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CV90: History, modifications, operators. Ukrainian prospective

CV90: History, modifications, operators. Ukrainian prospective

Володимир Б. Володимир Б.
Armored vehicles Europe IFV Military assistance Procurement Sweden Ukraine

Ukraine plans to purchase 1000 CV9030 IFVs, according to Czech media. Before it, they reported on the intentions of the Ukrainian government to acquire armored vehicles, together with Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It was the Swedish CV90 that won the tenders in these two European countries. At the same time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine already have these vehicles in the CV9040 version in their arsenal. Thus, information about cooperation in the procurement of the Swedish IFV looks logical. On this occasion, Militarnyi decided to remind our readers of the history and specs of the CV90, and we’ll try to assess the feasibility of such a large-scale purchase.

History of development

The CV90 (Swedish: Stridsfordon 90) infantry fighting vehicle was developed on the order of the Swedish ground forces by Hägglunds (now owned by BAE Systems) and Bofors. Development began after the adoption by the Swedish Defense Department in 1977 of a resolution that opened the way for widespread mechanization of the army. At that time, Sweden needed a new IFV capable of fighting tanks, low-flying aerial targets, and having a high level of survivability.

The creation of its own vehicle started with a detailed study of foreign experience. The joint venture of Hägglunds and Bofors, HB Utveckling AB, took up research on new military vehicles. It was focused on analyzing the layout of various armored vehicles in different weight categories, ranging from 8 tons and above.

In the late 1970s, the studied vehicles became heavier. They were “gaining weight” due to a growing need for a larger payload, both in weight and volume.

On the other hand, the developers had to create a vehicle that was suitable for use in the north of Sweden. That required vehicles’ capability to pass through deep snow and swamps.

In the early 1980s, the researchers focused on vehicles capable of penetrating the sides of modern tanks while at the same time transporting rifle units from eight soldiers.

The weapons studied were in the range of 25mm-60mm calibers. The vehicle was supposed to fight helicopters and low-flying aircraft. That forced researchers to pay special attention to Bofors 40mm and 57mm caliber guns. The 40mm turret for the two soldiers had a weight and volume similar to those of the IKB 91 turret.

Since the vehicle was also supposed to carry eight soldiers, that inevitably led to an increase in its weight. The purpose of the design study was to reduce the weight to 20 tons (later exceeded anyway).

Approximately 500 requirements were defined as a result of the studies. They determined the technical characteristics that the future IFV should have to meet. In addition, a seven-item development priority list was drawn up in the following order:

  1. High mobility.
  2. Ability to hit tanks.
  3. Air defense capability.
  4. Survivability and protection.
  5. Strategic mobility.
  6. Easy to maintain.
  7. Development potential.

At the design stage, several bench models were created for testing the chassis and weapons. During its creation, a number of solutions were rejected that simplified and reduced the cost of the vehicle.

Five prototypes were created that had different weapon configurations.

Intensive testing was conducted in 1988-1991. Mass production began in 1993. The first production vehicle rolled off the production line on November 1, 1993.

Characteristics of the basic version

The weight of the vehicle, depending on its version, ranges from 23-38 tons; its length can be up to 6.8 meters, width is 3.8 meters; and its height is 2.8 meters.

The crew consists of a commander, gunner, and driver. The landing troops, depending on the version, range from 6 to 8 people.

The engine is a 14 L diesel Scania DS14 or a 16 L diesel DC1 with 550 to 1000 horsepower.

The range off-road is 320 kilometers; by road, it is 900 kilometers, and the maximum speed is up to 70 kilometers per hour.

The hull of the fighting vehicle, made of armored steel, can withstand shelling from a 30mm automatic gun in the front projection and circular firing from a KPVT 14.5-mm machine gun. Such armor makes the vehicle one of the most protected among its competitors on the armaments market.

Swedish modifications

Stridsfordon (Strf) 9040 (SB1A3) is the basic model, equipped with a Bofors 40mm automatic gun. It can carry up to eight soldiers. Since November 1997, the gun has been gyrostabilized. Versions are designated by A, B, or C, depending on the version. All versions, starting with the A, remain in service.

The Strf 9040 is the original factory version without gun stabilization or Liran mortar. Changes were made during production of this version, so all vehicles were upgraded to the Strf9040A standard.

The Strf 9040A is a version that was modernized due to significant changes in the chassis and external stabilization of the gun. Due to changes in layout, the number of troops decreased from eight to seven.

The Strf 9040B is an updated version with improved weapons. Those are, in particular, new fire control software, an electric firing pin, a fully stabilized gun with internal stabilization and a spare sight with a video camera for the gunner, improved suspension for better fire accuracy, and crew comfort while driving.

The Strf 9040B1 is the Strf 9040B modified for international peacekeeping missions. It has climate control and anti-fragment protection.

The Strf 9040C is a version for crew training and conducting international operations. Like version 9040B1, it has additional protection and climate control. Due to the large dimensions and weight, it was decided to reduce the number of troops from eight to six.

The Luftvärnskanonvagn (lvkv) 9040. This is an anti-aircraft vehicle equipped with PS-95 radar by Thomson CSF Harfang (now Thales Group) and a 40mm automatic gun capable of using programmable rounds.

The Granatkastarpansarbandvagn (Grkpbv) 90 is equipped with two 120mm mortars.

The Stridsledningspansarbandvagn (Stripbv) 90 is a mobile command post used at battalion and brigade levels.

The Störpansarbandvagn (Störpbv) 90 is an EW vehicle with a LEMUR station; the project has been frozen since 2002.

The Strf 90120/CV90120-T is a light tank demonstrator armed with a CTG 120/L50 gun developed by RUAG. The 120mm gun is smoothbore, 50 calibers long, and has a rate of fire of 12–14 rounds per minute. Twelve shots of the first stage are stored in the tower, and another 33 are stored in the rear of the hull.

The Stridsfordon 9040/56 is a prototype version of the CV9040 equipped with a Bofors RB56 anti-tank missile. It had aiming sight issues, which were not solved. The project was frozen.

Export variants

Export versions are supplied to customers with BAE Systems Hägglunds E-series turrets with armament range of 30-120mm. Most of the 600 turrets delivered are equipped with 30mm or 35mm guns.

The CV9030 is an export version with a Bushmaster II 30mm automatic gun. It’s adopted by Norway, Switzerland and Finland. In BAE Systems Hägglunds, the original version of the Norwegian CV9030N is known as the CV90 Mk I. The Finnish CV9030FIN and Swiss CV9030CH are known as the CV90 Mk II. The CV90 Mk II is also available as a COM CV9030 – Command & Control Vehicle. The newly upgraded infantry combat, command & control and reconnaissance vehicles CV9030N are known as the CV90 Mk IIIb for Norway, this is the most modern variant currently in service.

CV9035 is a version armed with a Bushmaster III 35/50 gun. It’s adopted in the Netherlands as CV9035NL and in Denmark as a CV9035DK. In the BAE Systems Hägglunds classification, CV9035 is known as CV90 Mk III.

CV90105 is a light tank with a 105mm rifled tank gun. Developed by Hägglunds (BAE Systems) and GIAT (Nexter). The newer version has a Cockerill XC-8 turret.

CV90120-T is a light tank equipped with a tank turret with a smoothbore 120mm gun (RUAG).

CV90 CZ is an export variant developed in collaboration with VOP CZ, for the Czech Republic.

CV90 CZr is an export version developed in cooperation with VOP CZ, with an unmanned remote-controlled Kongsberg MCT-30 turret, a slightly raised hull, and a periscope system.

Armadillo is an armored personnel carrier made on the modular chassis of the CV90 Mk III. The CV90 Armadillo can be supplied as an armored personnel carrier, sanitary vehicle, command and control vehicle, or armored recovery vehicle. Currently, only the APC version is in operation; five units have been delivered to Denmark for trials.

CV90RWS STING is an engineering variant developed on the chassis of the CV90 Mk I. This vehicle can be equipped with mine trawls or a robotic manipulator; 28 units were ordered by the Norwegian Army.

CV90RWS Multi BK is a variant of the self-propelled mortar developed on the chassis of the CV90 Mk I. The vehicle is armed with a VingPos Mortar Weapon System with a L16A2 81mm mortar; 24 vehicles were ordered by the Norwegian Army.

The CV90 Mk IV, the upgraded version by BAE, was introduced in January 2018 and is sold in the Czech Republic. It is also sold to current customers as an upgrade package. The vehicle has a new Scania engine with a capacity of up to 1000 horsepower, a Perkins X300 transmission, and a payload increased to 2 tons. The vehicle is equipped with a BAE iFighting system, which claims to improve situational awareness, help make decisions, improve ergonomics, and also help manage situational awareness.

CV9035NL MLU

On January 13, 2021, the Defence Supply Organisation (DMO) of the Armed Forces of the Netherlands signed a contract with BAE Systems Hägglunds for a medium-term upgrade of 128 CV90 vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Army, with an option for another 19 vehicles.

The MLU project involved a wide range of upgrades and improvements. The turret was completely redesigned and equipped with a new gun, a 500-mm retractable electro-optical sensor on the mast, Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist LD (Light Decoupled) active protection system, an FN MAG machine gun, and a twin launcher for Spike LII anti-tank guided missiles.

In addition, the CV90 will be equipped with rubber tracks, upgraded cooling, various cybersecurity improvements, and an updated command and control infrastructure. The construction of new towers will be carried out by the Dutch company Van Halteren Defence.

Operators

Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Ukraine, and Estonia became operators of IFVs In addition to Sweden.

For its own CV 9040C IFV, Sweden uses AMAP armored modules by the German company IBD Deisenroth Engineering. They provide protection from a 30 mm armor-piercing feathered projectile. In total, Sweden has 549 IFVs.

In addition to the mounted passive armor modules for the hull and turret, the AMAP protective kit includes anti-mine protection located on the bottom of the armored hull, as well as anti-puncture padding in the combat compartment.

Norway modernized the protection immediately when buying a CV 9030N machine, installing MEXAS mounted armor. The country has 144 CV9030N.

Denmark acquired the MEXAS mounted armor kit, supplementing it with the Barracuda camouflage system and L-ROD armor kit for its CV 9035 MKIII modification. Denmark has a total of 45 CV9035DK.

The Dutch CV9035 Mk III has mounted armor kits by RUAG Land Systems. The Netherlands purchased 184 sets of RoofPRO-P horizontal projection mounted protection modules and 100 sets of SidePro vehicle side mounted modules. After the sale of 44 BMPs to Estonia and the loss of some vehicles in Afghanistan, 132 CV9035s remained in service with the country.

Switzerland has 186 CV9030CH in service and Finland has 102 CV9030FIN.

Future operators

The Slovak Army and BAE Systems Hägglunds signed a €1.3 billion contract to acquire 152 CV90 MkIV IFVs on December 12, 2022.

The contract includes 122 IFV versions armed with 35mm automatic cannon and SPIKE-LR anti-tank guided missiles, as well as the Iron Fist active defense system.

Other versions ordered by the Slovak Army include command & control and armor repair vehicles based on the CV90.

On May 24, 2023, BAE Systems Hägglunds and the Czech military signed a contract worth $2.2 billion to purchase 246 CV90 MkIV infantry fighting vehicles in seven different versions.

Negotiations on new infantry fighting vehicles have been coordinated with Slovakia, which has also recently chosen the CV90 Mk IV.

СV90 in Ukraine

Sweden provides Ukraine with 51 CV9040C as part of the assistance. The Ukrainian personnel training, according to the Swedish newspaper Expressen, was supposed to end at the end of May.

Last week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced the signing of a declaration with Czech and Slovak colleagues, Jana Černochová and Martin Shklenar, on cooperation in the purchase and operation of СV90 infantry fighting vehicles.

Ukraine has expressed interest in acquiring more than 1,000 of these IFVs, the estimated value of the contract could reach an astronomical figure of 10 billion euros.
If these vehicles are equipped with modern units, a platoon will need 3-4 IFVs. In this case, they can be equipped with up to 15 brigades.

The question also arises regarding the localization of production for such an IFV in Ukraine. The manufacturer itself has produced approximately 1,400 units since 1993, and it is unknown whether the existing production facilities of BAE Hägglunds will be able to handle such an order.

Wrapping up, we can say that CV90 is a vehicle that got rid of “childhood diseases” due to its long history of operation and modernization by many European countries. Arming mechanized units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with such IFVs would incredibly strengthen the Ukrainian army.

We can see the strengths and weaknesses of this vehicle in the near future on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Armored vehicles Europe IFV Military assistance Procurement Sweden Ukraine