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Łukasz Orczyc-Musiałek builds Tamiya’s Challenger 2.

Developed by Vickers Defence Systems (now known as BAE Systems Land & Armaments), the FV4034 Challenger 2 is a direct successor to the Challenger 1, and currently in service with the armies of the UK and Oman. Production began in 1993, with the first batch being delivered in the following year. Having undergone various trials and evaluation tests, it began operational service with the British Army in 1998, the last tank being delivered in 2002.

1 The turret assembled, with anti-slip panels masked.
2 I replaced the kit-supplied CIPs with photoetched versions.

Although the hull and automotive components are similar to those used on the Challenger 1, they are of a newer design, and only around 3% of components are interchangeable. A key recognition feature of the Challenger 2 is the barbette housing of the Thermal Imaging System (TIS) located above the gun barrel, replacing the Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight (TOGS) mounted on the right-hand side of the Challenger 1’s turret. The main armament is the 120mm L30A1, the successor to the L11 used on the Chieftain and Challenger 1 tanks. Unique among NATO MBT armament, the L30A1 is rifled, because the British Army continues to favour the use of HESH and APDS rounds.

In January 2003, the British Army deployed to Iraq under the codename Operation ‘Telic’ (a term derived from a Greek word, meaning ‘final’). Prior to deployment, various modifications were made to 116 Challenger 2s. These included an upgraded armour package, improved air-filtration system, extended dustmitigation side skirts, and thermal exhausts cowls (designed to vent hot gases to the rear, to reduce the vehicle’s heat signature). The tanks that received these modifications were commonly referred to as ‘desertised’.

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Inside this months issue: Panzer Vor! - The Great and Small of Panzer Modelling Challenger 2 - Operation Telic Armour