The first of the upgraded CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) operated by the Royal Netherlands Army has formally completed its mid-life upgrade (MLU) process, with a total of 122 vehicles due to undergo the MLU programme that will see, among other system, the addition of an entirely new turret.

In a 5 May 2024 release, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Defence stated that the first of the upgraded CV90s rolled out of the Bunschoten-Spakenburg site on 4 May after completing the MLU, which will also see the integration of an anti-tank missile system and expanded defensive capabilities with the installation of an active protection system (APS).

The MLU is being carried out by BAE Systems Hägglunds and the Dutch company Van Halteren Technologies. Known as the CV9035NL in Netherlands service, additional upgrades as part of the MLU include improved IT infrastructure within the vehicle, rubber tracks, and improved cooling.

In January 2021, BAE Systems signed an MLU contract with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) for the Royal Netherlands Army’s fleet of 122 CV90s, to ensure the CV9035NL remains in service through 2039, a 2022 BAE Systems release stated. The $500m (€460m) contract included an option for 19 additional vehicles, ensuring service through 2039.

The newly designed turret has shifted the position of the 35mm Bushmaster main gun for improved vehicle balance, crew ergonomics, and the creation of new future weaponry options, according to BAE Systems Hägglunds, the OEM of the CV90 IFV.

The Netherlands’ MoD stated that the intention is to complete the MLU upgrade for the 122 CV9035NL IFVs in early 2027. This timeframe represents a slight slip from the earlier schedule that would see the MLU competed in 2026.

CV9035NL: what’s in the MLU?

The APS capability installed is Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist, which provides radar and optical detection of incoming threats, with the inbuilt hard-kill system neutralizing inbound shells and missiles.

Additional anti-tank capability will be achieved through the Spike LR2 missile launcher, which can be operated in a range of modes, including Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) targeting.

The new electro-optical panoramic sight sits in a retractable mast, which has also integrated new thermal imaging cameras and 360-degree IR/day cameras to improve situational awareness.

According to GlobalData’s Netherlands Defense Market 2023-2028 report, the Netherlands Army has 144 CV9035NL infantry fighting vehicles in its fleet, acquired from BAE Systems AB between 2004 and 2009.