Thales UK has made public that it is supplying its Catherine MP Thermal Imaging (TI) camera as a replacement for the legacy TI camera installed in the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) Thermal Sighting System (TSS), which is mounted externally above the BAE Systems 120 mm L30A1 gun.
The project is carried out through the Thermal Imager Sustainment Program (TISP), which seeks to upgrade the TI subsystems in order to keep Challenger 2 active until the Challenger 2 Life Extension Program (LEP) is up and running in about five years.
Based on the latest IR cooled technology, the Thales Catherine family of high-definition thermal imaging cameras is the most comprehensive range of its kind on the world market today.
The different models in the family offer the perfect combination of features and functions for long-range day / night target acquisition, fire control and surveillance applications on land, sea and air platforms, even under the most extreme conditions.
The TSS is currently using the Thermal Imaging Standard Module (TICM).
According to Thales UK, RBSL has awarded the 1st phase development contract to Thales UK, which includes two systems that were deployed in Challenger 2 MBTs less than 16 months after the contract was awarded.
According to the company, the two Challenger 2 TIPS have undergone a series of tests with the Armored Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) in Bovington, Southern England and Castle Martin for consumer acceptance testing and software performance testing.
The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Centre and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have recently jointly tested a new prototype of a semi autonomous logistic convoy.
Thermal imaging cameras offer many advantages, not only in military field operations, but in a whole host of circumstances where day-to-night flexibility is critical to mission success.
Thales UK is currently delivering Catherine TI cameras to enable RBSL field support engineers to convert existing Challenger 2 MBTs deployed in Northern Europe, said Thales UK.
The development authority for Challenger 2 MBT and its versions is Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) in Telford, a joint venture between Germany’s Rheinmetall (55 per cent) and BAE Systems Land UK (45 per cent).