UK team bids for Challenger 2 tank upgrade

The UK arm of defence giant Lockheed Martin is to bid for the contract to upgrade the British Army’s Challenger 2 tanks.

In collaboration with Elbit Systems UK, Lockheed Martin UK will submit a proposal to the Ministry of Defence to undertake the Life Extension Project (LEP) that will see the battle tanks in service until 2035.

Lockheed Martin UK is already prime contractor for the Warrior tanks Capability Sustainment Programme, which is upgrading a minimum of 380 of the armoured fighting vehicles for the Army. In addition, the company is designing and delivering 245 turrets for the AJAX vehicles being produced by General Dynamics UK.

In June, a £5.5 million manufacturing facility was opened at Lockheed Martin’s Ampthill site in Bedfordshire where work on the Warrior and AJAX's programmes will be undertaken. If successful, the facilities will also be used to deliver the Challenger 2 LEP, creating and safeguarding jobs at the site.

Richard Muir, business development director from Lockheed Martin UK, said: “We have a proven track record of designing and delivering turrets for armoured fighting vehicles through the Warrior and AJAX programmes. The ability to transfer knowledge between programmes ensures commonality and reduces risk.

“We have invested millions of pounds in our facilities and have doubled our workforce of skilled engineers to develop our Ampthill site into a centre of excellence.

“By teaming with Elbit Systems UK, and using our established and predominantly UK-based supply chain, we’re confident we can offer an innovative solution to extend the life of Challenger 2 and deliver improved capability to the British Army.”

The team brings together Lockheed Martin’s experience in armoured fighting vehicles with Elbit System’s proven expertise and experience in LEPs and obsolescence management across more than 3,000 platforms.

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said: “Elbit Systems’ reputation as a leader in solutions for land forces is based on more than four decades of experience.

“Elbit produces one of the most diverse and comprehensive ranges of land-based sensors and systems in the industry. The company’s total solution concept covers the entire spectrum of combat vehicles, from complete modernisation and training to maintenance depots and life-cycle support services.

“Working through its UK subsidiaries, which employ some 500 people, Elbit Systems expects to both create and sustain high tech jobs in several locations across the country."

Author
Justin Cunningham

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