The Netherlands has launched a comprehensive €500m Mid-Life Upgrade for the 144 CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles operated by the Koninklijke Landmacht. In a recent contract with BAE Systems, the implementation of rubber tracks has been contracted.
Composite Rubber Tracks
The CV90s have so far been equipped with steel tracks consisting of individual rubberised steel links. The selected Composite Rubber Tracks (CRT) are endless (and therefore individual for each vehicle type). The properties of the track are determined by the longitudinal steel cables, the fabric reinforcement and the rubber treads and steel-reinforced rubber guide lugs. The system includes separable drive sprockets and likewise separable guide rollers as well as a special chain tensioner.
The new CRT reduces vibration levels by up to 65 percent and noise levels by up to 10 dB for crew and vehicle. The lower vibration level increases the service life and operational safety, especially of the vibration-sensitive electronic components, and improves the control quality of the weapon drive system. Reduced vibrations and noise maintain the crew performance and make it more difficult for the vehicles to be detected. In addition, the CRT weighs around one ton less per vehicle, which creates new scope for further performance growth. Under the terms of the contract, BAE Systems is contracted to develop, test and verify the performance of the CRT for the CV90 and to supply implementation kits for training alongside the Dutch customer. This will ensure security of supply for many years to come.
The rubber-band composite track system is jointly developed by Soucy International in Quebec, Canada, and BAE Systems Hägglunds in Sweden. Soucy is the manufacturer and supplier of the tracks and BAE Systems has qualified the system in large-scale tests. CV90s with CRT are already in service with the Norwegian Armed Forces and have passed the field test in active operations in Northern Afghanistan.
About a year ago, BAE Systems was commissioned to integrate the IRON FIST Active Protection System from Elbit Systems into the CV90 fleet. IRON FIST automatically detects, tracks and neutralises incoming threats to protect the vehicle and its crew. Questions of operation and further development as well as operational experiences are discussed and shared by the six CV90 user states: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, within the CV90 User Club. Annual meetings, usually held at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik/Sweden, also serve to present new threats and changing military requirements as well as new ideas and technologies.
The Netherlands operates three variants of the CV90: group vehicles for the armoured infantry, command vehicles and school vehicles. The vehicles can accommodate a crew of three and a group of seven soldiers. A 600 kW Scania diesel engine accelerates the 35-tonne vehicle up to 70 km/h on the road. The main armament is a BUSHMASTER III 35/50mm rapid fire cannon, which can also fire airburst ammunition. The crew is protected by an armoured steel hull with liners and additional armouring elements. The planned service life of 30 years extends to about 2040.