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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Ukraine wants more ‘cool’ CV90s on the front lines

Aug 25, 2023

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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Ukraine’s current counteroffensive strategy depends on good infantry fighting vehicles. U.S.-supplied Bradley IFVs are nothing to shake a stick at, but the Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 may be in a class of its own.

The Stridsfordon, or combat vehicle, is manufactured by BAE Systems Hägglunds. Ukraine already has at least 50 in its inventory.

However, that number is likely to increase dramatically in the future, since Ukraine and Sweden now have a deal in place for Ukraine to produce CV90s domestically. It’s a deal similar to the one Ukraine struck with Rheinmetall, which SAN reported on previously. Initially, the facility will be used to repair and maintain the vehicles with plans to expand to full-scale production.

CV90s are tracked vehicles and they come in 15 different variants. The newest iteration of the CV90, the MkIV, has a 1000-horsepower diesel engine and a gross vehicle weight of 37 tons.

The CV90 IFV makes up the majority of CV90 variants in use. The CV90 IFV features a modular turret design, and can be made to carry a 30-, 40-, or 50-mm cannon.

But sometimes you need a bigger gun. This is why the designers of the CV90 wanted to make sure the platform could also handle a turret that fires NATO standard 120 mm smooth bore ammunition.

The CV90 Armadillo doesn’t have a turret. The absence of a large main gun allows the Armadillo to be configured in other ways, like being a mobile mortar launcher.

If cannons and mortars won’t get the job done, the CV90 can also be equipped with either the Akeron Land & Naval Combat Missile from French manufacturer MBDA, or the Israeli-made Spike long range air to ground missile.

When it comes to tech, the CV90s lead the pack in many ways. The integrated observation and targeting systems enhance the crew’s ability to engage aerial threats like drones or incoming projectiles.

Real-time data sharing also allows for increased situational awareness between battlefield assets. That’s helpful if you want your buddies in the next vehicle to watch your back.

Defensively, the CV90s Ukraine wants can take a punch. They’re not indestructible, but even when they take direct hits crew survivability remains high.

The CV90 basic armor package provides protection against 14.5 mm armor piercing rounds. The front of the vehicle is said to protect against 30 mm sabot rounds.

Of course, you can’t hit what you can’t see. BAE Systems Hägglunds developed a special camouflage system for the CV90 called Adaptiv.

Using lightweight metal pixels, the system renders the vehicle invisible to infra-red and other surveillance systems. The Adaptiv camouflage system was designed to be manageable in the battlefield. So, if a pixel is damaged, it can easily be traded out.

On the whole, it’s not hard to understand why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called CV90s “cool” and “just what are needed at the front lines.” After signing the agreement to produce the armored vehicles in Ukraine, Zelenskyy told reporters, “Everything powerful that serves us now, we must localize and produce. We will do so.”

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UKRAINE’S CURRENT COUNTER OFFENSIVE STRATEGY DEPENDS ON GOOD INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES. U.S.-SUPPLIED BRADLEYS ARE NOTHING TO SHAKE A STICK AT, BUT THE SWEDISH-MADE STRIDSFORDON 90 MAY BE IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN.

 

THE STRIDSFORDON, OR COMBAT VEHICLE, 90 IS MANUFACTURED BY BAE SYSTEMS HÄGGLUNDS. UKRAINE ALREADY HAS AT LEAST 50 IN ITS INVENTORY.

 

THAT NUMBER IS LIKELY TO INCREASE DRAMATICALLY IN THE FUTURE, THOUGH, BECAUSE UKRAINE AND SWEDEN NOW HAVE A DEAL IN PLACE FOR UKRAINE TO PRODUCE CV90S DOMESTICALLY. IT’S A DEAL SIMILAR TO THE ONE UKRAINE STRUCK WITH RHEINMETALL. WE REPORTED ON THAT DEAL BEFORE.

 

CV90S ARE TRACKED VEHICLES AND THEY COME IN 15 DIFFERENT VARIANTS. THE NEWEST ITERATION OF THE CV90, THE MkIV, HAS A 1000 HORSEPOWER DIESEL ENGINE AND A GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT OF 37 TONS. THE CV90 IFV MAKES UP THE MAJORITY OF CV90 VARIANTS IN USE TODAY, AND FEATURES A 30-, 40-, OR 50-MM CANNON.

 

BUT SOMETIMES YOU NEED A BIGGER GUN, WHICH IS WHY THE DESIGNERS OF THE CV90 WANTED TO MAKE SURE THE PLATFORM COULD ALSO HANDLE A TURRET THAT FIRES NATO STANDARD 120 MM SMOOTH BORE AMMUNITION.

 

THE CV90 ARMADILLO DOESN’T HAVE A TURRET WHICH ALLOWS IT TO BE CONFIGURED IN OTHER WAYS, LIKE BEING A MOBILE MORTAR LAUNCHER.

 

IF CANNONS AND MORTARS WON’T GET THE JOB DONE, THE CV90 CAN ALSO BE EQUIPPED WITH EITHER THE AKERON LAND & NAVAL COMBAT MISSILE OR THE SPIKE LONG RANGE AIR TO GROUND MISSILE.

 

WHEN IT COMES TO TECH, THE CV90S ARE LEADING THE PACK IN MANY WAYS. THE INTEGRATED OBSERVATION AND TARGETING SYSTEMS ENHANCES THE CREWS ABILITY TO ENGAGE AERIAL THREATS LIKE DRONES OR INCOMING PROJECTILES. REAL-TIME DATA SHARING ALSO ALLOWS FOR INCREASED SITUATIONAL AWARENESS BETWEEN BATTLEFIELD ASSETS. THAT’S HELPFUL IF YOU WANT YOUR BUDDIES IN THE NEXT VEHICLE TO WATCH YOUR BACK

 

DEFENSIVELY, THE CV90S CAN TAKE A PUNCH. THEY’RE NOT INDESTRUCTIBLE, BUT EVEN WHEN THEY TAKE DIRECT HITS CREW SURVIVABILITY REMAINS HIGH. THE CV90 BASIC ARMOR PROVIDES PROTECTION AGAINST 14.5 MM ARMOR PIERCING ROUNDS. THE FRONT OF THE VEHICLE IS SAID TO PROTECT AGAINST 30 MM SABOT ROUNDS.

 

OF COURSE, YOU CAN’T HIT WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE. BAE SYSTEMS HÄGGLUNDS DEVELOPED A SPECIAL CAMOUFLAGE SYSTEM FOR THE CV90 CALLED ADAPTIV. USING LIGHTWEIGHT METAL PIXELS, THE SYSTEM RENDERS THE VEHICLE INVISIBLE TO INFRA-RED AND OTHER SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS. SINCE THE SYSTEM WAS DESIGNED TO BE MANAGEABLE IN THE BATTLEFIELD, IF A PIXEL IS DAMAGED, IT CAN EASILY BE TRADED OUT.

 

ON THE WHOLE, IT’S NOT HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHY UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY CALLED CV90S “COOL” AND “JUST WHAT ARE NEEDED AT THE FRONTLINES.”

 

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