Britain ‘almost banned’ Ukraine from using Challenger 2 tanks
LONDON, UK — The British tabloid The Sun published an article on January 27 that left mixed feelings. The publication concerns the promised 14 Challenger 2 tanks of the Ukrainian armed forces.
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According to the author of the content, Mr. Jerome Starkey, the British Ministry of Defense is thinking about options for evacuating Challenger 2. Mr. Starkey cites his MoD source as saying that it would be a “nightmare if someone [Challenger tank 2 – ed.] be captured by the invaders of Vladimir Putin”.
Mr. Starkey says that according to his source, the two military commands [British and Ukrainian] are working together to develop such a plan. London wants a guarantee that Kyiv will withdraw a British tank to a safe place if “any of the 14 tanks are disabled”.
The reason for this concern is the armor of the tank. As with the American Abrams and the British Challenger 2, one of the most secret components is the armor. Challenger 2 features a complex composite armor made of uranium-absorbing compounds, ceramics, and steel.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Washington’s concerns are exactly the same. Therefore, America will consider which export version to provide to Ukraine, which will be quite “neutered” from the original tank in the inventory of the US Army.
However, London clearly does not have such an opportunity, so it directs efforts to actions that will take place on the battlefield. According to Mr. Starkey, the British MoD intends to persuade the Ukrainians not to use the Challenger 2 in those areas of the front where a Russian offensive is not expected. The fear is that the Russians could capture or destroy a Challenger 2 tank and thus study the tank’s armor.
If this happens, the author writes, the Ukrainians will have to pull the tank out of combat as quickly as possible. According to the British source, if the tank is damaged, the first option is to have it repaired on-site or towed with specialized armored repair equipment.
This is the favorable option, both for Ukrainians and for Britons. But there is a question that no one wants to answer – what happens to the damaged tank if the Ukrainian troops withdraw and leave it on the battlefield? “But the worst-case scenario is that the tank is destroyed as the lines collapse and friendly forces retreat,” the source told The Sun.
The “emergency plan” for the rescue of Challenger 2, which is being developed by the British MoD, also includes training Ukrainian soldiers on how to remove the tank from the battlefield during a fire. In general, Kyiv has two options: either to keep these tanks deep in the rear, or behind each tank to release an evacuation machine that immediately drags it back.
London and Kyiv are mulling over and allowing another option – contracting a third party, a private military company, to undertake to take the tank out if it is damaged and the Ukrainians fail to save it.
In its military history, Challenger 2 has only one defeat – one destroyed tank. This happened in the Iraq war and the tank was destroyed by friendly fire. The British tank holds the record for hitting an enemy tank at a distance of 2.5 miles. It happened again in Iraq.
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