Steel Cutting Ceremony Marks Start of Challenger 3 MBT Production 

Pearson Engineering is fabricating the turret structures for the British Army’s Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank (MBT) at its Armstrong Works facility in Newcastle, U.K. By DA Reporter / 30 Mar 2022
CR3-Steel-Cutting

Pearson Engineering has been awarded a £25 million supplier contract by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to fabricate the turret structures for the British Army’s Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank (MBT). 

The two companies marked the announcement with a steel cutting ceremony at Pearson Engineering’s facility, Armstrong Works in Newcastle, U.K.

The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defense Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP and British Army Director Programs, Major General Simon Hamilton, plus colleagues from DE&S, Army HQ, RBSL and Pearson Engineering. The group received an update on the Challenger 3 program and addressed members of the Pearson Engineering workforce at the historic Newcastle site, before cutting the first piece of steel for the Challenger 3 turret structures using a water-jet cutter.

The steel structures will house the turret subsystems which will ensure Challenger 3 is a network-enabled, digital MBT with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.

The Challenger 3 subcontract, alongside other current land programs, is a valuable investment in the north east of England and will sustain 285 skilled roles at Armstrong Works as well as prompt a £4 million investment in its machining capability. The contract will help the company recruit several new technical roles across project management, engineering and design, as well as 20 apprentices under an expanded STEM outreach program.

“I’m really excited at this key milestone in the Challenger 3 program being achieved on schedule,” said Brig Nick Cowey, Challenger 3 Senior Responsible Owner. “The turret fabrication being conducted here by Pearson Engineering is crucial for the delivery of a fully digitized turret, ensuring that our modernized Main Battle Tank is the most lethal in Europe.”

“[The] announcement marks the latest in a series of U.K. supplier contracts awarded by RBSL for Challenger 3, ensuring the program benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country,” said Dr Marco Noeding, Managing Director for RBSL. “The steel cutting ceremony in particular has been an excellent opportunity to commemorate a special milestone alongside our customer and new partner. Welcome to the team, Pearson Engineering.”

“This important contract for Pearson Engineering, delivered together with our sister company Responsive Engineering, demonstrates our success in bringing armored vehicle manufacturing back to the North East,” said Craig Priday, Managing Director for Pearson Engineering. “Alongside our strong export business, this multi-year project utilizes the world class capabilities of our team at Armstrong Works, and allows us to further invest in skills, jobs and the local economy. It has been a real pleasure to welcome key stakeholders here today for the steel cutting ceremony and we look forward to working with RBSL as the program progresses.”

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