Home- Stories -RBSL Starts Smoothbore Barrels Production for Challenger 3 MBT

RBSL Starts Smoothbore Barrels Production for Challenger 3 MBT

Development of a new smoothbore barrel as part of Challenger 3 configuration is being undertaken by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) Atul Chandra - : Sep 22, 2021 - : 8:41 pm

Two Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore L55A1 weapons have entered production ahead of schedule at the firm’s Unterluss facility.

The development of the new smoothbore barrel is a major part of the upgrade programme, transforming 148 Challenger 2 (CR2) Main Battle Tank (MBT) into the new Challenger 3 (CR3) configuration being undertaken by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).

Following production, the smoothbore guns will be integrated, tested and validated before delivery to RBSL in the UK, for integration with the new digital turret. 

Colonel Will Waugh, Armour Main Battle Tank Programme Director said: “This is another and early step forward on the path to delivering a genuinely world-class MBT for the British Army. Pairing the tried and tested L55A1 smoothbore gun with the latest kinetic energy ammunition and programmable secondary natures will give CR3 a step change in the lethality over CR2.”

“The move to a smoothbore gun brings the UK in line with its principal NATO allies increasing our interoperability and ensuring access to the latest ammunition natures. This will future-proof CR3’s lethality against the full range of threats until its OSD.”

The UK Army Challenger 3 MBT upgrade programme features upgrades to the Challenger’s armour (new modular armour and an Active Protection System), improvements to the long-range primary sights and the use of state-of the-art tank rounds, along with the development of the new smoothbore barrel.

The tank will undergo full electromagnetic testing to ensure it is survivable in the most demanding of sensor saturated battlefields.  

Challenger 3 will be fitted with a digitised backbone connecting it to the other combat vehicles that make up the fighting Brigade, enabling data sharing across domains to deliver information advantage and enable multi domain Integration and an edge over adversaries.

RBSL was contracted by the UK MOD in May 2021 to deliver 148 Challenger 3 tanks that will extend the platform’s out of service date to 2040.

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