The first British-made Challenger 2 was destroyed in Ukraine, with the advanced main battle tank captured on video in flames, allegedly somewhere in the Zaporizhzhia region near the front.
The footage of the burning tank has been widely shared on social media, and given that only 14 such tanks were sent to Ukraine, the tank’s loss could serve as a morale blow to Ukrainian forces. However, there are reports that the crew survived.
Drone footage also confirmed the destruction of the tank, which showed other burnt-out Ukrainian vehicles in the vicinity.
The destruction of the Challenger 2 is also of particular significance because none of the tanks has been destroyed in combat since it was first deployed in 1994, although there have been instances in Iraq of “friendly fire.” This is due in part to its low production numbers and infrequent deployment, The Guardian points out.
While the United Kingdom has given 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, it is not clear how often they are used. Britain still has some 213 Challenger 2s, of which 157 are ready for deployment. The only country other than Ukraine and the U.K. to use this type of tank is Oman.
Ukraine has also suffered a number of losses of German-made Leopard 2 tanks, but it received these vehicles in far higher numbers than the Challenger 2.