Tracked infantry fighting vehicle
[PBVP - Pásová bojová vozidla pechoty]
On 01 June 2021 the Czech Republic asked BAE Systems Hägglunds, General Dynamics European Land Systems and Rheinmetall Landsysteme to submit final offers for the 210 vehicle IFV requirement for the replacement of BVP-2 infantry combat vehicles. Applicants for the largest modern order of the Czech Army delivered samples of infantry tracked combat vehicles (BVP) to the Czech Republic on 26 April 2-21. In the following six weeks, the army subjected them to detailed tests and trials. Three companies remained with their machines in the competition for the supply of 210 BVP for more than 50 billion crowns. These are CV90 vehicles from the Swedish company BAE Systems, Lynx from the German company Rheinmetall Landsysteme and ASCOD from the Spanish company GDELS.
Almost six weeks of testing await them in the Czech Republic. The tests were originally scheduled to take place in the autumn, but were postponed several times due to a coronavirus pandemic. According to Fajnor, they will last until June 6, after which they will be evaluated for about two weeks. In addition to representatives of the army, experts from the Armaments and Acquisitions Section of the Ministry of Defense and state enterprises of the Military Technical Institute (VTÚ), the Military Research Institute (VVÚ) and VOP CZ will also take part in them.
After the fall of communism, the only BVPs in the ground forces of Poland, Czechoslovakia (later the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and Hungary were BMP-1 (in operation since the 1960s) and BMP-2 (in operation since the 1970s). In addition, the armies of these countries used various other belt and wheeled armored personnel carriers.
At the time of its establishment in 1993, the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) had 768 BVP-1 and 168 BVP-2. By 2021, the ACR operated only the more modern BVP-2 - in active service there were 120 vehicles in three battalions (one tank and two mechanized - part of the 7th Mechanized Brigade), another 65 vehicles of this type are stored (98 BVP-1 are also stored ).
The Czechs completely abandoned the modernization of these vehicles (although several BVP-1s were converted into reconnaissance vehicles) and focused on purchasing new BVPs. The Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic sent a request for information in 2016. The formal selection procedure for the new BVP was to begin in 2017 and end with the selection of the winner in 2018.
The program had problems from the beginning: out of nine companies that were invited to participate, seven responded. For some time, only GDELS (offering the ASCOD 2 platform purchased by the British Army - albeit in a slightly different version), BAE Systems Hägglunds (CV90 Mk. IV - the latest version of the very popular Swedish BVP) and Rheinmetall (Lynx KF41) remained in the game. The PSM consortium with BVP Puma, which is used by the Bundeswehr, resigned due to the introduction of a requirement to install a manned turret. In the case of Puma, meeting such a condition is at least difficult or even impossible.
This number 210 pieces is based on the long-term concept of army development (Concept of Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic - KVACR 2025) and on the commitments to the Alliance to deploy a "heavy brigade". In practice, it is the armament of three mechanized battalions, a tank battalion, combat support units and combat security units, as well as training units. This "heavy brigade" will be based on the 7th Mechanized Brigade, where each mechanized battalion will be armed with 56 vehicles in 7 modifications.
For such a large number of tracked combat vehicles, it is necessary to ensure sufficient maintenance. Workshop vehicles on the 8x8 platform are designed for units in action and in the rear. The Army planned 21 workshops for combat units, one for combat support units, six for combat security units and one for training. Mobile workshops are part of the entire supply of infantry tracked combat vehicles to ensure the entire life cycle of the vehicle.
The Army wanted to integrate new vehicles into the systems of the Czech Army and NATO in order to be able to operate on the future battlefield. The Army was digitizing the battlefield with the appropriate level of secrecy that is necessary in future military operations. Integrated and networked weapon platforms enable more effective combat operations.
The Army wanted ballistic protection for this type of vehicle at a level of at least K5. The Army wanted to provide the highest possible level of protection for soldiers, which the current infantry tracked combat vehicles are far from meeting. This is based on current trends and commitments to NATO to deploy a "heavy brigade". Level K5 is one of the two highest possible protections available on the market.
Combat experience indicates that soldiers in this type of vehicle must have an excellent overview of the built-up area. Without quick and accurate orientation, they cannot do in direct line combat with direct contact with the enemy. He must easily and quickly identify the target and have visual contact with the landed airdrop. The advantage of this type of turret is its simple construction, which significantly reduces the probability of failure. When a defect occurs, it can be removed from inside the turret, where the soldiers are protected at all times. The same advantage is recharging. There is no need to withdraw from combat activities.
The 30mm rapid-fire automatic cannon is related to NATO's commitment to a "heavy brigade". The Army already had the same cannon on a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle (Pandur), and therefore wanted to unify the caliber. The Army can already use modern cannons for programmable ammunition, primarily concerned with the destructive effect, which does not depend only on caliber. The Army also think ahead so that, if necessary, the Army can replace this cannon with a more powerful cannon with a different caliber so that the entire turret set does not have to be changed.
In modern combat, the Army need to have a number of specialists in the new infantry tracked combat vehicle. The Army based the number of transported persons to be at least 11 on combat experience from a number of foreign operations. These specialists are essential for guiding aircraft or artillery, will control drones or contribute to an overview of the state of the battlefield. However, the space in the vehicle can also be used for an eight-member crew, which is able to develop into two four-member teams after dismounting. This is how the Army's tactics are built. The Army had a clear idea of ??how the Army will use the Army's troops in the future to be able to respond flexibly to combat situations.
The Army wanted to provide the highest level of protection for soldiers. In a high-intensity conflict, where the Army counts on a fight with an equally advanced adversary, the level of this protection is unconditional. Professionally: minimum protection M4a (under the belt) and M4b (under the vehicle) according to the STANAG 4569 standard. The vehicle must protect soldiers from mines weighing up to ten kilograms.
Protecting soldiers against booby-trapped explosive systems is the most important thing. In the low-intensity conflicts the Army knows, for example, from Afghanistan, the Army were able to test for ourselves what such an IED can do. Therefore, the Army want the highest degree of protection for new vehicles according to the STANAG 4569 standard, which is to ensure this and prevent injuries or death to soldiers in the vehicle. The Army are also based on the Alliance documents for the deployment of a "heavy brigade".
The Army wanted anti-tank missiles in order for the new infantry tracked combat vehicle to withstand high-intensity combat conflict. It is simply not possible on today's battlefield without missiles. The Army already used a similar missile set with the Pandurs and the Army had combat experience with it. However, the Army wanted this more modern, because a higher generation has already been developed.
For maximum crew safety, it is now necessary to equip a modern vehicle with active protection. It is the standard of all advanced armies. In practice, it is the disposal of enemy ammunition before the vehicle itself is hit. It is therefore the elimination of three hits to one point in the 360 ??° zone around the entire vehicle. The Army had modern technologies at the Army's disposal, with which the Army can thoroughly check this requirement and thus protect the soldiers in the infantry tracked combat vehicle from enemy intervention.
Before the Ministry of Defense signs the contract, the Army wanted to test a real and real tracked infantry fighting vehicle that meets the Army's required parameters. The supplier must have a world reputation and be serious. The Army did not want to underestimate anything. Only proven companies with experience in such large deals with advanced armies will be able to meet their commitments. The Army will not simply rely on companies that do not have a name in the world.
The Army wanted to involve the Army's industry at least 40% of the price. As for Czech companies, the Army's understandable requirement is their robust involvement in the contract to the extent of at least 40% of the acquisition price. This is the minimum value. Any additional percentage will be taken into account when evaluating bids. The Army chose the 40% limit with regard to the current real possibilities of the Czech defense industry.
The military repair company CZ, a state-owned company, will guarantee the involvement of Czech companies in the entire life cycle. Service will be provided as soon as needed. At the same time, the company can modernize the vehicles accordingly according to the future requirements of the army. He has the necessary employees and technology for that. It is a state enterprise of the Ministry of Defense. Its basic task is to protect the Army's security interests.
The Army learned from the past. The Army responded to experiences from other projects. The service or modernization will thus be fully under the control of the Ministry of Defense. The license is included in the price of the entire contract. It will therefore also be a very good tool for negotiating final price bidders in fair competition.
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