Friday, April 15, 2016

Sweden's armor upgrades

Recently the Försvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish military equipment procurment agency, announced that the Stridsvagn 122 (Strv 122) and the Stridsfordon 90 (CV90) will be upgraded within the next years.

The contracts for the upgrade have an estimated total value of $300 million USD and will be carried out by two main contractors: the CV90 upgrade will be made by BAE Systems, which happens to be the company that acquired Hägglunds (original CV90 manufacturer). The contract for the Strv 122 upgrade will be carried out by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). 
Half of all vehicles will be refurbished by the two companies roughly at the same time, while the other half will be renovated at FMV's own workshops with maintenance kits to be acquired by FMV. The first refurbished and upgraded vehicles are expected for 2019, the last will be delivered in 2021.
Swedish CV9040B
A total of 262 CV90s will be refurbished and upgraded. Worn-out components will be replaced, new batteries and a new battlefield management system will be installed. The old Kulspruta m/39 machine gun from 1939 will be replaced with a relatively modern MAG from the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN). The number of 262 vehicles to be upgraded is distributed among the following variants: 172 infantry fighting vehicles, 40 command post vehicles, 22 scout vehicles, 16 self-propelled anti-air gun vehicles, and 12 recovery vehicles. The scout and air-defence vehicles will additionally receive the current generation of thermal imagers used already on the CV9040C.
The new BMS
The Strv 122A is currently the main version of the Leopard 2A5 in Swedish service. Compared to the basic German version, the Strv 122 has been fitted with the full armor configuration of the TVM max prototypes, which includes additional MEXAS-H composite armor at the hull and features enhanced roof protection against top-attack bomblets and heavy artillery fragments. Furthermore Sweden decided to adopt their own battlefield management system and the French GALIX smoke grenade discharger system. All this results in an increased combat value and a greater weight of about 62.5 metric tons. The upgraded Strv 122A will be called Strv 122C.
The Strv 122B is a version of the Strv 122 fitted with the additional mine protection kit developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann on behalf of the representation of the Leopard 2 user countries. In Germany the same mine protection kit was adopted with the Leopard 2A6M. It includes an underbelly armor plate, a decoupled seat for the driver and a different, shock-proof ammunition rack for the hull.

The complete details of the improved Strv 122C are unknown, but it has been written that 77 Strv 122As and 2 recovery vehicles will be upgraded. Worn-out and/or obsolete parts will be replaced, including the old batteries and electrical components. Most likely the old PERI R17A2 commander's sight will be upgraded to the new PERI R17A3 version, which exchanges the Ophelios-P thermal imager with a new ATTICA thermal imager. The ATTICA thermal imager is a third generation device, which provides higher performance. The Ophelios-P has to be replaced on the long run, as a component supplier has stopped providing spare parts. The R17A3 also includes a laser rangefinder, further enhancing hunter-killer capabilites and system redundancy.
EMES-15 upgrade possibilities
The old EMES-15 could also be upgraded with the ATTICA thermal rangefinder aswell as an improved laser rangefinder, a similar upgrade has been purchased by Canada and Denmark already.

The Strv 122B will be upgraded to the Strv 122D, which probably will be identical to the Strv 122C aside form the mine protection kit. A total of 11 Strv 122B will be upgraded to the new Strv 122D configuration.
Strv 122 Evolution
A possible upgrade path for the Strv 122D or both versions would be the Strv 122 Evolution tank upgrade developed by Åkers Krutbuk, a subsidiary of IBD Deisenroth of Germany. The Strv 122 Evolution utilizes IBD's Advanced Modular Armor Protection (AMAP) system in order to achieve a higher level of allround protection while keeping the weight rather constant. 

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