PARIS — CMI Defence has become is the second company to announce it’s teaming a partnership arrangements to compete for the British Army’s upcoming life extension program for the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.

The Belgian weapon systems designer and manufacturer said it is teaming with British systems integrator Ricardo UK to respond to a request for information issued by the Ministry of Defence.

CFM will act as prime, with Ricardo acting as systems engineering and delivery partner.

Earlier this month, BAE Systems, and General Dynamics UK and several suppliers announced they were teaming partnering to address the requirement to keep the tank in service until 2035, ten 10 years longer than expected.

The British are primarily looking to address obsolescence issues in the turret rather than provide new capabilities.

CMI officials said they had were also been in discussion with Babcock International over a possible role for the company.

Babcock acquired the state-owned Defence Support Group last year. The company maintains and overhauls many of the Britsh Army’s armoured vehicles, including the Challenger 2.

Other contractors had previously reported the Ggovernment was encouraging bidders to engage with Babcock.

Swiss contractor RUAG, Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall have also confirmed they intend their intent to bid for the program, although none of them have yet revealed their intended partners or supplier line-ups.  

CFM's teaming plan was one of two announcements the company made June 14.

The Belgian company said it had struck a deal with Hanwha Defense Systems for the South Korean company to produce 200 Cockerill 3000 Series turret shells.

Deliveries start late this year and run until early 2020, said CMI Defence.

The shells will have weapons and other system integrated by CMI. The turrets are destined for an unnamed Middle East customer following a multi-year contract signed in 2014.

The Hanwha deal complements CMI's own production capacities in Belgium and France.