BAE Systems will equip Dutch CV90s with composite rubber tracks as part of a €500m upgrade programme to the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV).

The Royal Netherlands Army will follow the Norwegian Army, which has already equipped its vehicles with the rubber tracks and used them in Afghanistan.

Switching from steel to the composite rubber track has the benefit of reducing the vehicle’s weight and noise in the crew compartment by as much as 65%.

The reduction in noise and vibration helps to minimise crew fatigue. The CV90s will receive rubber tracks jointly developed by Soucy International and BAE Systems Hägglunds.

The weight reduction increases the efficiency and running costs of the vehicle as well as freeing up payload for the addition of future systems.

Soucy designs and manufactures the tracks and BAE Systems Hägglunds has qualified them in full-scale trials.

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BAE Systems Hägglunds director combat vehicles Dan Lindell said: “The reduced vibration levels will increase the life expectancy of electronics, optronics, and ammunition, which will significantly reduce vehicle running costs.

“What’s more, with the reduction of close to one tonne in vehicle weight as a result of the change to a rubber track system, there will be increased potential for continuous growth.”

The Royal Netherlands Army is also set to start equipping its CV90s with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Active Protection system, following an agreement to integrate the system in 2019. BAE Systems Hägglunds is leading the integration of Iron Fist on the Dutch IFVs.

Lindell added: “This development is a real strategic milestone in the CV90’s approach to holistic survivability.

“It complements the already existing stealth- and soft-kill layers with further means to defeat the incoming threat, making survivability even more achievable.”

CV90 is currently also in-service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – with the operating countries a part of what Hägglunds calls the ‘CV90 Club’.

At an annual meeting of the club, the CV90 operators share best practice and explore potential capability upgrades to the IFV. The use of rubber tracks stemmed from studies by the CV90 user group.

In the UK, Soucy is working with Supacat to explore the option of equipping the UK’s tracked armoured fleet with rubber tracks