The UK and Germany took an important step towards creating a new generation of armor-piercing ammunition for tanks, signing an agreement that pushes the project to the next stage of development.
Great Britain and Germany join forces
The declaration of intent, signed on 27 April, focused on the development of the 120 mm Enhanced Kinetic Energy (EKE) round for the British Challenger 3 and German Leopard 2 tanks. This bilateral agreement could be expanded to include more nations and other types of 120 mm tank ammunition.
German Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki expressed interest in getting other nations to join the program as soon as possible. Talks are already underway with a potential additional partner, although his identity remains a mystery.
A proof-of-principle has passed a live-fire test, and the qualification phase has already begun, according to a joint statement.
Tanks: Challenger 3 and Panther 2
The British Army is the sole operator of the Challenger main battle tank in Europe, while the Leopard 2 is widely used by NATO and other countries. This could create significant opportunities for the export of advanced EKE ammunition.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stressed that standardized ammunition would not only benefit battlefield cooperation with NATO allies but also have the significant export potential for the UK and German defense industry.
Rheinmetall Waffe Munition is the company responsible for the design of the new tank ammunition project and is in talks with British suppliers to include them in the program.
Challenger 3: Modernization and Ammo
The British Challenger 2, which currently fires 120 mm rifle ammunition, is being brought back to Challenger 3 standard through a $1 billion program. The modernization included the installation of a new turret with the latest generation L55A1 smoothbore from Rheinmetall.
The adoption of the smoothbore gun will bring the Challenger 3 on par with other NATO tanks, improving interoperability. Challenger 3 is expected to have initial operational capability in 2027 and full operational capability in 2030, with new ammunition available in time for the latter milestone.
Britain and Germany have signed a declaration of intent to jointly develop new armor-piercing ammunition for tanks, with the potential to include more nations and expand to other types of 120mm tank ammunition. The collaboration has huge export potential and will benefit the defense industry of both countries.