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Osprey Modelling the Challenger 1 & 2 MBT & Variants Osprey Books

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Great Book by Osprey Publishing. 80 pages
The modern Challenger's heritage began in 1971, when Iran placed a large order for the 'Shir Iran', which was essentially an upgraded Chieftain. While these deliveries were in progress, the tanks went through many upgrades, most notable of which was the addition of a new turret with 'Chobham' armour. Known as the 'Shir 2', this tank began production in 1978, however, the overthrow of the Shah shortly thereafter meant the cancellation of the project, though over 100 tanks were shipped to Jordan as the 'Khalid'. Meanwhile, cost overruns and inefficiencies in the British replacement tank (MBT-80) project eventually lead to its cancellation. Britain still required a Chieftain replacement, so with some modifications to the turret and suspension, the Shir 2 became known as the Challenger. The Royal Hussars of the BAOR were the first unit to receive the new tank in 1983. With the addition of a Thermal surveillance and gunnery sight, and some changes to the ammo layout, the Challenger 1 Mk 3 was created. It was this tank that spearheaded the 1st (UK) Armoured Division's advance into Kuwait, and was responsible for the destruction of some 300 Iraqi tanks, including one first-round kill at a distance in excess of 5km. Three years before the 1991 Gulf war, the British Army sought to improve the Challenger 1, taking into account recent technological developments in armour, firepower, agility, and reliability. During this project's gestation, the lessons learned in the Gulf War were put to good use, and by 1998, the Challenger 2 was in service with the Royal Armoured Corps. Other variants of the Challenger include the exported version known as Challenger 2 E or Desert Challenger, which has been purchased by Oman. To keep the Challenger fleet rolling, the Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle, known as the Rhino, was first deployed during the Gulf War. The Rhino uses a 52-ton winch to recover stuck Challenger MBT's and is equipped with a crane that can lift the engine from a Challenger 1 or 2. Currently undergoing trials with an expected delivery date of 2005 is the Trojan Armoured Engineer Vehicle, and the Titan Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge.

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