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The Czech Ministry of Defense is looking to upgrade its ground forces, and it put forward a tender for 210 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
As a result, three companies submitted their offers.
They are as follows:
The UK’s BAE Systems with their Swedish-made CV90 (Combat Vehicle 90).
The CV90 has a long history, as it has been actively used ever since 1993. The CV90 platform design has continuously evolved in steps from Mk0 to current MkIV with advances in technology and in response to changing battlefield requirements. It is fitted with a turret from Bofors that is equipped with a 40 mm Bofors autocannon. Export versions are fitted with Hägglunds E-series turrets, armed with either a 30 mm or a 35 mm Bushmaster autocannon.
If, for some reason, the Czech Republic decides to invade Siberia (as Russia is the proverbial enemy), the vehicle has impressive mobility in snow and wetlands, while supporting 6 fully-equipped soldiers.
Europe-based General Dynamics European Land Systems with its Ascod (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development).
The ASCOD is an armoured fighting vehicle family. It is the product of a cooperation agreement between an Austrian and Spanish company, now both part of General Dynamics.
The main version of the ASCOD is the tracked infantry fighting vehicle. It follows a conventional layout with a front-mounted engine and a rear compartment for the dismounts. The driver’s seat is located at the left hull front, whereas the commander and gunner sit in the slightly off-center-mounted two-man turret. The rear compartment also has two hatches on the roof.
The vehicle has different variants, as well as a light tank variant named LT 105. It is unclear if there would be a “national” variant for the Czech Armed Forces. For example, the Ulan (the Germany variant) can carry eight dismounts, whereas the Pizarro (the Spanish variant) only carries seven.
Germany’s Rheinmetall with the Lynx.
The Lynx is the most state-of-the-art of three systems. The Lynx, configured as a KF31 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), was unveiled publicly at the Eurosatory defense exhibition in mid-2016.
The KF41 variant was unveiled publicly at the Eurosatory defense exhibition two years later.
According to Rheinmetall itself, the Lynx family of tracked armoured vehicles is at the forefront of a new trend in IFV design toward armoured vehicles with lower unit and through-life costs and reduced complexity.
The Lynx is built around a sponson-shaped hull with a long, shallow glacis and angled belly plate. The driver compartment is at the front left, the engine the front right, fighting compartment in the middle (when fitted with a turret) and there is a dismount compartment at the rear, access to which is via a ramp in the rear of the vehicle.
The key feature of the Lynx design concept is the separation and modularity of the vehicle into two primary parts: the basic vehicle and specialist mission and role equipment.
The fourth potential supplier was a joint venture between Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall which makes the Puma, but they dropped out, likely in favor of the Lynx.
A condition of the tender is that the Czech defense industry should be involved in producing at least 40% of the IFV contract. This is likely to become the largest defense contract in Czech history, as plans are to spend $2.4 billion.
This tender for offers could be an attempt by the Czech Republic to gain some valuable know-how.
Historically, before World War II, as part of Czechoslovakia it was a major arms producer. During the Great War it was a key weapons workshop for the Third Reich.
In recent years, it became one of the main weapons suppliers to various conflict zones, including Eastern Ukraine and Syria’s Idlib, even to some infamous African states.
It would be no surprise if it plans to develop its military-industrial complex further, and attempt to improve its export business.