Armor: CV90 Evolves and Endures


September 12, 2023: Sweden and Ukraine have signed an agreement to jointly produce the Swedish CV90 IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) in Ukraine. Sweden has provided Ukraine with nearly $2 billion worth of weapons and military equipment since the Russians invaded. This is a substantial effort for a nation of ten million. Yet Sweden is an affluent country, with a GDP of $600 billion a year and per capita income of $55,300. This puts Sweden in the top 20 most affluent nations in the world. Despite its small population, Sweden is a major developer and producer of modern weapons, including infantry weapons, jet fighters, armored vehicles, artillery, air defense systems, warships and submarines. There are several reasons for its relatively large arms industry. Sweden is an industrialized nation that has been neutral for two centuries despite being close, geographically, to Germany and Russia, two nations that were major instigators and participants in the major wars of the last century. Maintaining that neutrality has not been easy. For example, Sweden recently sought to join NATO, which nearly all NATO members saw as a good thing. Getting into NATO has been blocked by Turkey, which is demanding that Sweden must first extradite to Turkey Turkish Kurd separatists. Turkey was one of the original NATO members because it needed help in dealing with Russian aggression. Now Turkey cooperates with Russia, its ancient enemy and feuds with its fellow NATO members. Sweden is persistent and patient but is very stubborn about protecting refugees it has accepted.

Russia is losing its war in Ukraine and suffering economically from sanctions imposed because it started that war by invading Ukraine. One reason the Russian invasion failed was massive arms contributions from Western nations, including Sweden. Several of these contributors have Swedish developed weapons, including the CV90 armored vehicle. Currently Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine use CV90. The CV90 is a unique armored vehicle because it has been in use for nearly three decades. Sweden began developing CV90 towards the end of the Cold War. CV90 entered service in the 1990s and attracted many export customers. Many Swedish weapons continue in use for decades because of continuous upgrades, CV90 is an example of this. The “CV” stands for Combat Vehicle and it has been a very flexible and adaptable combat vehicle.

CV90 production started in 1993. The 28 ton tracked vehicle has a crew of three and carries seven or eight passengers, usually infantrymen. With a top road speed of 70 kilometers an hour, the CV90 can go 300 kilometers on internal fuel. The vehicle turret carries a 30mm autocannon and a coaxial 7.62mm machine-gun. Also in the turret is a thermal imager for night operations. The vehicle armor protects against projectiles of up to 30mm caliber.

There are several variants of the CV90, carrying different weapons, including 120mm mortars, anti-tank missiles, 120mm gun, 25mm, 30mm, 35 and 40mm autocannon, a 105mm cannon as well as anti-aircraft radar and many types of missiles.

The CV90 is 6.55 meters (20.3) feet long and 3.1 meters (9.6 feet) wide. Average cost of a new CV90 was about $5 million each but some cost less than that because CV90 can use a wide variety of weapons, armor and equipment. So far, nearly 1,500 CV90s have been produced with Sweden using about a third of those. Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, and Netherlands are major users and together operate as many CV90s as Sweden. Several of the original owners of the CV90 upgraded them with things like more armor, better electronics and air conditioning. Some models weigh 38 tons and new weapons are available for CV90. There are several models of ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles) available plus several different calibers of autocannon.

Users have been quite satisfied with the Swedish CV90, in part because there are so many weapons and equipment options. So far there have been six major models of CV90, starting with the first ones that went mainly to the Swedish army. This version was armed with a 40mm autocannon. The sixth version is currently in development and expected to enter service in 2027. Many users of older models upgrade when a new model comes out, integrating new features and weapons that their older CV90s can accommodate. This is the main reason so many older CV90s remain in service.

September 11, 2023:




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