A new £20 million contract has been awarded to secure the hardware for the next phase of tests on a cutting-edge new rocket and missile protection system for Britain’s Challenger 3 tanks.
The Trophy Active Protection System (APS) will be tested and integrated with Challenger 3 (CR3) to provide enhanced protection against rocket and missile threats, whilst simultaneously finding the origin of the hostile fire for immediate response. The system can locate an incoming rocket or missile in less than a second, destroying it by firing back its own ammunition.
The system, which is being supplied by industry partner Rafael, has completed three weeks of Assessment Phase trials on the Challenger 3 representative system with a total 25 shots including live intercept shots. The contract will secure a number of Trophy Systems and Counter Measures and test equipment required for the qualification and integration activity planned for the upcoming demonstration phase.
The Challenger 3 is being manufactured by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), creating hundreds of jobs across the UK supply chain. The tank is expected to enter service in 2027.
“This contract will be a key step towards ensuring our Challenger 3 tanks are equipped with the most advanced protection systems available. Their ability to identify incoming hostile fire and neutralize it in less than a second demonstrates the UK’s ability to consistently acquire the most advance battlefield equipment,” said Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge. “Procurement of this kind boosts the UK’s sustained assurance to maintaining our world-leading capabilities in land warfare and helps ensure that Challenger 3 will be an exceptional capability.”
This early procurement of these long lead items will allow the commencement of the Demonstration Phase in 2024.
“Assessment Phase Trials of the APS has completed, and we now have confidence to move forward to the next phase. Placing this contract will allow the Demonstration Phase to start in 2024 where the APS system will be qualified and integrated onto the CR3 tank,” said David Tomlin, APS lead for the Land Equipment Operating Centre at DE&S. “Securing these Trophy long lead items is another step forward in securing a world class protection system for our soldiers on the front line.”
The Demonstration Phase is planned to start in 2024 and will be delivered by Rafael Defence Systems and RBSL as the Design Authority for the Challenger 3 tanks. The testing will be delivered at Rafael’s facility in Israel and in UK Test ranges.