British tanks not upgraded since 1998 are in Ukraine to be buried
PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — Challenger 2 tanks promised to Ukraine have not had a major upgrade since 1998. London gives priority to their successor – Challenger 3. These are words said in 2019 by Mrs. Penny Mordaunt, British Defense Minister at the time. BulgarianMilitary.com reports that the first British Challenger 2 tanks have already “set foot” on Ukrainian soil.
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It is the words of Mrs. Mordaunt in 2019 that are currently widely circulated in the Russian media. According to Russian experts, these tanks were promised to Ukraine so that London could bury them. In this way, the government will get rid of a load that it no longer really wants, and at very little cost.
The Russians believe that the first “Challenger 2 tank squadron” can quickly and bravely perish in the Ukrainian mud. Russia believes that the 14 Challenger 2 tanks will not be the only delivery. “There will be a second tranche, then a third, fourth, etc.,” Russian analysts say, underscoring once again the idea that London is looking to dispose of unnecessary weapons systems.
Is it really like that?
What will happen to the British tanks remains to be seen. But if someone thinks that the Challenger 2 is an incompetent tank, then they don’t understand tank and tactical business. The British Challengers can seriously oppose the Russian T-90M.
The Challenger 2 is a third-generation MBT, the same generation as the Russian T-80 and T-90 tanks. Challenger 2 features very strong armor. It is known as “Chobham or Dorchester armor”. It is made of uranium-absorbing materials and ceramic plates. The armor is marked “National Security Secret”. There is currently no evidence of what armor the British tanks were equipped with. It is entirely possible that the armor was redesigned so that it would not be possible to examine it if a Challenger 2 was captured.
According to some experts, the Challenger 2’s armor is twice as thick as steel and can take a direct tank hit from a Soviet T-72 tank. However, Challenger 2 will encounter not only T-72 but also T-80 and T-90 tanks. According to experts, it is such a meeting that will force the Ukrainians with foreign aid to integrate reactive armor kits [ERA] and additional armor.
The Challenger’s 120mm gun is dangerous
Although the Challenger 2 has a shorter range than the Russian T-90 tanks, its 120mm gun is considered very dangerous. It is the Royal Ordnance L30 model 120mm rifled gun. It is famous for accurate shots up to 4 km distance. This is because overall statistics show rifled guns to be more accurate than smoothbore guns like Soviet/Russian guns. In numbers – between 5% and 7% more accuracy.
The gun can work with several types of projectiles. High-explosive squash-head shells are good for enemy buildings and lightly armored vehicles. For more heavily armored vehicles, the British fired armor-piercing projectiles stabilized by ejector sabots.
Depleted uranium projectiles sparked an exchange of remarks between Moscow and London, and there was renewed talk of nuclear escalation. These are the third type of projectile used by Challenger 2. Russia has threatened that the use of such projectiles will cause an equivalent response from Moscow. Such projectiles are very effective in hitting modern tanks and armored vehicles.
Can Challenger 2 be beaten?
Of course. There is currently no tank in the world that can stand up to modern man-portable anti-tank missile systems. With the ATGM, the Russians would successfully hit Challenger 2 at a distance of between 3 and 4 km.
For shorter distances, the Russian military also has an answer – the feathered subcaliber Lead-2. It should be noted that the upper part of the Challenger 2, ie. the turret can withstand some older Russian anti-tank missiles.
Challenger 2 was used in three wars – Yugoslavia and Iraq. The Challenger 2 tank was destroyed, and buried on foreign soil only once – in Basra, Iraq. However, many experts believe that Ukraine will split the 14 tanks into two companies of 7 tanks each. According to tacticians, a company of seven Challenger 2 tanks cannot sustain a prolonged battle, relying on getting away with only minor damage or losses.
Basically, the Ukrainians are getting tanks to make up for their losses, which are many. A tank can hardly be compared with its foreign equivalent. All today’s tanks use advanced fire control systems. The differences are minimal and realistically, everything will depend on the experience of the tank crews.
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