Since 2016, Sweden has greatly bolstered its ground forces, forsaking the peacetime structure focused on the training and logistics of troops in a single location in favour of deploying mechanised brigades in the principal strategic directions.
Major General Karl Engelbrektson, Commander of the Swedish Ground Forces, presented the vision of the new generation Swedish Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) CV90 at the IAV (International Armored Vehicles) conference in Great Britain. Among other things, he said the new CV90 would get a hybrid powertrain or cumulative ammunition for an automatic cannon.
The Swedish Army has received a 250% larger budget than in the past for the previous two years. The aim is to essentially double the Army, which is a problem in and of itself, the Swedish army commander stated at the IAV. Two of Sweden’s four planned mechanised brigades will be kept at a high degree of preparedness.
According to Engelbrektson, the course of Russia’s expansionist, imperialist agenda was evident before February 2022. The Swedish authorities have established a new defence policy stated in the publication Total Defense 2021-2025 (Försvarsberedningen 2021-2025). However, the war in Ukraine expedited modernisation and reconstruction by many years.
The Swedish Army plans, among other things, to swiftly introduce, modernise, and create new armoured vehicles. Recently, Sweden, Finland and Latvia have jointly built and procured Patria 6×6 wheeled armoured personnel carriers as part of the CAVS (Common Armored Vehicles System) initiative.
Stridsvagn 122 (enhanced Leopard 2A6) and IFV CV90 tanks form the mechanised backbone of the Swedish Army.
Additionally, the new and improved CV90 must interact with combat/logistics ground systems and unmanned air systems. The general emphasised that the new and digitalised ground platform, CV90, must also be linked with long-range weaponry, combat aircraft, surveillance drones, and even naval assets, as the Swedish military is frequently tasked with coastal operations.
The development of the next-generation CV90 has yet to be determined. The general continued by emphasising that agreements had yet to be reached between the industry and the FMV [Swedish Defense Administration], a government agency distinct from the Swedish Armed Forces.
At IAV, General Engelbrektson presented “just” a vision of the future CV90 for the time being. This year, however, production of the upcoming CV90’s first technology demonstrations will commence. Between 2023 and 2027, the development, including state and military testing, of the new CV90 is expected to occur quite rapidly.
Sweden is creating numerous CV90 demonstrations because it requires them to understand the effects and capabilities of the high-tech platform and be able to design requirements based on that, the Swedish army chief highlighted. Demonstrators are intended to reflect on experiences from the war in Ukraine.
Therefore, the new generation CV90 can be readily incorporated into the Swedish Army’s inventory after 2027. At least until 2034, BAE Systems Hagglunds will supply Stockholm with an unspecified quantity of new CV90s in various configurations. The Swedish Army will convert some older IFV CV90s into support and escort vehicles at the same time.
Currently, the Swedish Army operates 500 CV90s in a variety of configurations. In November 2022, the organisation also agreed to acquire two further variants: a Forward Maintenance vehicle and a Combat Engineer vehicle.
According to Engelbrektson, the Dutch IFV CV9035NL will be the default model for the new CV90. A hybrid diesel-electric drive will be one of the primary features of the new platform.
Twenty years ago, BAE Systems Hagglunds created prototype wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles with serial hybrid drive SEP (Splitterskyddad EnhetsPlattform). Sweden created prototypes of a diesel-electric armoured vehicle two decades ago, but it was likely too early for such a proposal. The country is currently creating a hybrid electric chassis for the CV90, which will soon be on exhibit, said the general.
Instead, the Swedish company will apply its knowledge from the serial hybrid electric drive HED (Hybrid Electric Drive) development of the new American IFV OMFV (Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle) programme. HED comprises an internal combustion engine, electric motor(s), and energy storage system.
It is still being determined whether the CV90 will genuinely replace the SEP/HED programmes’ solution or whether a new concept will be developed. A hybrid serial (like SEP or HED) or parallel drive can also be selected. The electric motors will give the vehicle’s direct drive with a series connection, while the internal combustion engine will serve as a generator of electrical energy. In the case of parallel connection, the electric motor is only integrated into the gearbox-combustion engine assembly as an auxiliary drive unit that operates mainly during acceleration and slow driving.
A hybrid powertrain provides numerous benefits, including lower fuel consumption and enhanced acceleration. The disadvantages are a higher price and complexity – that is, a more complicated service and a wider logistical footprint. However, the hybridisation of armoured vehicles is imminent, and the CV90 may be the first vehicle to implement a hybrid motor in practice.
The Ukraine war also demonstrated the fundamental need for effective camouflage and deception. Camouflage involves sophisticated camouflage techniques capable of visually concealing the vehicle from surveillance drones, suppressing thermal and acoustic signatures, and decreasing the electromagnetic signature (mainly radio). The emphasis on camouflage capabilities will unquestionably define the combat vehicles of the next generation, which are a direct result of the battle in Ukraine.
The new CV90 can only work with the current command and control complexes C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). C4ISR makes it possible to rapidly comprehend the battlefield’s situation, make the right decisions, and perform specified tasks with minimum resources, such as defeating the enemy with minimal ammo. The introduction of artificial intelligence or machine learning technology will be required.
As indicated by the hurried training of Ukrainian soldiers on Western armoured vehicles, it is also required to increase training and simulation skills. The Swedish general needed to be more precise about this. However, there are several potential technologies and methods, such as augmented simulation technology and virtual reality, embedded directly into automobiles. Any IFV may be converted into a simulation environment. Thus, the crew can “virtually battle” in the vehicle, either in the garages or on the range, through screens or eyewear for virtual or augmented reality.
Swedish decision-makers also think they need to include beyond-horizontal [Beyond Line of Sight] anti-tank capabilities in platforms, introduce cumulative direct-fire ammunition [for automatic cannons], and all of the above capabilities must be integrated from the early stages of platform design, General Engelbrektson emphasised. The Spike anti-tank guided missile is currently integrated into the CV90. BAE Systems Hagglunds and MBDA France successfully launched the anti-tank missile AkeronAkeron MP (Akeron Moyenne Portée) from the CV90 for the first time in December 2022.
The commander of the Swedish Army identified speed and manoeuvrability, survivability, destructiveness, sustainability, and interoperability as essential characteristics of the new IFV. According to the general, the Army can specify the new CV90’s technological specifications in manageable detail. Just outline the operating needs, allowing the engineers a free hand. This way, development time can be considerably decreased and money saved.
The CV90 will get a new chassis (with the possibility to be improved for decades to come) and a new combat module, which is expected to be based on the latest D-Turret.
1,470 CV90 vehicles in 16 variations have been manufactured or are on order. The vehicle is used in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Soon the Czech and Slovak Republics will be among the users.