Forward slope of the Challenger 2 is the tank’s ‘Achilles heel’

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The British Challenger 2 tank’s Achilles heel, as it were, is the forward-slanting region. A comparable assertion has been put forth in Western media, following the circulation of specific video footage across various social networking platforms. 

The shared footage exhibits a Challenger 2, a gift from the Britons to the Ukrainian forces, crossing through the expanse of Ukrainian soil. The tank’s forward-sloping part, otherwise known as the Glacis, is embellished with a grid. An expert, addressing this particular part, annunciates this is a region where this tank is susceptible to threats. 

This susceptibility is a result of the fundamental design parameters of the tank. It was constructed keeping in mind defensive combat and offensive warfare, which influenced the decision to make the Glacis lesser armored. 

Photo credit: Twitter

Our expert’s opinion, regarding the armor of the tank, runs contrary to the prior claim. He cites that the tank, inclusive of the Glacis, boasts superior armor. The 69-ton vehicle includes Dorchester armor, an epitome of world-class armor. The mixture and arrangement retain a “national security” stature and are therefore confidential. 

The predominant composition of the armor is obtained from rolled homogeneous steel plates, impeccably designed to counteract enemy attack, promising heightened protection. 

Technical data suggests that the thickness of Dorchester armor varies between 30 to 100 millimeters, depending upon the specific model and protected area of the tank. Normally, the plates are welded to form a continuous shield-like structure around the tank, aimed at reducing possible vulnerabilities. 

One prominent feature of Dorchester armor is its capability to withstand various forms of projectiles. Its sloped design significantly enhances its effectiveness by deflecting incoming projectiles. 

Furthermore, Dorchester armor comes with spaced armor arrangements, utilizing additional armor layers placed at certain distances from the main plates. The spacings act as buffers to reduce the impact of explosive shells, hence, decreasing the likelihood of spalling. 

In January, the UK transferred 14 of such formidable tanks solely for the use of Ukraine’s 82nd Airborne Brigade. In the combat zones of southern Ukraine, the brigade extensively used these tanks for long-range fire support. Hence, reinforcements were often needed for the Glacis. Another weak spot has been identified as the turret, which lacks substantial protection. 

In early September, images went viral of a destroyed Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine – the first. It was presumed to be immobilized via a mine, after which it was hit by a Russian Cornet anti-tank missile at the vulnerable turret. Despite all this, the crew of four managed to evacuate safely. 

Military analyst Taras Chmut told The Wall Street Journal that Western-produced armor are not living up to expectations in Ukraine. He believes the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine wasn’t considered during their design process.


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