BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH have secured new contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to extend the lifespan of the Challenger 2 tank.
The firms have won agreements worth £23 million each to develop upgrades to the Challenger 2 - the Army's main battle tank - that will enable it to remain in service until 2035.
Challenger 2 has been in service since 1998 and has been used in conflicts around the world, notably the operations in Iraq during the 2000s. The MOD is now keen to update the tank, taking advantage of the latest advances in electronics, computing and sight optics.
Both firms now enter an assessment phase, following which they will present their solutions to the MOD, before entering the demonstration and manufacture phases.
Harriet Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, described the challenger as "crucial" to the British Army.
"Modernising the British Army’s Main Battle Tank under the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project involves partnerships across Defence exploring innovative solutions," she explained.