The Netherlands continues its transformative mid-life upgrade for the CV90, ushering in firepower and heightened survivability.

As geopolitical tensions rise and security threats evolve, the Netherlands military continues to take steps to fortify its arsenal with the CV90 mid-life upgrades. Initiated following a surge in investment and approval from the parliament in September 2018, this project aims to address obsolescence.

Since 2009, the CV90 has been the backbone of the Royal Netherlands Army, providing a massive increase in firepower for ground-based operations. With the absence of tanks in the Dutch Army, the CV90 plays a pivotal role as the primary weapons system. The mid-life upgrade, set to be completed by 2026, focuses on enhancing firepower, situational awareness, and survivability.

In October 2022, BAE Systems unveiled the first upgraded CV90 infantry fighting vehicles with advanced features for the Royal Netherlands Army at its Hägglunds facility in Sweden. The $500m (€460m) contract, awarded in January 2021, mandated the modernisation of 122 CV90s, with an option for 19 additional vehicles, ensuring service through 2039.

Key contributors include user representatives actively participating in the project team, continuous communication with battalions experienced with the CV90, and user influence in the design phase. The collaborative effort involves adjustments, such as repositioning the main gun and machine gun, implementing a new ammunition feeder, and relocating the machine gun outside the crew compartment for increased safety and efficiency.

One of the upgrade’s features is incorporating an Active Protection System developed by Elbit Systems Land and BAE Systems Hagglunds. This system, known as Iron Fist, provides radar and optical detection of incoming threats, offering a hard-kill active protection system to intercept anti-tank threats. 

The Spike LR2 launcher further elevates the CV90’s offensive capabilities, allowing various launch modes, including Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) launches at coordinated targets.

The Electro-Optical Panoramic Sight (EOPS) on a retractable mast, new thermal imaging cameras, and 360-degree IR/day cameras enhance situational awareness, which is crucial in modern warfare scenarios. Furthermore, the upgrade addresses life cycle costs, with a comprehensive analysis covering fuel, ammunition, spare parts, personnel costs, and maintenance, revealing a 12.1% increase compared to the previous model, CV9035NL.

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

BAE Systems has made strides in reinforcing European armoured forces through various contracts. They delivered the first four out of 20 modern CV90 support vehicles in Norway. Meanwhile, BAE Systems, in a €1.3bn agreement with the Slovak Republic Ministry of Defence, will provide 152 CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles in different configurations, marking Slovakia as the eighth member of the CV90 user club. 

Additionally, a non-binding memorandum of understanding has been signed with Sweden and the Czech Republic, paving the way for potential collaboration on CV90 acquisition, support, and technology development. Finally, BAE Systems secured a contract modification to deliver 20 more CV90 Mjölner mortar systems for the Swedish Armed Forces, reinforcing indirect firepower capabilities and bringing the total number of CV90 mortar systems in the Swedish Army’s fleet to 80.

With the CV90 Mid-Life Upgrades nearing completion, the Netherlands military stands poised to navigate the changing landscape of global security, showcasing a commitment and adaptability in the face of emerging threats.