Alliance Chieftain owners looking for a similar ship with extra firepower and durability are offered the Alliance Challenger. The Challenger replaces one Class 3 slot with two additional Class 2 slots, increasing its overall damage in combat. It also retains the same manoeuvrability as the Chieftain, giving it the ability to keep its aim on target and evade fire. The Challenger's real power lies in its increased shield and armour, which, combined with its mobility, makes it a very difficult target to defeat. The additional internal compartment of the Class 6 allows the Challenger to carry a much larger shield pod, increasing its defensive power immensely. You have to pay for this in terms of speed, but once you get the 'A' rating the difference between the Challenger and the Chieftain is about 15m/s, and with the engineering modifications the difference becomes even smaller. Basic manoeuvrability is identical, though pitch and yaw speeds are slightly lower. The Challenger is quite capable of taking out any other mediumship, and even large ships like the Anaconda are easy to defeat thanks to its high mobility and damage output. These characteristics also make it a powerful choice for hunting down Targoid vessels.
The Alliance Challenger has an increased payload of 154 tonnes compared to the 122 tonne Chieftain. This makes the Challenger a worthy merchant and pirate, as only the Federal Gunship, Krait Mk II, Krait Phantom and Python are ahead of it in payload. It can also make a very good prospector, as it has ample sockets for all the necessary gear and decent cargo space. Its high hull strength and military compartments make it easy to defend itself without a shield.
The only real drawback to the Challenger, aside from its higher cost compared to the Chieftain, is its jump range, which is just under 24Sv before any engineering modifications are required. Since the Challenger is best suited to hull ramming, its jump range will only be reduced if it is equipped with armour, which can negatively affect its travel time to relatively distant battle sites.
The sockets on the Challenger are almost identical to those on the Chieftain, although it has replaced the uppermost Class 3 socket with two Class 2 sockets located just behind the front chassis. The external gear cells are well distributed and have minimal obstructions, with two at the top approximately in the middle of the ship and two at the bottom, slightly further to the rear. Like the Chieftain, the Challenger has a second Multicrew crew seat.
Although the Challenger is more expensive to upgrade than the Chieftain, it is still considerably cheaper than a number of other medium ships such as the Federal Gunship, Krait Mk II, Python and Fer-de-Lance, and is still able to defeat each of these ships in a firefight.
The Alliance Challenger is most often found in Alliance systems. Despite its name and affiliation, it requires no rank or reputation within the Alliance to purchase.