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UK no longer able to manufacture large-calibre gun barrels, BAE Systems admits

8th June 2023 - 16:00 GMT | by Christopher F Foss in London


The Challenger 2 MBT is armed with a 120mm L30 rifled tank gun which was made at ROF Nottingham which closed some years ago. (Photo: author)

The UK may need to cannibalise stored Challenger tanks and AS90 howitzers to source replacement barrels for platforms sent to Ukraine as no manufacturing capability currently exists.

While great emphasis is being placed on NATO supplying Ukraine with armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and massive amounts of ammunition and other equipment, little thought has been given to the supply of replacement barrels for these systems.

In peacetime these vehicles and artillery systems fire very few rounds, not only to save money but also due to the introduction of simulation and static trainers, so they have a long life.

The life of a barrel is dictated by the type and number of rounds fired. For a rifled tank gun, for example, this life is around 500 rounds after which

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Christopher F Foss


Christopher F Foss

Christopher F Foss is an internationally recognised authority on armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and other weapon systems, …

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