UK – Germany | Mark the next phase in joint tank ammunition program
Defence Redefined
Published on 30/04/2023 at 18:01

Britain and Germany moved closer to jointly launch a new main battle tank ammunition this week with the signing of an agreement taking the project to the next stage of development.

The two sides signed a statement of intent on April 27 taking the development of a 120 mm enhanced kinetic energy (EKE) round during a meeting in London between UK national armaments director, Andy Start, and his German counterpart, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki.

A statement released by the British following the signing said that officials hope ongoing discussions would lead to a joint program by the end of the year to field the new armor-piercing round for British Army Challenger 3 and German Leopard 2 tanks.

What is currently a two-nation program could soon be broadened to take in other partners and other types of 120 mm battle tank ammunition.

Specifically, under the terms of the new agreement, Germany and the UK will also remain open for additional nations to join the cooperation or be export recipients as well as continuing discussions on potential collaboration for other types of 120 mm tank ammunition, said the British statement.

Also read: Ukraine | The UK sends Depleted Uranium ammunition to the Ukrainian Army

The two nations are already holding talks with another potential partner, but nobody is saying exactly who that is for the moment. 

The British Army is the only operator of the Challenger main battle tank in Europe. The Leopard 2, on the other hand, is widely used by NATO countries and others, potentially leading to significant export opportunities for an advanced EKE round.

The standardized ammunition will not only benefit battlefield collaboration with many of our NATO allies, but has important export potential for UK and German defence industry partners, said British Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.

Also read: MGCS | Hensoldt’s “Game Changer” proposal for the European battle tank – VIDEO

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition holds the design authority for the new ammo project, and the company is in talks with their UK suppliers to take a share of the program.

An export opportunity arose on April 28 as Rheinmetall announced it had secured a €200 million ($221 million) order for tank ammunition from an unnamed European customer for delivery between this year and 2025.

The British Army already runs an £800 million program led by Rheinmetall-BAE Systems RBSL joint venture aiming at extensively modernizing 148 of the vehicles to the Challenger 3 standard.

The standout aspect of the upgrade is the installation of a new turret carrying Rheinmetall’s latest generation L55A1 smoothbore gun. The integration of such a weapon system will finally bring the Challenger 3 configuration in line with all other NATO tanks, thereby enhancing interoperability.

The initial operating capability of the Challenger 3 is scheduled for 2027 with full operating capability in 2030. The new ammunition is scheduled to be available within this timeframe.

Also read: DSEI 2021 | RBSL showcases game-changing main battle tank




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