BOV (Combat Armored Vehicle)
4x4 Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
The BOV has proven itself a very capable light-armored combat vehicle emerging from Yugoslavia and, today, Serbia.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Local Serbian (formerly Yugoslavia) industry produces the capable "BOV" (translated to "Combat Armored Vehicle") vehicle series which has been taken into service by several military forces today (2020). The BOV is a multi-mission design capable of undertaking various sorties under various guises that are designed to suit the mission need. Nearly 600 of the type have been produced to date (2020) with more still to come. The vehicle was initially designed by the Military Technical Institute Belgrade and serial production followed through the TAM Complex Battle System factory of Velika Plana of Serbia.
The BOV weighs in at 9.1 tonnes and has a running length of 5.7 meters, a beam of 2.53 meters, and a height to its hull roof line of 2.33 meters. Internally, it is crewed by two (driver and gunner/vehicle commander) with additional spacing for eight passengers under 10mm to 15mm of armor protection (rated up to STANAG 4569 in some variants). Typical armament is a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun over the turret roof. Power is from a Deutz F6L413 6-cylinder diesel-fueled engine developing 150 horsepower driving a 4x4 wheeled arrangement. Operational road speeds can reach 60 miles-per-hour with ranges out to 300 miles.
The BOV is versatile enough to be fielded in military and security roles, its armor offering just enough protection for low-risk engagements. This makes it a perfect solution for anti-riot, border patrol, and base defense duties as needed. More evolved forms are equipped to engage armor and low-flying aircraft with appropriate weapon systems.
The BOV began operational service with Yugoslav forces and quickly established itself as a capable light-armored vehicle. It was deployed during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s which eventually led to the vehicle falling into each participating and neighboring nation's inventories in the post-war period. As such, the vehicle remains in use beyond Serbia with operational use found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro. Bangladesh is the sole outside with some 20 BOVs used in the Observation Post role accompanying artillery forces.
During the wartime period, the BOV proved adept at countering the threat of low-flying airplanes in the air-deterrence role though, in most other roles, its armor was weak enough to make it susceptible to many losses. It shined mostly when accompanied by heavier tracked and wheeled mechanized forces which could be used to protect the light-skinned vehicles.
The inherent versatility of the design has allowed the BOV to branch down several roles. The base usage is Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) which can provide varying levels of protection to the crew and passengers while mounting variable machine gun and grenade-launcher weapons. Beyond this is an air-defense model which sports 3 x 20mm automatic cannons in a powered turret. Another version features 2 x 30mm autocannons while short-ranged Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) also figure into the mix for the role. Other variants include artillery support, armed/armored reconnaissance-scouts, military police models, mobile communications platform, Command & Control (C2) variants, and armored battlefield ambulance for MEDEVAC. Still another form, the BOV-1, fields 6 x AT-3 series Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) as a missile-carrying vehicle of high mobility.
The BOV is being modernized through a Second Generation BOV form under development. This vehicle, larger and heavier than its predecessor and powered by an American Cummins diesel, is slated to offer the same features with broader mission support and greater performance specifications.