Home Europe UK, Germany team up on new armor-piercing ammunition for Challenger 3 tank

UK, Germany team up on new armor-piercing ammunition for Challenger 3 tank

Photo: Rheinmetall

Germany and the UK signed a statement of intent to collaborate on developing advanced armor-piercing tank ammunition for the Challenger 3 main battle tank.

The United Kingdom’s National Armament Director, Andy Start, and German Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki have signed a statement of intent for the next phase of development of the Enhanced Kinetic Energy (EKE) round.

EKE is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate armor and defeat heavily armored targets such as tanks and was specifically developed to improve the British Army’s capability. It uses a kinetic energy penetrator to achieve this goal, which is a long, dense projectile made of materials such as depleted uranium or tungsten that can penetrate armor with great force.

With the EKE round successfully meeting all necessary legal and regulatory requirements, the joint program, which is expected to kick off later this year, aims to integrate the EKE ammunition into the Challenger 3 main battle tank.

EKE rounds, which will be compatible with the L55A1 turret on the Challenger 3 and the German Leopard 2 tanks, will promote interoperability with NATO allies. This agreement comes after UK and Germany announced the gifting of their respective main battle tanks to Ukraine in support of its efforts against Russia’s invasion.

The UK is developing the Challenger 3 to replace the current Challenger 2 tank which has been in service since 1998. Full operating capability for the new tank is planned for 2030, with initial operating capability expected by 2027.

In order to enhance military capabilities and promote international defense, UK and Germany invited other nations to join the initiative. They also discussed potential collaboration on other types of 120mm tank ammunition.

“The UK will continue to drive stronger collaboration between partner nations to address current and future procurement needs. This approach maximizes our collective strength to drive standardization across NATO and provides the opportunity for nations to improve availability and realize efficiencies,” Andy Start said.

“We’re very pleased to work with Germany on this program, helping equip our respective armed forces with a crucial battle-winning capability. The standardized ammunition will not only benefit battlefield collaboration with many of our NATO allies, but has important export potential for UK and German defense industry partners,” defense secretary Ben Wallace said.

In February this year, the UK defense ministry approved the critical design review for Challenger 3 ahead of schedule, allowing the tank to enter production in March.