The Challenger 2 Tank’s Unbeatable Performance: No Losses in Combat

Eric Sof

British Main Battle Tank (MBT) Challenger 2

The Challenger 2 tank has not been destroyed in combat due in part to the relatively small number of units built and deployed. There are fewer than 500 Challenger 2 tanks in service with the British and Omani armies, and only a few British battalions have been equipped with them at any given time. The Challenger 2 has seen limited combat service, primarily with a single British battalion in Basra, Iraq.

M1A1 Abrams fires its main gun
An M1A1 Abrams Tank fires off a round as a demonstration (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rachel K. Porter)

In contrast, the Abrams tank has been used extensively in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, with more than 10,000 units built. The Merkava 3 and 4 tanks have also seen significant combat exposure in Gaza and Lebanon, with over 1000 units built. The Leopard 2 tank, while not having as much combat experience as the Abrams and Merkava, has been used by numerous armies and has seen service in Afghanistan and Syria.

All of these tanks, including the Challenger 2, have survived RPG and ATGM hits and IED detonations, demonstrating their durability and effectiveness in combat.

Challenger 2 MBT patrolling outside Basra during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Challenger 2 MBT patrolling outside Basra during Operation Iraqi Freedom (Photo: XT)

It is not accurate to say that one tank is necessarily better than others based on a small sample size of combat exposure. While the French Leclerc tank has not been destroyed in its limited combat experience with Yemeni forces, it would be irrational to assume that it is superior to American, Israeli, and German tanks based on this limited data.

The Challenger tanks utilized by the British military have also not been destroyed in combat, but it is important to consider the level of risk exposure. The Challengers were not subjected to as much combat or intense situations as the other tanks.

Ultimately, it is likely to be destroyed if a sufficient number of missiles or IEDs hit any tank. This has occurred for American, Israeli, and German tanks but not for the Challenger due to its limited use in the field. It is fair to say that all of these tanks are comparable and have proven their worth when exposed to significant combat situations.

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