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Challenger 3 Technology Demonstrator: Smoothbore Galore

We’re going to be showing you one of the first Rank VIII MBTs coming to the game, which will be the Challenger 3 TD! Capable, lethal and up to the challenge, today we’ll be talking about exactly how this new addition will be when it arrives in War Thunder.

Challenger 3 TD: An MBT for Great Britain at Rank VIII


  • Deadly L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon!
  • Improved engine pack.
  • GEN 3 thermals.
  • Laser Warning Receiver.
Vehicle History

In 2014, the British MoD set out requirements for upgrading existing Challenger 2 tanks to a new standard through the Life Extension Program (LEP). There were several requirements, but the core idea was to upgrade the Challenger 2’s turret with better electronics and enough updated technology to last until 2035.

BAE Systems and Rheinmetall were awarded contracts to design and present a prototype for evaluation. Both put forward two proposed designs: BAE in 2018 that featured an Active Protection System (known as the Challenger 2 “Black Night”) and Rheinmetall in early 2019 that featured a modified turret with an L/55 smoothbore cannon.

However, later in 2019 after the proposals were presented, Rheinmetall and BAE Systems decided to join forces and create a joint venture named Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), headquartered in the UK. This newly formed company went with Rheinmetall’s original proposal, which was also shown again at DSEI 2019 under RBSL, and was the one that eventually went on to win the Life Extension Program.

In 2021, RBSL was awarded a contract from the MoD to upgrade 148 existing Challenger 2 tanks to their winning design, with this new tank going on to be named the Challenger 3. Main production of the Challenger 3 is expected to start around 2024 with the first tanks expected to be delivered to the British Army between 2027 and 2030.


Meet the Challenger 3 TD!

The Challenger 3 is coming to War Thunder in its prototype form that was presented to the British MoD in 2019, and will be arriving to the British ground tree with the release of the next major update! Coming in at the all-new Rank VIII for ground vehicles, this tank is the ultimate Challenger, as it’s armed with an L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon, has better engine horsepower, excellent thermal sights, plus a great selection of ammo. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what this tank has to offer.

Interesting: The Challenger 3 TD is the 3rd version of the Challenger tank, where this series dates back over 40 years — Challenger 1 from 1983, Challenger 2 from 1998 and Challenger 3, after full-scale production, from 2027.

There’s one stand-out addition to the Challenger 3 TD that significantly enhances its capability in battle compared to the Challenger 2, and that’s the L/55 A1 smoothbore cannon! This fantastic gun is mounted into a modified Challenger 2 turret, meaning you’ll have access to the lethal DM53 APFSDS round, HEAT-FS and even a HE-TF round. Although this gun is a welcomed addition, it does mean access to the traditional HESH and smoke shell is completely lost. Furthermore, the modified turret features excellent electronics, including a brand-new commander optic, GEN 3 thermals for the gunner/commander and LWS/LR, although a machine gun is absent from the turret roof.

Download Wallpaper:

Moving to the hull and armor, which remains virtually identical to the Challenger 2. Particularly in the form of composite armor around the front, a large lower front plate and the weakness of the driver’s vision port. It’s also worth noting that additional armor packages that are quite familiar to previous Challenger 2s cannot be equipped on the Challenger 3 TD in-game. Despite having a modified turret to house the larger L/55 A1 cannon, the turret cheeks of this tank still remain the same as the armor of its predecessor, which is decent in general.

Did you know? The Challenger 3 TD is the first British MBT to be armed with a smoothbore cannon instead of a rifled cannon, and the first time that HESH rounds are missing from British MBTs.

One burning question that you may be asking is if mobility has improved, and… it has! Slightly. The Challenger 3 TD has a 1500 HP engine instead of the standard 1200 HP engine, however the top speed remains at 59 km/h, which is still on the low side compared to other MBTs. Thanks to this extra horsepower, this tank will generally be able to get around better and reach its top speed quicker. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Challenger 3 TD is 62.5 tons.

In your matches by Tom, Community Management Team Leader: The CR3 offers something quite important. With better mobility, advanced thermals and a very powerful round you can effectively aim and fire on enemies faster due to the more forgiving firepower. This is the advantage you should aim to utilise as much as possible while you play. As top tier tanks are very universal there’s no strict playstyle to employ, but just keep in mind that you don’t absolutely need to fight up-close for your advantages to work.

Overall, the combination of excellent electronic systems, better horsepower, good armor and a smoothbore gun will make the Challenger 3 TD a breath of fresh air when playing the British top tier lineup. Don’t forget that the recently announced Rank VII Challenger 2 (OES) premium — coming soon too — will help you research the Challenger 3 TD faster. That’s it for today’s blog, until next time, see you soon!

Kick-start your British ground research with this starter pack:

British Starter Pack
British Starter Pack
The Kit Includes:
  • Crusader II “The Saint” (Rank II, Britain)
  • Spitfire Mk.IIa Venture I (Rank II, Britain)
  • Premium Account for 7 days
  • 120000 Silver Lions

You can greatly speed up the research of the Challenger 3 TD with this pack:

Challenger DS Pack
Challenger DS
The Kit Includes:
  • Challenger DS (Rank VII, Britain)
  • Premium account for 15 days
  • 2000 Golden Eagles
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