BAE Systems has introduced the latest evolution in its progressive development of battle tanks: the “Black Night,” so called for its advanced night-vision technology and night-fighting capabilities. The tank’s weapon systems include two independent night-vision systems, allowing a gunner to track one target while a tank commander simultaneously identifies additional targets.
The tank’s advanced weapons systems include many upgrades, including laser- and missile-based protection systems, thermal imaging, and regenerative power sourcing. The tank is viewed by the company as the latest generation of the British Army’s Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.
The Black Night tank was designed and manufactured at BAE’s combat vehicles hub in the West Midlands as part of the company’s Team Challenger 2 tank advancement efforts. It incorporates active protection systems which detect incoming anti-tank missiles and launch counter-explosive devices to neutralize those missiles.
Laser warning systems help manage defensive actions, identifying the source of a threat and then automatically slewing the tank’s gun to point at the source or the incoming threats to speed response times. Regenerative braking systems in the turret generate power when the gun is moved into firing position. Thermal imaging systems incorporate front and rear infrared (IR) cameras to providing night-time imaging to identify threats and speed reaction times.
“The UK is home to some of the world’s finest engineering companies, who have pushed the boundaries of combat vehicle design with Black Night,” said Simon Jackson, campaign leader for the Team Challenger 2 Systems at BAE. “We are providing the bulk of this upgrade from home soil.
“However, we have chosen the best defense companies from around the world to collaborate with also, including names from Canada, France, and Germany who bring unique skills and proven technology,” he added. “The British Army has our commitment that we will deliver the most capable upgrade possible, and the best value for money.”
The Black Night provides a significant upgrade to the Challenger 2 tank, which was built by BAE Systems in the 1990s, and which served in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.