Armed Forces - a4a6 - British Army - The Household Cavalry & Royal Armoured Corps - Fv 4030/4 Challenger 1 Tank



A British Challenger 1 main battle tank moves into a base camp along with other Allied armour during Operation Desert Storm

Produced by the Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds, the first Challenger 1s were delivered to the British Army in 1983. Challenger 1 is a development of the Centurion - Chieftain line which was modified to produce the Shir/Iran 2, originally planned for service with the Iranian forces.

After the Iranian Revolution the Shir Iran 2 project was taken over by the British Army and the end result was Challenger, later redesignated as Challenger 1.

The main differences between Challenger 1 and its predecessor Chieftain (the MBT that it replaced) were in the engine and armour. The Challenger engine, which produces 1,200 bhp at 2,300 rpm was far more powerful than the Chieftain engine, and the Chobham Armour carried is believed to give protection from almost all types of anti-tank weapon.

Chobham armour is thought to consist of several layers of nylon micromesh, bonded on both sides by sheets of titanium alloy, in addition to several other layers of specialised armour and ceramics. Challenger 1 is believed to have cost about 2 million per vehicle at 1987 prices.

The main armament on all Challenger 1s has been upgraded by the installation of the L30 CHARM gun. In addition to firing the existing range of ammunition, this gun fires a new armour-piercing fin stabilised, discarding sabot round with a depleted uranium warhead, which should be able to defeat the armour on all known MBTs.

An additional improvement was the ACTAS (Active Cupola Target Acquisition System) which has been retro-fitted to all Challenger 1s. This system permits the use of the commander's cupola for target acquisition and designation to the gunner.

The only nation known to be operating Challenger 1 is Jordan, where the 274 tanks in service are known as Khalid. Under an agreement signed in March 1999, another 288 Challenger 1s are to be supplied to Jordan over a three-year period to enable the Jordanian fleet of Centurion MBTs (locally called Tariq) to be replaced.

This vehicle has now been phased out

CHALLENGER 1 Specifications
Phased out of operational service in November 2000 - being replaced by Challenger 2
Armament 1 x 120mm L11A7 gun
2 x 7.62mm Machine Guns
2 x 5 barrel smoke dischargers
Ammunition Capacity 44 rounds of 120mm, 6,000 rounds of 7.62mm
Engine Rolls-Royce CV12
Engine Power 1,200 bhp at 2,300rpm
Engine Capacity 26.1 litres
Max Road Speed 56km/h
Weight loaded 62,000kg
Length Hull 9.87m
Length Gun Forward 11.55m
Height 3.04m
Width 3.42m
Ground Clearance 0.5m
Crew 4
Ground Pressure 0.96 kg/cm2
Fording Depth (no prep) 1.07m