Ukraine and Sweden have announced they are going ahead with a project, first mooted in mid-August, to jointly produce an improved version of the Swedish “Stridfordon 90” (CV-90) infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) in Ukraine. The latest version will have improved all-terrain performance and reinforced multilayer armor.

Deputy Minister of Defense of Hanna Maliar, said on Sunday: “The CV-90 infantry fighting vehicle is believed to be the best in the world.

“Designed and manufactured in Sweden, it has everything that a modern combat vehicle should have, and its main advantage is protecting the [three-man] crew and carrying up to eight equipped soldiers. The protection provided by the CV-90 is not available in any other IFV.”

CV 90 IFV.Photo: Armyinform

In February, Sweden agreed to provide Ukraine with 50 of the CV-90 IFV. It was reported in May, that Ukraine were forming elite assault brigades that would be equipped with these and other vehicles and weapons, including the Archer semi-automatic howitzer, and trained in Sweden in preparation for Kyiv’s planned summer offensive. Training was said to be completed by mid-summer.

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According to Ukrainian open-source reports, a total of two Ukrainian combat brigades, the newly-raised 21st Mechanized Brigade and the veteran 93rd Mechanized Brigade, would be equipped with CV-90 vehicles. The first confirmed use of CV-90s on the battlefield was in July near Kreminna in the Luhansk region.

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Bengt Norborg reported on the SVT TV channel, citing Swedish sources, that Ukrainian formations equipped with CV-90 could become “one of Europe’s most powerful offensive units.”

Produced by the Swedish arm of BAE Systems, the CV-90 IFV is designed to carry infantry to carry out assaults and to provide covering fire to dismounted infantry in defense or attack.

It is a highly-mobile, battle-tested weapon with better armored protection and with firepower superior to both competing Russian and all NATO-standard armored personnel carriers (APC).

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The CV-90 platform can be configured to carry a variety of main armaments including the Bushmaster 30mm cannon, 40mm Bofors L/70 autocannon, Cockerill XC-8 105-120 mm turret or a 120 mm mortar as well as engineering options. BAE Systems has designed 17 variants of the vehicle which it says will address any customer need.

Images of CV-90s in Ukraine in July and August have only shown the system equipped with the 40mm autocannon. The Bofors L/70 is capable of rapid firing relatively powerful high explosive and armor piercing projectiles which makes it ideal for the type of close-in engagements typically seen in Ukraine’s war, with Russia.

Currently the Ukrainian infantry is fielding a staggering mix of IFVs, including mine-protected MRAP trucks from six donating states which are incompatible with each other, up-armored American HUMMVs, Soviet-era BTR and BMP APCs, MTLB all-terrain vehicles, Vietnam-era M113 armored personnel carriers, and a sprinkling of modern US and German IFV, comparable but inferior to the CV-90.

The joint production of 1,000 CV-90s in Ukraine would potentially enable the Ukrainian military to replace its entire infantry battle transport fleet with this single vehicle improving both its fighting ability and simplifying its logistic and maintenance processes.

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Alongside the CV-90, Sweden has provided Ukraine with 8 of its “Artiileriesystem 8” (Archer); a NATO-standard 155mm self-propelled howitzer, which weighs around 38 tons with a maximum speed of 70kph. This is high-tech, rapid-fire artillery piece, firing 8-10 shells a minute and capable of striking targets at 50 kilometers. Its rate of fire is almost twice as fast as any other medium-caliber howitzer, in the world.

It is thought that the Archer systems have not yet been delivered but once fielded it will be the single most effective artillery system operating in the war. A number of military analysts have said that, as with other high tech western weapons such as the American HIMARS precision-guided rocket system and the French-British Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missile, the small number of Archer howitzers are unlikely to have a decisive effect on the course of fighting.

The Archer artillery system.Photo: Stridsvagn122/Wikimedia

Despite its historical neutral status Sweden was an early supporter of Ukraine in its war against Russia, initially sending hundreds 84mm Carl Gustav rockets - an anti-tank weapon popular across the Ukrainian infantry for its ease of use and effectiveness - and later dispatching 60 instructors to help train new Ukrainian army recruits, as a participating nation to the Operation Interflex program, in England.

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