British Gulf War tanks may be modernized and sent to Ukraine
BERLIN, GERMANY — Jordan could become an indirect supplier of British tanks to the Ukrainian army. This is the first series of British tanks that participated in the Gulf War. However, the proposal to send them to Ukraine came from Germany.
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The German military concern Rheinmetall has made an offer to Amman to modernize the British Challenger 1 tank. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that London has agreed to send 14 units of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.
German newspaper Handelsblatt says Rheinmetall is ready to buy a “double-digit amount” of Jordanian Challenger 1 tanks, bring them to Germany, refurbish and repair them, and send them to help Ukrainian ground forces.
According to experts from the company, this process can proceed relatively quickly, so that by the end of 2023 the “double-digit amount” of British tanks will be deployed at the front in Ukraine. At the moment, there is no more information on the subject, nor official statements from Amman.
These tanks that are in service in Jordan were part of the Gulf War. A total of 420 units were produced by the British of the Challenger 1, 402 of which were sold to Jordan in the period 1999-2004. Currently, Jordan does not use these tanks. They were retired in 2018 and shipped around the kingdom’s warehouses. The Jordanian ground forces currently operate the US M60A3. Although they are an older model than the British ones, Jordan has modernized and refurbished them and brought them into operational readiness. As part of the upgrade, the Jordanian M60A3 tanks are equipped with the Raytheon Integrated Fire Control System [IFCS].
The combat experience of the Challenger 1 tank begins and ends with the Gulf War. Developed in the 1980s, the British retired Challenger 1 at the start of the new millennium, selling it to Jordan. Thus, the tank was decommissioned in Great Britain and was replaced by its newer version – the Challenger 2. As it became clear earlier, Jordan also decommissioned Challenger 1.
The tank weighs 62 tons and fires a 120mm rifled main gun. The rifled cannon is one of the things that differentiates the Challengers from other Western equivalents that use smoothbore guns. The ammunition of a 120mm gun is 64 tank shells. The additional armament of the tank, intended for close combat and defense of the weapon system, is a 7.62 mm machine gun.
The tank is powered by an engine providing at least 1,200 horsepower. Like any other western tank, the Challenger 1 is controlled by a four-member crew – commander, gunner, loader, and driver). By this indicator, it differs from Russian and Soviet tanks, which have a three-man crew, since the loading of ammunition into the cannon is carried out automatically in Russian tanks. I.e. the Russians do not have a soldier in the position of the loader.
Challenger 1 can travel a distance of up to 400 km with a fully charged tank of fuel. The maximum speed it develops on the road is up to 56 km/h.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Great Britain was the first country to announce the delivery of Challenger 2 to Ukraine. According to experts, this will happen at the end of March, or the beginning of April, as training courses for Ukrainian tank crews, are currently underway. Also, London will have to carry out a technical inspection of the machines it will donate and, if necessary, repair and renew them.
Germany has given permission for its Leopard 2 tanks to be re-exported to Ukraine. Thus, in addition to Germany, several dozen countries in Europe are ready to donate tanks to Ukraine. Among them are the Scandinavian countries, Poland, Germany, etc. Third on the list for donations of its tanks was the USA. Abrams’s first series will go to Ukraine by the end of 2023.
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