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UK-manufactured Challenger 2 Tank reported destroyed in Ukraine conflict

Recent social media footage appears to show – Sep 5 2023 – a severely damaged British-made tank in Ukraine. A Western military source has also verified to AOAV that the vehicle in question is a Challenger 2 tank.

This marks the first confirmed presence of a Challenger 2 tank on the front lines since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. All Ukrainian crew members survived the incident

The video displays billowing smoke from the damaged tank and aligns with Ukrainian official statements, which assert that Ukrainian forces have made inroads into Russian defensive positions in southern Ukraine. While the exact location and timing of this event are not yet confirmed, the footage shares similarities with other videos showing Ukrainian troops operating in the vicinity of the recently liberated village of Robotyne, located in southeastern Ukraine.

The tank’s unique gun sights and the shape of its turret played a critical role in confirming it as a Challenger 2. Additionally, external fuel containers located at the rear of the vehicle further add to its identification, as this feature is unique to the Challenger among Western tanks.

Challenge 2 tanks were specifically allocated to Ukraine’s elite 82nd Air Assault Brigade. Past social media footage indicates that this unit has been using other Western-supplied military vehicles in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region.

The UK government declared its intention to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine earlier in 2023. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at that time proclaimed that these tanks would aid Ukrainian forces in repelling Russian military advances.

Despite being designed in the late 1990s, the Challenger 2 remains among the most modern and effective tanks available to Ukraine, alongside the German-manufactured Leopard 2 tanks. These tanks are intended to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities and improve the accuracy of their firepower.

Ukrainian tank operators underwent specialised training in March to operate these tanks. The provision of Challenger 2 tanks is part of a larger £28 million support package from the UK, announced at the beginning of this year.