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Challenger 2E Early_2
United Kingdom

Challenger 2E

Challenger 2E Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
Challenger 2E Tank
No Longer Marketed
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.


The Challenger 2E (for Euro pack) is a former Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank prototype that went through a number of modifications and used for both marketing displays and field trials for potential export clients. Its location is not known as BAE Systems stopped marketing the vehicle in 2005.

It gained notoriety at the Greek tank trials, when it was supplied with out of date Challenger 1 ammunition and fouled the main gun.


During the development of the Challenger 2 for the British Army, nine prototypes were manufactured by Vickers each with different modifications for trials by different government departments.

Prototype number 9 aka V9 was the closet to the finalised production model. V9 then became the model that was used to develop the Challenger 2E.

V9 was used for trials in Oman and show cased to a number of Middle East clients in 1992, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. On returning to the UK, V9’s 12oohp engine was replaced with the more powerful German MTU 883 V-12 1500hp diesel, which required changes to the rear of the hull, including new rear hull cooling grills.

V9 was used in the 1998 Greek tank trials (see below) and retained the same sighting configuration. The sighting configuration was later changed to a more traditional layout, with the Gunners thermal sight no longer mounted on top of the main gun.

In 2005, BAE Systems (Vickers was bought by Alvis to form Alvis Vickers and then purchased to create BAE Systems) formally ended marketing of the Challenger 2E Main Battle Tank.


The Challenger 2E initially retained the same L30 rifled 120mm main gun and Fire Controls of the Challenger 2. Sometime in 1999, after the 1998 Greek trials, V9 received new sighting technology:

  1. A gyro stabilised panoramic SAGEM MVS 580 day/thermal sight for the commander.
  2. SAGEM SAVAN 15 gyro stabilised day/thermal sight for the gunner.

This eliminated the bulky thermal sight above the main gun and gave a better Hunter-Killer capability at night, with the Commander having his own thermal channel, rather than relying on the Gunners.


The Challenger 2E is manufactured out of Sheffield Steel, which is known as a crucible steel. It is assumed that Challenger 2E would have been sold with Dorchester Composite armour. During some expo’s V9 was photographed with the same bazooka plates used on Challenger 1.


Initially fitted with the standard Perkins Condor V-12 1200hp Diesel engine and David Brown TN54 epicyclical transmission, lessons learnt from trials in the Middle East resulted in a replacement MTU 883 V-12 1500hp diesel engine and Renk HSWL 295 automatic transmission.


Australia –

It is believed (or rumored) that prior to the Australian Army purchasing reconditioned surplus M1A1 AIM V2 tanks from America, Australia had approached the UK about purchasing the Challenger 2E. No official agreement or deal was ever made and Australia took delivery of its M1A1 tanks in 2007.

Greece –

In late 1998, the Hellenic Army (Greece) conduct tests of the firepower and mobility (not the armoured protection) of the French Leclerc, the Leopard 2 A5 (they used the Swedish Strv 122) Russian T-80U, Ukrainian T-84 and the British Challenger 2E.
The Greeks scored the Leopard 2A5 – 78.65% the M1A2 Abrams – 72.21% the Leclerc – 72.03%; and the CR2E – 69.19%.

The Leopard 2A5 was the only one with a demonstrated deep fording capability, while the M1A2 had the best firing results during hunter/killer target engagements. The 1500hp MTU EuroPowerPack of the Leclerc and CR2E gave the best cruising range and lower fuel consumption. The Greeks were already operating the Leopard 2 A4 (reduced cost 2nd hand) and in 2000 the Leopard 2 A6 was selected as their new principal MBT.

When the Challenger 2E was returned the FCS was tested and found in good order. It was found that the main gun had soot and debris in the barrel. This was because the Greeks had been supplied with the old Challenger 1’s L23 APFSDS for the trials and as such the old L14A2 case charge, which was a modified for desert weather L14A1 and had been so hurriedly manufactured that WNC-supplied L8 combustible cases were modified to meet urgent deliveries for the Gulf War. It was the old L14A2 case charges that had been responsible for the debris in the barrel and fouling the shots fired in Greece.


Main Gun
120mm, calibre Length 55 Rifled L30 CHARM Elevation -10 to +20
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders 50. cal Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x50 120mm, x4,000 7.62mm
MTU MT 883 1500hp Diesel
Renk HSWL 295TM automatic
Top Road Speed
72 km/h (estimated Governed)
Road Range
500 km
Fuel Capacity
1592+ Litres
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
2.49m (roof top)
Ground Clearance
62 tonne combat
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver