Ministry of Defence demonstrates Challenger 2 tank’s abilities
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The UK’s Challenger 2 tanks will soon tear across Ukraine’s frontlines alongside counterparts from the US and Germany, but experts have revealed the country’s armoured fleet is in poor condition. Rishi Sunak became the first world leader to announce his Government would supply tanks when he pledged to send 14 Challenger 2’s earlier this month. One expert has revealed that, while the majority of the fleet is poorly maintained, Ukraine will receive the best tanks the UK has to offer.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Anthony King, a Professor in War Studies at Warwick University, said the country has fewer working tanks than it may appear.
Professor King said: “The British Army has very few working Challenger 2 tanks, a lot less than the headline figure.
“And so it is very difficult for the British Army to provide Challenger 2’s because it hasn’t even got enough of them for its own forces.”
But despite the shortage, Professor King explained the Government will send its “top end” units to Ukraine’s armed forces, and these are in “good condition”.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) explained that the state of tanks in the fleet depends on their “readiness levels” and that the ones destined for Ukraine come from the “high readiness fleet”.
They said: “To maintain efficiency, tanks within the fleet are held at different readiness levels.
“The tanks we are providing to Ukraine will be drawn from the Army’s high readiness fleet to ensure they reach Ukrainian Armed Forces as quickly as possible.
“The platforms are already being prepared and will be ready to move in the coming months.”
Announcing the plans on January 16, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK and other nations must accelerate efforts to “keep the pressure on Putin”.
Mr Wallace said the tanks were “unrivalled in their ability to place extreme pressure on the enemy”, adding they have successfully repelled enemy advances.
Following announcements this week, the Challenger 2s will be one of three tank unit types deployed to the battlefield this year.
The US and Germany have also committed to sending tank battalions to aid the war in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz became the second premier to announce armoured aid on Wednesday, stating his administration would send a battalion of Leopard 2’s.
Leopard 2’s are also third-generation tanks and the primary unit used by the German army.
They are among the world’s most widely commissioned in the world, having seen action across Europe and the Middle East during past conflicts.
The tanks can reach top speeds of 42mph and come equipped with 120mm cannons and mounted light machine guns.
Mr Scholz pledged 14 for Ukraine with ammunition from Germany’s national stocks and relevant training for army personnel.
The US has announced plans to send a supply of the country’s flagship M1 Abrams, which are similarly sought-after vehicles.
M1 Abrams have primarily seen deployment in the Middle East and boast top-of-the-range defensive capabilities such as depleted uranium armour.
The units carry a 120mm gun and are among the only tanks with a lighter-weight turbine engine.
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