The public contract for the acquisition of CV90 MkIV tracked IFV for the Czech Army is nearing completion
Today, the Government should discuss the current status and the expected further progress of the public procurement of 210 tracked infantry fighting vehicles for the Czech Army, where intensive negotiations are currently underway with Swedish partners in order to reach agreement on the final form of the contractual documents as soon as possible. However, some mainly legal and contractual issues remain open.
The aim of the acquisition of the new tracked IFV is to rearm the 7th Mechanised Brigade, which has been using outdated and often non-functional BVP-2 machines. The purchase of new IFVs will increase the operational capabilities of the ground forces of the Czech Armed Forces, especially within the capabilities of the mechanised troops, on the territory of the Czech Republic and in foreign operations. It will also fulfil the NATO requirement for the construction of a heavy brigade according to Capability Targets 2017 and 2021.
After previous lengthy peripetias, the government finally decided to cancel the tender for the acquisition of new IFVs and on 20 July 2022 authorised the Minister of Defence to negotiate with the Swedish government regarding the purchase of CV90 vehicles. Deputy Minister of Defence to Sweden, during which meetings were held with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Director General of the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FÔRSVARETS MATERIELVERK - FMV) and the President of BAE Systems Hägglunds, the manufacturer of the CV90. On 25 November 2022, a Request for Governmental Proposal (RfGP) was approved by the Under Secretary for Management of the Armaments and Acquisition Section of the Ministry of Defence and sent to the Director General of the FMV with a deadline for submission of the proposal of 9 December 2022. Following a request by the Director General of the FMV, the deadline for submission of the governmental proposal was then extended to 30 January 2023. On 31 December 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisition Management of the Ministry of Defence, the Director General of the FMV and the President of BAE, in which all parties agreed to make every effort to ensure that the cooperation to date would result in the signing of a contract for the acquisition of tracked infantry fighting vehicles for the needs of the Czech Army by 31 December 2022. The aforementioned memorandum also sets the purchase price, which will not exceed CZK 51.684 billion, including VAT, information on deliveries and the level of involvement of the Czech defence industry (at least 40 percent of the total cost of the IFV acquisition). The maintenance of the vehicles is also envisaged to be carried out on the territory of the Czech Republic, which should be performed entirely by Czech companies, including the state enterprise VOP CZ. In February 2023, the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic plans to organise an "Industry Day" during which Czech defence industry companies will be informed about the further progress and schedule of the procurement.
From the negotiations conducted so far, it has emerged that the Kingdom of Sweden, represented by the FMV, declares that the direct involvement of another entity, which is to be the manufacturer of the tracked combat vehicle (BAE Systems), in the contracting process is necessary for the conclusion of the IFV supply contract from the perspective of the Kingdom of Sweden, as the Kingdom of Sweden cannot be an independent party to the IFV supply contract on the seller's side. In view of this position of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Ministry of Defence is forced to consider all legal means of resolving the acquisition other than contracting with one entity (the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden) in the ongoing negotiations. At present, according to the communication of the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden, the successful conclusion of a contract for the delivery of the IFV cannot be achieved other than by proceeding with the concept of concluding a bilateral intergovernmental agreement between the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden represented by the FMV on cooperation in the operation of the IFV and, at the same time, a trilateral agreement on the delivery of tracked IFV concluded between the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic, the Swedish Government represented by the FMV and BAE as the manufacturer of the CV90 vehicle. The Ministry of Defence will then proceed with the conclusion of the trilateral acquisition contract in such a way that the contract thus concluded reflects the provisions of EU and national regulations.
The procurement of the CV90 should continue in the next few days in the form of further working meetings with representatives of the FMV and BAE Systems, which should concern the final form and content of the contract documentation.On 30 January 2023, the government's offer should be submitted by the FMV and its subsequent assessment in terms of the normal price, which will be dealt with by an expert commission. After final negotiations with the contractor for possible further improvement of the offer in favour of the MoD, the MoF should then determine the expenditure to finance the action and the actual signing of the contracts with the Swedish side is expected to take place by 31 May 2023.
The CV90 MkIV is the fifth version of this vehicle (we have written about the evolution of the CV90 in the past) and the CV90 is currently one of the most advanced and capable IFVs on the market. The export success of the CV90 is undeniable. In direct comparison with competitors in tests, the Swedish vehicle performs very well, which was also confirmed in Czech and Slovak testing. The CV90 is a western-style IFV with a focus on providing mobility in snow and in sloppy terrain while providing sufficient interior space for infantry. The vehicle has been developed from the outset using a unique design concept that provides a sufficiently large internal space with small external dimensions, thereby increasing the available payload and protection. The increased space offered to the crew and soldiers by the CV90 differentiates it from the space-constrained BVP-2s serving in the Czech Armed Forces.
The Swedish CV90 is designed for high effectiveness against armoured targets and effectiveness against fixed-wing aerial targets and helicopters. The main reason for the export success of the 30 and 35mm calibre systems is that the Hägglunds design was designed from the outset to provide excellent fire-in-motion capability, something that the 40mm version could not fully provide initially. Against aerial targets, the CV90 is equipped with SAAB's UTAAS targeting and fire control system. This system allows the gunner in the CV90 to aim independently of vehicle movement, while the fire control system automatically aims the barrel. In a combat situation, this means it can fire faster than with conventional sighting technology.