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Black Night Challenger 2

Black Night Challenger 2 MBT

Main Battle Tank LEP program United Kingdom

Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program 925 001


The Black Night Challenger 2 Technology Demonstrator is an upgraded version of the British army Challenger 2 MBT Main battle Tank launched by the Company BAE Systems to bid for the tank’s Life Extension Project (LEP). The Challenger 2 is the standard main battle tank in service with the British army since 1994. The new version of the Challenger 2 features many new improvements mainly mounted inside and outside of the turret. The new combat equipment of the Black Night MBT turret is equipped with a Safran Paseo commander’s independent sight, Leonardo thermal imager for the gunner, and Leonardo night sight DNVS 4 to provide hunter-killer thanks to thermal imagers for the gunner, commander, and driver. The Black Night Challenger 2 was unveiled by BAE Systems in September 2018 during the DVD, Defense Vehicle Dynamics, a biennial Defense industry exhibition staged at Millbrook Proving Ground that enables focused engagement between Defence industry, DE&S Delivery Teams, Army HQ staff and other Defense community users of Land Equipment. According to BAE Systems, if the field tests are successful, the Black Night Challenger 2 could enter in service with the British army in 2024 and a total of 224 Challenger 2 MBT could be upgraded as part of Challenger 2’s LEP Life Extension Project of British Ministry of Defense. The goal of the Black Night upgraded Challenger 2 is to offer a modernized main battle tank with new night combat capabilities and equipped with Active Protection System (APS) that is able to ensure the Challenger 2 MBT remains combat-ready for the next 20 years until 2035.

Black Night Challenger 2 variants:

- Challenger 2 : Original version of the British-made Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank
- Challenger 2 TES Megatron : also nicknamed Megatron is the latest generation of British Main Battle Tank (MBT) in the Challenger 2 family. The TES system was developed to increase protection of the tank against tandem warheads and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threats.

Technical Data

The Challenger 2 Black Night MBT (Main Battle Tank) uses the same turret as the standard Challenger 2 that is mounted in the center of the hull. Main armament includes consists of one BAE Systems L30A1 RO Defence 120 mm rifled tank gun fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor and muzzle reference system. It can fire all the standard 120mm ammunition, up to 50 projectiles can be carried inside of the tank. Second armament includes one coaxial ATK Gun Systems Company 7.62 mm Chain Gun called L94A1 in the British army mounted to the left of the main armament. One 7.62mm L37A2 machine gun is mounted on the loader hatch. A bank of five 66mm electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers is mounted on either side at the front of the turret. The turret is fully electrically operated by commander and gunner with 360° turret traverse and gun elevation of +20° and depression of -10°.
Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program details 925 001
Close view of the new turret layout of the Black Night Challenger 2
Design and protection
The layout of the Challenger 2 Black Night MBT is similar to the original Challenger 2 except for the turret which is equipped with additional systems including night vision equipment, active protection and laser warning systems. The tank has a crew of four including driver, commander, loader and gunner. The driver position is located at the center of the hull. In the turret, the commander is seated on the right, the gunner forward and below the commander, and the loader on the left side. The Challenger 2 is built from conventional steel armor covering both the hull and turret providing high level of protection against ballistic threats and artillery shell splinters. The turret also incorporates second-generation of Chobham armor to increase protection against both KE (Kinetic-Energy) and CE (Chemical-Energy) rounds attacks and incorporates stealth technology to minimize the radar signature. The frontal armor was designed to resist all KE threats at point blank except the Soviet 115 mm APFSDS - this could penetrated the front at 200 meters according to British estimates. The side armor could stop 76 mm AP-T at 2,000 meters and 50° angle, 57 mm AP-T at 2,800 m and 50° angle and 45 mm AP-T at 1,000 m and 40° angle. It also provided full protection against Carl Gustav ammunition, 6 inch and 5 inch shaped charge warheads at angles greater than 65° and 60° respectively. This protection assessment is based on British calculations made with penetration figures for Soviet weapons provided by the US Army. For its self-protection, the Black Night Challenger 2 is fitted with a new Iron Fist APS (Active Protection System) from IMI (Israel Military Industries) mounted on each sides at the front and the rear of the turret. The roof of the turret is also equipped with two banks of launchers parts of Iron Fist APS, able to fire countermeasure munitions to defeat and/or deflect anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades away from the tank. It senses incoming threats via a fixed active electronically scanned array radar sensor developed by RADA Electronic Industries and an optional passive infrared detector developed by Elbit's Elisra. When a threat is imminent, an explosive projectile interceptor is launched towards it. The interceptor explodes very near the threat, destroying or deflecting and destabilizing it without detonating its warhead. For this, only the blast effect of the explosive is used. The interceptor casing is made of combustible materials so no fragmentation is formed in the explosion, helping minimize collateral damage.
The Black Night Challenger 2 MBT uses the same hull and powerpack as the standard Challenger 2 MBT that consists of one Perkins Engines Company CV-12 TCA Condor V-12 12-cylinder 26.1 liter diesel developing 1,200 hp at 2,300 rpm coupled to a David Brown Engineering TN54 epicyclic transmission with 6 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum road speed of 40 km/h with a maximum cruising road range of 450 km and 250 km in cross-country conditions. The hydro-pneumatic suspension of the Black Night Challenger 2 consists on each side of six aluminum road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and two track-return rollers either side. The upper part of the track is covered by aluminum skirts to protect the suspension. The Challenger 2 is also fitted with hydraulic track tension system at the front, enabling the driver to control the track tension from inside under the armor of the tank. It can cross a trench of 2.34m and climb a vertical obstacle of 0.9m. It is capable of fording 1.07m depths of water, climbing gradients of 60% and negotiates 30% side slope.
The Black Night Challenger 2 MBT keeps the standard equipment of the Challenger 2 that includes optical and thermal imager sights for both the commander and gunner, including an independent 360 degree panoramic sight for the commander. The sighting systems, turret and gun are fully stabilized enabling rapid target engagement when static and on the move. An NBC protection system is mounted in the turret bustle, there is also a heating and cooling systems in the crew compartment. The tank is also equipped with digital computer system from General Dynamics Canada, which is an improved version of the system installed in the American M1A1 Abrams. A Thales Optronics thermal imaging sight is mounted over the 120 mm L30A1 gun that moves in elevation with the main armament. New equipment of the Black Night Challenger 2 consists of Safran Paseo commander's independent sight mounted at the front of the tank commander hatch, Leonardo thermal imager for gunner and Leonardo night sight DNVS 4 that improves night combat capabilities and provides 24-hour hunter-killer capability, so that one crewman, such as the commander, can survey and identify targets to either his gunner or to other tanks in his platoon of potential targets. This is further expanded by computers able to identify and track multiple targets for the crew. The Safran PASEO, the latest-generation of advanced panoramic sight improves the survivability and fighting capabilities of the Main Battle Tank (MBT). It provides a true "fire-on-the-move" capability during day and night with a high first round hit probability, whether on static or moving targets. Designed to meet the various requirements of modern warfare, symmetric and asymmetric, PASEO provides unique features to increase the situation awareness for the tank. The upgraded tank is also equipped with auto-tracking system that improves fire and gun control. The Leonardo Drivers Night Vision System (DNVS) 4 is a passive, multi-spectral, wide-angle, indirect view, observation system. Designed to enhance the operability of the main battle tank, the DNVS 4 provides optimum vision and improved situational awareness for today's 24-hour, all-weather battlefield environments. The Black Night Challenger 2 has a modified turret turn table which improves the speed of turret traverse and provides greater space equipped with new fire control system and laser warning receivers. New improvements also include a battery charging system linked to the recuperator of the main gun, which directs energy from the recoil of the blast into the reserve batteries to add charge.


Armament Armor
One 120mm cannon, one 7.62 coaxial machine gun, one remotely operated weapon station armed with 7.62mm, 12.7mm or 40 mmm automatic grenade launcher Standard Chobham and Dorchester composite armour, reactive, passive and bar armour.
Country users Weight
- ?
Designer Country Speed
United Kingdom 40 km/h road
Accessories Range
New digital computerized fire control system, new night visionsystems , heating, NRBC protection system, APU and APS Active Protection System 450 km road range, 250 km cross-country
Crew Dimensions
- Length: 8.32 m; Width: 3.56 m; Height: 2.49 m hull

Details View

Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program front view 001 Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program rear view 001
Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program left side view 001
Black Night Challenger 2 MBT Main Battle Tank British United Kingdom army LEP program right side view 001

Pictures - Video

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