Once the Chieftain’s superior armour was deemed incapable of absorbing modern high-penetrating kinetic and shape charge rounds, British engineers came up with a solution to remedy this issue and keep the Chieftain in service for a decade longer. Equipped with the Stillbrew armour package, the Chieftain Mk.10 is ready to be deployed as Great Britain’s first rank VI vehicle in War Thunder’s upcoming update 1.71 “New E.R.A.”!
As the new Challenger I tank was phased into service with Britain’s ground forces in the mid 1980s, the decision was made to further upgrade the Chieftain main battle tank to extend its capabilities and service life. Although the Chieftain had already undergone several changes throughout its life by receiving upgrades to mobility, reliability, electronics etc, no modification attempted to further improve the Chieftain’s good armour protection. However, with the increased usage of modern high-penetration sub-calibre kinetic and shaped charge rounds, an upgrade to the Chieftain’s armour was more emphasized than ever.
In the mid 1980s, Chieftain Mk.9’s received a substantial upgrade in armour protection in the shape of the Stillbrew armour package, and were subsequently redesignated to Chieftain Mk.10. Modernising already existing Chieftain hulls with the Stillbrew protection package was done over time, whilst future newly built hulls would receive it as standard. Thanks to the Stillbrew protection package, the Chieftain’s service life was extended by several years, allowing it to serve with the British army well into the ‘90s, until it was finally retired in 1995.
In War Thunder, the Chieftain Mk.10 will extend the British MBT line into the brand new rank VI, moving the British into a whole new era of modern warfare. By the time the Chieftain had reached its 8th modification, it became apparent that the Chieftain’s armour protection was no longer adequate to absorb modern high-penetrating rounds. Thus, the decision was made to mount an additional applique armour protection package onto the Chieftain’s turret front to increase its effectiveness against incoming high-penetrating kinetic projectiles. The applique armour package, designated Stillbrew, offered an additional layer of protection by increasing the total effective armour thickness of the Chieftain’s turret front up to 450 mm.
The Stillbrew armour package consisted of five steel plates, each of which was held in place by steel pins, preventing detachment of the steel plates from the vehicle after a hit. Thin rubber layers between the plates assisted in holding the plates in place, as well as additionally damping the force of impact, created by an incoming projectile by a small margin. Although the rubber layers offered no increase in effective armour protection, they did, however, act as spacing between the plates, effectively creating spaced armour. This additional armour solution offered increased protection against high-velocity kinetic rounds, whilst only incrementally increasing effectiveness against shaped charge rounds. Individual sections of the Stillbrew package were able to sustain up to two direct hits, before decreased structural integrity would eventually lead to the plates breaking off from the vehicle. Once the Stillbrew kit was applied to the vehicle, it exercised a negative influence on the vehicle’s mobility due to the added weight of 2.2 tonnes.
Thanks to the Stillbrew armour protection package, future commanders of the Chieftain Mk.10 can expect to confidently slip behind the controls of the vehicle without having to reacquire any lessons learned from playing the previous two models already in game, whilst still retaining excellent protection against incoming fire, especially when positioned in a hull-down position. The British warlord, along with its shiny new armour, is ready to join the brand new sixth rank in War Thunder’s upcoming update 1.71 “New E.R.A”! See you there!