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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

16 June 2016

Eurosatory 2016: CHALLENGER 2 Life Extension Programme Gains Traction

The UK's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation has received a number of replies to its pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for the British Army's projected CHALLENGER 2 main battle tanks (MBT) life extension programme (LEP). The British Army wants to extend the life of its CHALLENGER 2 MBTs out to 2035 (up to 227 tanks are to undergo the LEP, aimed primarily at addressing obsolescence issues in the turret).

If budgets allow, a purchase of an 8x8 wheeled mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) is expected to formally get underway in the next few weeks as well, being the British Army’s top new programme priority. General Dynamics UK (GDUK) is already producing 589 tracked AJAX-family scout vehicles for £3.5 billion, and Lockheed Martin UK is developing a WARRIOR IFV sustainment programme ahead of an expected production contract. With a protected-mobility vehicle programme in there as well, the British Army’s CHALLENGER 2 LEP has been underway for several years, but been pushed back again and again. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) hopes to name the winning assessment phase teams around October and select a winning submission in 2019. The following companies have all expressed interest at Eurosatory 2016:
BAE Systems and GDUK (partnering in an industry consortium that includes Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES), Moog, Safran Electronics, and GD Mission Systems; at a new facility it is building at Merther Tydfil, South Wales, to assemble the AJAX),
CMI Defence (partnering with Ricardo UK),
Krauss Maffei Wegmann (KMW),
Lockheed Martin UK,
Rheinmetall, and
RUAG (supported by a group of UK-based industrial partners, carrying out the work in the North of England).

It is expected that two of these contractors will be invited to negotiate for the assessment phase (AP) of the contest, after which one contractor will be selected to run the programme.