November 19, 2012
Credit: Credit: BAE Systems
Angus Batey Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
As it enters its 20th year in service, the CV90 tracked infantry fighting vehicle is just getting started. The platform, in service with six nations and produced here by BAE Systems Hagglunds, is about to be delivered in a range of new variants that include medical evacuation, mortar carrier and cargo transport, and it remains at the heart of BAE's ambitious program to develop a multiuse adaptive camouflage system.
The original CV90, designed and built for the Swedish defense ministry, was fitted with a 40-mm Bofors cannon and designated CV9040. An export model fitted with a 30-mm Bushmaster cannon, known as CV9030, was ordered by Norway in 1994. Under a £500 million ($800 million) contract signed in June, BAE will upgrade the entire Norwegian CV90 fleet and supply an additional 41 vehicles, bringing the total to 144.
“The Norwegian army has had very good experience with the CV90,” explains Conny Flemin, Hagglunds' deputy project manager for the Norway upgrade program. “There has been little negative feedback—the only thing they actually mention is related to space in the combat compartment, which we have solved.”
The upgrade program is complicated. Most, but not all, of the extant 103 Norwegian vehicles—one of the 104 originally ordered in 1994 has been scrapped—will have the original Mk. I chassis replaced by the larger, more-capable Mk. III. The Mk. III is 200 mm (7.8 in.) longer, 170 mm higher in the troop compartment, and has a 6.5-ton increase in payload capacity. A new machine gun—the type is yet to be decided—will be fielded on all vehicles.
Once the upgrade is completed, Norway will have 74 CV9030s in the basic configuration, the extended Mk. III chassis topped with the Mk. I turrets originally supplied under the 1994 contract, and with eight seats in the troop compartment rather than the original seven. A further 15 vehicles will be supplied as command-and-control platforms, their troop compartment equipped with four operator workstations, and another 21 as armored reconnaissance vehicles, both with Mk. I turrets atop Mk. III chassis. As this totals 110 vehicles, BAE will manufacture an additional seven Mk. I turrets, identical to the 1990s turret except for the integration of a Mk. 44 Bushmaster, as the original gun is no longer in production.
The remaining 34 vehicles will be based on the turretless Armadillo configuration unveiled at the Eurosatory show in 2010. Two will be supplied as trainers, with the remainder divided between a combat engineering vehicle (which will use the original Mk. I chassis, as the increased space in the rear compartment is not required), a mortar carrier and a reconfigurable multi-use carrier, which can be operated in casualty evacuation, as an eight-seat VIP transport or a cargo hauler.
“There will be a total of nine different configurations, so this is truly a challenge in logistics,” says Flemin. “As of today, we are actually ahead of plan.”