Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank (MBT)
The Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank design was born from the aborted Iranian Shir 2 Main Battle Tank initiative following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The original combat "tank" was born out of the fighting that was World War 1. However, these were hardly representative of the vehicles that we know today to be "Main Battle Tanks". Within time, the "lozenge-shaped" vehicles of the First World War evolved to include cannon armament fitted to traversing turrets (the French FT-17 being a prime example) and less crew to manage the various required functions of the vehicle. It was not until World War 2 that armored warfare truly came into its own, beginning an "arms race" of sorts concerning tanks between world powers that ultimately produced the excellent Soviet T-34 Medium Tank and German Panther series as well as the notable American M4 Sherman and, ultimately, the late-war American M26 Pershing and British Centurion tanks. However, it was the Centurion that truly laid the foundation for the "main battle tank" category, ultimately being responsible for doing away with specifically-built tanks in the light, medium and heavy weight range classes. The MBT could now accomplish all of what was required in preceding designs.
The Centurion went on to become a post-war success story which saw thousands built and included various derivatives. By the time of the 1960s, there was a technological change in the wind and this produced the impressive Chieftain MBT for the British Army. The Chieftain became another excellent British tank design and this form mounted a reliable multi-fueled engine as well as a powerful and highly accurate 120mm main gun. If the Chieftain held any limitations it was in her engine which was never able to fully realize her output. Regardless, the Chieftain proved the most powerful tank of her time - a tremendous blend of armor and firepower at the cost of speed - that is until seated by the equally excellent German Leopard 2.