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Challenger 2, the British Army's new Main Battle Tank, today achieved its Operational Readiness Date (ORD). The achievement of this milestone means that the first Regiment to be equipped with the new tank, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, is ready to face the full range of operational scenarios required of it.

John Spellar, Armed Forces Minister, welcoming this achievement, said:

"The achievement of this milestone means that the Army is equipped for operations with a world class, reliable, battle-winning tank. Challenger 2 is a significant improvement over Challenger 1, in terms of firepower and reliability. This battle-winner has strong export potential. The UK Government will continue to work closely with Vickers management in their efforts to secure export orders."

Background Notes :

** Challenger 2, developed and produced by Vickers Defence Systems, is replacing Challenger 1 as the British Army's new Main Battle Tank. Deliveries of the 386 tanks ordered are due be completed in early 2002.

** To date The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment and the Queen's Royal Hussars have been equipped with Challenger 2 tanks. Additionally a number of tanks are in British Army Training Unit, Suffield (BATUS), Canada for training and exercise purposes.

** Earlier this year Challenger 2 exceeded expectations during a series of reliability trials which tested the tank under battlefield conditions.

** Vickers are already supplying the Challenger 2 system to Oman and it is a strong contender for around 250 tanks required by the Greek Government.

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Ready For The Challenge