BAD NEWS: The British Army Bought The Wrong Tank

The World Challenger 2 Tank

At least that’s the opinion of one retired army officer who during his 20-year career helped to assess tank designs on behalf of U.K. policymakers.

At least that’s the opinion of one retired army officer who during his 20-year career helped to assess tank designs on behalf of U.K. policymakers.

When the Ministry of Defense in 1987 decided to replace its existing Chieftan and Challenger I main battle tanks, according to Stuart Crawford, a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, the obvious choice was Germany’s own latest tank.

“Leopard 2 was our recommendation,” Stuart wrote at U.K. Defense Journal. “And obviously we were ignored.” The other options were the American M-1A1, the French Leclerc and the British Challenger 2.

The ministry chose the Challenger 2 with its 120-millimeter rifled main gun, four-person crew and questionable automotive reliability. It perhaps shouldn’t have, Stuart wrote.

Stuart explained that he and his fellow army acquisitions officers rated the French Leclerc over the Challenger 2 “because it had an autoloader for its 120-millimeter smoothbore gun and a three-man crew. It could also fire the same ammunition as the Rheinmetall 120-millimeter smoothbore of other NATO nations.”

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“However, at the time, and rightly or wrongly, it was deemed too much of a risk” owing to France’s fractious relationship with NATO.

The four-person American M-1A1 with its 120-millimeter smoothbore gun “was attractive for many of the same reasons and mounted the smoothbore gun, but we had reservations over its gas-turbine engine’s fuel requirements and the logistics implications of catering to that demand.”

“In the end the recommendation of the … staff officers was clear,” Stuart wrote. “Britain’s next tank should ideally be the Leopard 2, mainly for reasons of reliability, impressive mobility and because of its 120-millimeter smoothbore gun, which would give Britain ammunition compatibility and interoperability with our NATO allies (many of whom opted for Leopard 2) and the perceived advantages of economy of scale of production.”

But Stuart and his colleagues appreciated the politics of the ministry’s decision. “We weren’t entirely oblivious to the furious lobbying that was going on in favor of Challenger 2 and recognised that the ‘strategic necessity’ argument for Britain to maintain its own tank design and production expertise might win the day — even when both foreign contenders pledged to set up their production lines in the U.K.”

“A final plea that at the very least Challenger 2 should mount the 120-millimeter smoothbore fell on deaf ears. Obviously the Royal Armored Corps ended up with Challenger 2, and in fairness if has proved to be not a bad MBT even although it has never been confronted by a peer or near-peer enemy.”

The British Army ultimately bought around 900 Challenger 2s but by 2019 had reduced its fleet to just 227 tanks. Challenger 2s in 2017 took part in the British Army’s biggest European exercise in many years. Eight hundred British troops and scores of vehicles deployed to Poland and the Baltic states to train alongside troops from 16 other NATO countries.

But the Challenger 2s have suffered from a lack of upgrades. A new urban camouflage scheme that the Royal Tank Regiment in 2017 applied to a few Challenger 2s belied the vehicles’ unupgraded guns, armor and engines.

At the same time, the United States was rolling out ambitious upgrades for its M-1s while Germany and France embarked on the joint development of a brand-new tank.

The Ministry of Defense in 2019 could award a contract for the Challenger 2’s first major update in years. “Rheinmetall has offered to swap the Challenger’s 120-millimeter rifled gun for a smoothbore weapon, while the BAE-led partnership Team Challenger 2 offered to fit an active protection system,” Defense News reported.

“The army would probably like both, but given the dire state of the defense budget, affording even one of those options is problematic.”

Stuart advised the army to replace the old Challenger 2s — and to pick a foreign design this time. “Maybe this time around the U.K. will be able to swallow its national pride and opt for the best option on offer no matter its country of provenance?”

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

With many thanks to: The National Interest and David Axe for the original story

Doubts over ballistic tests

BALLISTICS tests on the gun used to kill pensioner Roseann Mallon were done by RUC Special Branch officers who might not have been properly qualified, an inquest has heard.

Ms Roseann Mallon (76), was gunned down as she watched television at her home in Dunngannon, Co Tyrone, on May 8 1994.

The Czech-bought assault rifle, now linked to 11 other murders and two attempted murders, was first examined at the Weapons and Explosives Research Centre (Werc) – a previously unheard of unit located within the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory, the court was told. Mr Justice Weir, who is hearing the long-awaited inquest, said: “This is the first time it has ever come to my attention that there was a forensic system.” Ms Mallon (76) was gunned down as she watched television at a house near Dungannon, Co Tyrone on May 8 1994. The spinster, who had been staying with relatives because she felt vulnerable, was unable to escape when two loyalist gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow on Cullenrammer Road.

The UVF said its mid-Ulster brigade had been responsible (although it was widely beleived to be members of Billy Wright‘s LVF gang) and were targeting two of her nephews Christopher Mallon, who was not home at the time and Martin Mallon who lived half a mile away. In the wake of the shooting, British army spying equipment was found in a nearby field sparking claims of security force collusion. Last week it emerged that the Historical Enquries Team (HET) – a specialist unit set up to re-examine Troubles-related cold cases – had linked the murder weapon to the UVF killings of Charles and Theresa Fox at the Moy, Co Armagh, in 1992, as well as the murders of John Quinn, Dwayne O’Donnell, Malcolm Nugent and Tommy Armstrong outside a bar in Cappagh, Co Tyrone in 1991. But, Barry McDonald QC, who is representing the Mallon family, said the rifle was now known to have been involved in at least eight incidents that resulted in 11 murders and two attempted murders.


He said inaccurate information that the gun had no previous previous history was fed into the the system by Special Branch. Mr MacDonald said: “The practice seems to have been when cartrige cases were collected they were forwared to the Forensic Science Laboratory of Northern Ireland but it was the Werc who conducted their investigations and provided a steer. “The upshot is that these incorrect conclusions have been made by a section of Special Branch in circumstances where the object of this entire exercise – that’s this inquest – is to allay suspicion and rumour about the involvement of Special Branch.” Judge Weir told the court he had never heard of Werc despite a lengthy career as a defence barrister and judge. He also expressed concern that they were not ballistics experts and said he would be demanding a full explanation on how they operated and who took the decision to conceal their existence. Martin Mallon said the family had been left bemused by the latest revelations. He said: “We have had Special Branch hiding behind screens, we have heard evidence about burning notebooks and items being destroyed. We have consistently heard about Special Branch being a force within a force and now it appears that Werc was unit within a unit. Notorious killer Billy Wright and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned about Ms Mallon’s murder but no-one has ever been convicted. Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch, who sits on the Stormont justice committee and is a Mallon family friend, said: “It is obvious that the British state is covering up, delaying and prevaricating on vital evidence – particularly around ballistics.” The inquest has now been adjourned until May to allow the HET to complete its investigation into 24 murders in the East Tyone area between 1988 and 1994 – including Ms Mallon’s murder.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.


National Hunger Strike Commemoration 2012

    • Sunday, 5 August 2012
    • 14:00 until 18:00
  • Dungiven Co. Derry
  • Join us for the 31st annual Hunger Strike Commemorative march and rally which takes place this year in Dungiven Co. Derry at 2PM. Main speaker Michelle O’Neill MLA.


POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Public event · By National Hunger Strike Commemoration 2012


POW fundraising weekend

    • Friday, 6 July 2012
    • 10:00
  • Fermanaghcavan Csm in conjunction with IRPWA will be holding a fundraiser weekend in support of the POWs in the Emerald Bar Bundoran on the 6th and 7th of july . Garryowen are playing on the friday night and Erin Go Bragh will be playing the Saturday night. The cover chargeis 5 euro and will cover both nights, there will also be a raffle of crafts on both nights.Tickets will be available from your local cumann or in the emerald bar. All proceeds will go to POWs, come out and show your support for the POWs.Beir Bua
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Invite-Only Event · By Fermanaghcavan Csm

Milenry fascinator workshop !

Milenry fascinator workshop

    • Saturday, 16 June 2012
    • 17:00
  • Learn how to be Crafty and fashionable all at once with our 2 hour fascinator class, learn how to embellish , feather ,bedazzle your very own fascinator to your own taste. Class now only €50 . Pm us for more details or visit

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Friend’s Event · By Lorna DalyDesign
Hi, please pass these links on to friends as I am currently trying to generate interest in this brand and design school! If you could share this page on your Facebook page or pm the links to some friends I will be very grateful! Keep up to date with our pages over the next few months as we will be updating them daily with fashion trends, icons and style tips! Look out also for competitions and if you’re interested in sponsoring a competition then get in touch with me via email at: We will be updating our blog on a regular basis so I will be sending on a link to this in a few days time! Thanks a million! The team at When Poppy Met Daisy! Stay tuned! Best wishes! xxx and





James Connolly Day will begin with a march that will assemble at Whiterock Leisure centre at 3:30pm and march to Clondara St, where a striking mural of James and Nora Connollywill be unveiled, followed by a rally addressed by prominent speakers.Refreshments and folk music will then be provided in O’Donnell’s GAC where a local historianwill give a talk on the life of Connolly.This is a non political party event, all groups are welcome……..
POSTED ON BEHALF OF :   James Connolly Béal Feirste

The Rebel Shamrock Festival

Shamrock-Festival Rebel

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Public event · By Shamrock-Festival RebelPeter Campbell and 4 others

Bomb disposal call-outs at highest level since 1979

Call-outs for Army bomb disposal teams last year were the highest in more than 30 years, new figures show.

The Army was called out 237 times last year to deal with suspected explosive devices, the largest number since 1979.

A large increase in callouts came during visits by Queen Elizabeth and US president Barack Obama. Fifty-eight of the devices discovered were deemed to be viable explosives.

The devices found include improvised mortars, often large devices capable of firing an explosive gas cylinder known as “barrack busters”, while rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and pipe bombs were also discovered by the specialised unit.

So far this year the Army has been called out 91 times and has dealt with some 32 viable explosive devices.

A total of 31 of the call-outs in 2012 were deemed hoaxes or false alarms.

“Last year was the highest number of call-outs since 1979. The number of viable improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2010 was 49 but this belies the spectrum of devices including improvised mortars, explosive components, RPGs and other IEDs dealt with by the teams that year,” the spokesman said.


Tonight Friday 25th at 9pm you are being asked to repeatedly submit comments

    • email address

    • 21:00
  • Due to Edna Kenny`s state-of-the-nation style address on the treaty this Sunday night at 5.50pm and the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Killarney this weekend
    with Gerry Adams’s Address on Saturday televised on RTÉ1 at 5:30pm.
    Tonight Friday 25th at 9pm you are being asked to repeatedly submit comments to
    The site only requires a valid email address.
    Open multiple browser tabs and have a selection of email addresses this will multiply the numbers.
    Systematically submit any comment using each email address per tab repeatedly for a period of 20 minutes.
    If enough people are prepared to do this it will overload the website server and the site will crash.


POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Event for Email en mass the website of the Department of an Taoiseach comment section · By Debate Ireland

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