. It would be a significant downgrade.

Also have a look at the running costs of the Abrams, it guzzles fuel for a start and its maintenance trail is huge in comparison to our current fleet of Challenger II.

“The LEP is going to be driven by cost and I can see no cheap options except retaining the status quo and sourcing new ammuntiion together with feeding the fleet through the workshops and giving them a deep service.”

Spot on ;-) This is going to be a cost driven exercise, no new gun but replacement of obsolete legacy electronic systems will be the order of the day. The most major change that I have heard the Army would be keen on in this program is changing the power pack to the MTU883 that was trialled a few years back for the export variant. It is a worthwhile change as it is more powerful then the Perkins. 1500HP vs 1200Hp of the former, useful considering the armour and electronics added in recent years. It is also smaller allowing more fuel to be carried increasing the range. The increased space would also allow the installation of a small Gas Turbine APU, a very desirable feature as it will allow then to run the electronics and system without having to run up the Diesel. Reduced wear on the Diesel engines will reduce maintenance costs.

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 25, 2014 4:39 pm

Doesn’t the Challenger 2 already have an APU of some sort?

Also worth considering is that the CRARRV, Trojan and Titan are all based on the Challenger chassis. Swapping out for a different chassis for the MBT would be costly. Especially as this is a ten-year extension. Not worth buying something new for ten years.

It does make you wonder what that ten years is going to buy us and what we will do at the end of it.

Fedaykin
May 25, 2014 4:43 pm

Yeah my bad, it has a Plessey 16.8Kw APU.

I presume talk of a new APU if an MTU883 is installed would relate to an uprated example.

Well that places the OSD twenty years away rather then ten so I presume it knocks any replacement thinking into the long grass.

At that point they will no doubt review it again, they might decide heavy armour is no-longer worth it and drop the capability. Do another rebuild on the Challenger II fleet or buy new from another source internationally.

mike
mike
May 25, 2014 4:56 pm

Or another multi-national design :s

Randomer
Randomer
May 25, 2014 5:22 pm

Isn’t the LEP basically what remains of the Challenger Lethality Improvement Programme and trails minus the change in gun? IE we couldn’t afford what we wanted but still need to replace obsolescent parts.

Doesn’t the new Belgian propellant for the APFSDS rounds now have less muzzle velocity and thus lethality than the pre CHARM 1 rounds used in the 80’s? The specs on the propellant and the switch back to tungsten certainly suggest it but obviously noone will admit it.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
May 25, 2014 8:24 pm

I’m slightly baffled as to why we need a Challenger 2 LEP at all. There’s not much to improve, given that they are useless for future warfare.

Better software for the FCS, maybe. A way around the “wrong round loaded” issue. A better solution for the gimpy expended link not causing jammages. Apart from that, what’s not to like? MBT, does what it says on the tin.

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 25, 2014 8:58 pm

I confess that I was wracking my brains trying to think what needs upgrading on CR2 (If I’m allowed to do that). There’s probably some dated electronics in there that could be upgraded, plus it could probably do with thermal channels for the gunner’s primary and commander’s panoramic sights, which would make the TOGS above the gun barrel obsolete. That would probably allow for some more sophisticated fire control as well.
You could go for the engine upgrade (maybe necessary with the added armour) and perhaps do something with the space you save.
Does the running gear need uprating for the additional armour?

Anonymous
Anonymous
May 25, 2014 9:37 pm

You do need a CLEP if not you might as well dumpy your armoured regiments now and forever. Or rely on the French tanks to cover you.

John Hartley
John Hartley
May 25, 2014 9:55 pm

What happened to the retired Dutch Leopard 2 fleet? Is it still for sale? Is it cheaper than refurbing CR2?

Simon257
Simon257
May 25, 2014 10:09 pm

@ JH

The Dutch flogged a Hundred to Canada in 2007:
http://defense-update.com/newscast/0407/news/160407_leo2.htm

And have now sold the rest to Finland earlier this year:
http://defense-update.com/20140119_finland_buys_dutch_leopards.html

John Hartley
John Hartley
May 25, 2014 10:20 pm

Simon. So if I read the article right, the Dutch still have 88 Leopard 2A6 for sale. Wonder if any other nations have surplus Leopard 2A6 for sale?

Simon257
Simon257
May 25, 2014 10:50 pm

@ John

Apologies for using Wiki:

The first export customer were the Netherlands which received 445 vehicles between July 1981 and July 1986.[5] The Netherlands later resold 114 of these (and one turret) to Austria, 80 to Canada in 2007,[6] another 52 tanks to Norway, 37 to Portugal and finally 100 to Finland.

Here’s the actual link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_2

That should leave them with 62.

JT632
JT632
May 26, 2014 7:27 am

Main upgrades required for CR2, are a new TI system for both gnr and cmdr, new FCS , a new power pack (MTU) as the current perkins engine is not powerfull enough when all of the armour packs are fitted to the tank.
Another upgrade I would look at is replacing bowman with a more powerfull digital system but of course this would have to be army wide. The fleet is in a desperate need of a major refurbishment and this would be the ideal time to carryout the upgrades.
At long last training aids such as PGTE and LFME are getting upgraded, so now is the time to upgrade the tank.

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 26, 2014 8:12 am

I’m not convinced that developing new ammo would be unduly expensive. In fact I’d suggest its cheaper than arty because there’s only one or two propelling charges for each type of projectile. Shot is very simple, not even a fuze to worry about. Of course the advantages of a rifled barrel are longer range accuracy with a basic spin stabilised projectile. Some form of HE fill will deal with most armoured targets. You only need exotic shot to deal with top of the line MBTs.

Peter
Peter
May 26, 2014 8:50 am

@ Chris; Assuming that a senior civil servant did say that he wasn’t going to give a monopoly on british armour to BAE would this not indicate that the MOD would like to source capability from more than one supplier to foster competition and avoid the monopoly supplier completely screwing them?

Unless i’m missing something, that sounds commendable rather than anti competitive.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 26, 2014 9:10 am

Basically the upgrade has all ready been designed in the Challenger 2E, so if we buy that and couple it with an overhaul (maybe a full RESET program? ) and a few upgrades we learned from recent ops.
It’s just the ammo that needs developing and that should not be too expensive to do.

The question is would we do the same engine upgrade with CRAAV, Trojan and Titan?

John Hartley
John Hartley
May 26, 2014 9:19 am

Simon. I looked at Wiki too. The interesting thing was the Leopard 2A7. Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600-800, but German exports to the Middle East are tricky. What if the UK reopened the Newcastle tank factory, built under licence the 600-800 Leopard 2A7 for Saudi Arabia, then another 270 for the British Army? A thousand plus build, would make reopening the factory worthwhile.

Dave
Dave
May 26, 2014 9:28 am

How about the Altay MBT from Turkey ….. ?

Using South Korean Black Panther 2 technology it seems a useful bit of kit

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 26, 2014 9:39 am

John Hartley,
Would it be worth it for a ten-year gap? You would have to change all the training, all the maintenance and spare parts.

I wonder if the TOGS housing over the barrel is big enough to fit a HMG or light cannon for more discriminating fire at range than either the main gun or coaxial weapon, like the Israelis do. Or a big searchlight/illuminator for COIN ops.

Chris
Chris
May 26, 2014 10:08 am

Peter – I think the intent of the statement (or at least as the rumour put it) was that there would be so few big land contracts for new vehicles (FRES being the competition at the time of the rumoured comment) that any going to BAE would create a UK Land Sea & Air domain BAE monopoly, hence no bid from BAE on land projects would be allowed to succeed. Speaking as a UK citizen, moreover a UK engineer in the defence sector, I find barring the only UK manufacturer from MOD Land competitions somewhat distasteful, even though I’m not overly keen on BAE cleaning up.

The Other Chris
May 26, 2014 10:57 am

How do alternative (i.e. non Abrams for logistics reasons) MBT’s match up in regards to protection?

Common (mis?) perception is that the Challenger 2 is top of the pile with regards to its armour.

Observer
Observer
May 26, 2014 11:31 am

ToC, my take on the issue is by the time you hit that level of protection, differences are very slight, almost to the point of negligible. It’s like the 5.56 vs 7.62S debate. People talk about statistics, but reality is that getting hit by either is still classed as “ouch!”. Same with MBTs. If the enemy’s round won’t penetrate, it won’t penetrate. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t penetrate better by 5% etc, it still did the job.

Randomer
Randomer
May 26, 2014 11:43 am

Perhaps the bigger question is how the Challenger 2 now stacks up against other tanks employed around the world. Essentially apart from the upgraded armour packages for the Telic TES units we haven’t invested huge amounts to keep Challenger 2 current compared to most other comparable designs. Certainly the situational awareness package in the newer Abrams and Leclerc is light years ahead of Bowman.

Likewise the advances made by the US and Germans in ammunition are quite stark, we can’t fit longer fin rounds into our loading system. It’s doubtful the current ammunition could penetrate a T90 or similar peer opponent. The Americans have gone through 3 generations of ammunition whilst we have stood still, all spurred by doubts they could penetrate a peer competitor, which they know seem happy with the ability of the latest round to do.

The Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 and Leopard 2A7 have essentially been developed whilst we have stood around and done not a lot apart from bemoaning how much CLIP was going to cost and cancelling it.

Apparently the price and through life costs for new ammo stowage and turret redesign was not far off buying new Leopard 2A7 and sharing the commonality of parts with all the other Leopard users. Buying surplus 2A6 and upgrading was actually cheaper but they aren’t avaliable any more.

Maintaining a small bespoke fleet makes sense if you intend to keep the ability to design and manufacture in country, as the French did with Leclerc. If we intend to give up on the ability to design and produce heavy armour, which effectively we have done why not just by MOTS from Germany with Bowman fit as necessary?

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 26, 2014 11:56 am

Observer,
In some cases that 5% might make the difference between stopping and not stopping a threat round, or equally it can translate into being able to stop a threat a little bit closer.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
May 26, 2014 12:13 pm

Standing back and thinking slightly laterally, should we not be seeking a direct fire precision effects system that weighs a couple of tonnes at most? After all, you have to get it into theatre.

Despite being an ex-Cavalryman, despite being roundly condemned by ex-muckers who shared a cap badge with me, I really don’t think there is a future for British tanks of the 70 tonne class.

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 26, 2014 1:29 pm

Red Trousers,

Is that not Javelin on something, or are you looking for something with a lower per-round cost?

Observer
Observer
May 26, 2014 1:45 pm

mr fred, may be true on the round penetration or non-penetration, but the times when that little bit counts would be exceedingly rare. You got to have a combination of circumstances that puts you right in the middle of the grey area in the field.

RT, the Israelis have been riding pretty high with the success of their Spike, so much so that they went a bit crazy and came up with a mini-Spike. Crazy as a fox, but that might work as a direct fire weapon system. Man-portable, 4 kg. Load a light strike up and let it go hunting.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 26, 2014 1:54 pm

@ Observer

The only issue with loading a mini spike on a light strike vehicle is that whilst it is hunting a tank it can be hunted by a Sniper with a big rifle it never even saw. There is a reason why we have evolved systems into which different vehicles and people slot. The reason is that whilst they all have some strengths and weaknesses together they offer the best overall capability.
Any change away from the MBT as a principal deliverer of direct fire has to be looked at not in isolation but in how it affects the overall capability of my “system”.

oldreem
May 26, 2014 3:01 pm

Agreed any CR2 upgrade should start with FCS and sighting systems, since electronic obsolescence races ahead and much of CR2 was 1980s OTS. Yes to automotives, since CV12/TN54 is early 1970s technology, little different from Shir/CR1; even the CR2 APU is driven by an ancient Perkins P4.108 diesel, for which Perkins had to re-open the production line in late 80s. (Not as bad as the Cent pre-war Morris 8 GUE still in variants in 1990, but would be by 2035). And yes, auto upgrade for the variants, otherwise yet another support (and keeping up) problem from sqn ftr sect backwards (cf. Cent ARV in Chieftain sqns and Chieftain ARRV in CR1 sqns initially). And 2035 OSD? When CVR(T) dieselisation was agreed, OSD was to be 2008 approx.

Randomer
Randomer
May 26, 2014 3:11 pm

I thought Mini-Spike was designed as an anti personnel weapon firing a smaller lighter missile from a Spike missile post?

Brought about from the use of ATGM as AP weapons by Hezbollah against them in there Lebanon misadventure.

The Other Chris
May 26, 2014 3:14 pm

New seats and improved bivvies?

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 26, 2014 3:44 pm

oldreem,
“When CVR(T) dieselisation was agreed, OSD was to be 2008 approx.”
OSD for what, CVR(T)?

Observer,
Mini spike seems like a sensible idea – much of what Javelin is required to do doesn’t really required as much sophistication as it has. That said, the seeker is what makes it so useful, and that will be the really expensive bit, and won’t scale down so easily. Then again, with Raytheon coming up with much cheaper thermal imagers (Cf “The Cover of Night – Gone” article) perhaps they can make a Javelin 2 missile that is compatible with the launcher Unit and that costs somewhat less.

Observer
Observer
May 26, 2014 4:20 pm

Randomer, do you think people are going to use a 4kg one shot rocket launcher as a grenade? :)

“Infantryman behind tree! *dramatic pause* Break out the LAW!”

More likely, it’s used similar to the old 66mm LAW. Anti-structure and some anti-armour.

APATs, he wanted a light direct fire precision weapon, I gave him a light direct fire precision weapon. He obviously has a plan for how to use it. Hopefully.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
May 26, 2014 5:05 pm

Disregarding the majority of my first post, any LEP is gonig to be based of cost effectiveness. If a pirce of kit onthe CA2 still does the job and can be supported at a reasonable cost it will be retained. Replacing the power train and APU makes sence due to the above. The FCS and TOGS do however still do what is needed. Bowman will obviously be retained and new ammuntion needs to be sourced. What will be interesting is which if any of the Iraq UORs will be retained.

The CA2 is still a class A platform and can go up against any reasonably likely opponent and come away the victor. Russian armour has advanced but mainly against chemical warheads rather than kinetic as the former was seen as the main threat. A new non DU round for the CA2 would still be very effective, but the lack of an alternative for light armour and soft targets is going to be a problem. The HESH round that fulfilled this role, if not already, will soon no longer be available as existing stocks are rapidly approaching their shelf life and are no longer manufactured. Again we could contract an overseas supplier to manufacture new rounds but this would be even more expensive than the APFSDS as the latter would be based on an existing design of said manufacturer, probably incorporating the existing sabot.

So any LEP for the CA2 will be the minimum needed to keep it in service, not increase its capabilities. Even then it will still be an effective and relevant platform up to its OSD.

oldreem
May 26, 2014 5:22 pm

Mt Fred – yes, I meant that in early 90s OSD for CVR(T) was 2008 as I recall – or at least that was ISD for its replacement (can’t remember which one), so I’ve perhaps exaggerated by a few years.

Lord Jim – wouldn’t argue with your point about FCS & TOGS, but my point is whether components will still be available to support them into the 2030s. Lifetime buys are a guessing game – underbuy and you run out, overbuy and the PAC gets cross about “waste”; and who knows what ops, and thus what vehicle usage, there will be over say 15 years??

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 26, 2014 5:51 pm

Observer,
Isn’t that almost exactly how Javelin and similar systems are being used? The explosive content of a grenade or a bit bigger delivered with precision at ranges outside small arms fire.

AlexW
AlexW
May 27, 2014 4:42 pm

“All BAE vehicles business is at Telford now”

That’s true from a factory point of view but part of the Newcastle engineering design team (with much of the CR2 experience) has been retained in a new office in the Newcastle area.

Also there have been several comments on how old and obsolete the CR2 APU is. It has actually been replaced by a new modern unit over the last few years.

oldreem
May 27, 2014 4:48 pm

AlexW – Thank you; maybe sauce for the APU gosling is sauce for the main engine/transmission gander?

Chris
Chris
May 28, 2014 12:14 pm

AlexW – good to hear some of the capability survived even if manufacture might be troublesome. Genuine enquiry – did Pearson Engineering take on the whole Vickers site? If so you might wonder if they would be interested in being Chief Subcontractor – Manufacture should heavyweight armour be ordered from the BAE LS organisation.

mike
mike
May 28, 2014 12:53 pm

x

The west has largely forsaken the concept of the light tank, in place for better armed IFV type vehicles.
I guess Scimitar can fill the scorpions shoes as our ‘light tank’, seems alright given the costs and that if we face an enemy with Armour, best come with something more appropriate, like the CR2.

Exactly how we get CR2’s – or any of our Armour – quickly to where they are needed is another matter…

x
x
May 28, 2014 1:10 pm

@ Mike

It was the main armament not the Sheridan itself. I would say a gun for breaching defences/walls and can occasionally kill tanks using a missile is something to think about. I would say such a weapon would be better fit for ASCOD SV FRES than a 40mm.

mike
mike
May 28, 2014 1:14 pm

X

Good point, reminds me of the old Chieftain AVRE had a massive ‘siege mortar’ for just such purpose… breaking defenses, fortified positions and such. “knock the seven bells out of any sov defender”.

oldreem
May 28, 2014 1:42 pm

Mike – no, it was the Cent AVRE with the stubby 165mm gun – when MBTs had 20pdr or 105mm. I think it was dropped for Chieftain AVRE (which just carried fascines etc) because it was reckoned that 120mm HESH would do the job.

After Cent came in as a family, poor old Armoured Farmers were always a generation or two behind everyone else…

x
x
May 28, 2014 2:37 pm

@ Mike

The question is just how many rusty T72s will be out there needing to be tackled by a modern MBT with 120mm cannon, and how many mud/concrete walled compounds or other structures will need flattening in all these coming FIBUA wars? The opposition will probably have HMG and RPG so there will be need for armour. And finally tank as a moving pillbox for MG and grenade launcher.

AlexW
AlexW
May 28, 2014 6:14 pm

Chris – Pearson Engineering’s parent company, Reece Group, have indeed taken on the whole former BAE (long since former Vickers) Newcastle site, although BAE have not entirely vacated the site yet as Terrier is still being manufactured.

Mike cox
Mike cox
May 28, 2014 8:40 pm

Looking ar MOD to extend the challenger tank from 2025 to 2035,is to be honestly the result is correct.When the troops and army return from germany within the next few years,also all equipment return from middle east,as war is now ending.Also as we have no cold war,plus the new aircraft technology with modern weapon power really think the tanks we now hold,are in always the ideal amount to have in MOD.So the idea to extend 2025 to 2035 is perfect.

monkey
monkey
May 28, 2014 10:10 pm

Are we looking at a lep for all the the CR2 still considered fit for duty or for all the ‘hulls’ on the roster ? Are we looking at bringing our front line MBT back up to strength for a perceived future need? Is there something in between the lines here ?

HOWARD
HOWARD
September 22, 2015 7:06 pm

Just spotted this…

Defense Industry Daily Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 00:20 UTC

Europe
The UK’s Defence Ministry is reportedly looking into options for an improved Main Battle Tank (MBT), including assessing an option to procure new vehicles to replace the 227 Challenger 2 MBTs in service. A response to the Russian T-14 Aramata MBT unveiled in May, the Challenger 2 is now coming under scrutiny as officials examine whether the tank is capable of matching the new Russian design. Despite some scepticism over Russian descriptions of the vehicle’s capabilities , the T-14 has shaken up the British Army sufficiently to speed up a possible Life Extension Program (LEP) for the Challenger 2 or the procurement of a completely new fleet.

Here we go again!?

Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort
November 4, 2015 11:48 am
Reply to  Chris

May i suggest that the rumor was just that, a rumor. It probably originated in Telford rather than Whitehall.

My first point would be that competitive process for MOD tenders like FRES, LEP or WCSP is the most transparent in the world. It’s virtually impossible for a civil servant to literally fudge a bid on behalf of a bidder. Contract awards need to stand up to scrutiny and legal challenge and the marking scheme is published before anyone bids. Which brings me to second point; every time BAE lose a major bid it’s because either A) the customer screwed them or B) a competitor bought the business. Notice that it’s never actually their fault, it’s never something they did in their own bid.

I do realise that this is just human nature. I mean it’s not like RBS could have foreseen the U.S. housing crisis and i’m sure the Volkswagen emission scandal was just one bad apple and nobody else knew about what was going on. However, just because it’s human nature to blame external factors, it doesn’t mean we have to believe the excuses.

Chris
Editor
Chris
November 4, 2015 12:42 pm

Jordan – *cough* Panther FCLV *cough*… Or the Leyland 4 tonne win over Bedford?

I wrote a couple of days back that the MOD’s budget accounting was largely pointless because the figures can be easily swayed by small changes in assumptions and revisions of scope. Similarly the vast spreadsheet bid assessments ultimately rely on a score in the cell determined by someone reading bid documents – it is not just easy to apply opinion, its unavoidable. So if one bid is scored on the pessimistic side and another on the optimistic side, who could possibly detect that? Once the scores are numerically represented in their spreadsheets then all sorts of audits can prove the process is being followed, without ever admitting how the numbers were first populated.

I am quite happy to believe the process overall is conducted with diligence and impartiality, but nevertheless its not impossible for bias to be injected.

Graham
Graham
November 23, 2015 5:24 pm

Don’t reopen the newscastle factory,reopen the leeds factory for a better. Quality of vehicle