It was the Soviet Union that first introduced the large-scale concept of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to the world with its line of BMP vehicles beginning with the BMP-1 of 1966 and evolving into the modern BMP-3 of 1987. The world took notice and developed their own counters in the American M2/M3 Bradley, the British Warrior and the German Marder among others. The IFV brought about a combination of light tank firepower with troop-carrying capabilities of an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), able to transport combat-ready infantry in relative safety, disembarking them and remaining to support the offensive through cannon, machine gun and anti-tank missile weaponry. Sweden, with its long-running (and successful) history of indigenous solutions, took the evolution in stride and developed their excellent "Combat Vehicle 90" ("Stridsfordon 90") Infantry Fighting Vehicle to keep pace.
Origins of the CV90 began in the early 1980s to which, in 1984, the Swedish Army required a modern, tracked IFV with exceptional mobility, troop-hauling capability under protection and considerable baseline firepower. Bofors Defence and Hagglunds & Soner formed HB Utveckling in 1985 as a holding company for design, development and joint production of the new vehicle under the charge of the Swedish Defence Material Administration. Several vehicle testbeds were ironed out as were different turret fittings. The initial commission called for five pilot vehicles and these were delivered in 1988 for formal evaluation. In 1991, having passed the requisite trials, the vehicle was ordered for serial production under the designation of "Stridsfordon 90", or "Combat Vehicle 90", abbreviated to "CV90". Production would begin at Hagglund facilities to which running gear, powerpack and chassis would be mated to the hull. From there, the systems would be sent to Bofors to receive their turrets and armament and undergo finalization before being delivered to the Swedish Army. Production began in 1993 and is currently (2013) ongoing, with over 1,125 vehicles having been produced. The CV90 is now a product of BAe Systems AB.
Outwardly, the CV90 sports an appearance consistent with Infantry Fighting Vehicles of the period. The internal configuration consists of the driver and engine in the front of the hull with the turret at center and fighting compartment to the rear. Its tracked design allows for relatively unimpeded cross-country travel as well as on roads. The glacis plate is well-sloped to the roof line and provides a shallow profile along the horizon. A large door is fitted to the rear of the vehicle and hull sides are vertical while protected in thin armor skirts with a slight saw-tooth design apparent. The turret itself is well-sloped along all sides for minimal ballistics protection. Due to the difference in available armament fittings in the CV90 vehicle line, the series can displace anywhere between 25 tons (short) to 39 tons (short). The vehicle is protected from 30mm APFSDS (Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot) projectiles, artillery spray and small arms fire. Additional armor blocks can be affixed for improved protection in frontline urban environments and the like. The vehicle also sports an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection kit and automatic fire suppression device as well as night vision for the three crew. Its inherent design shape also provides a low profile which makes for a more difficult target to successfully engage at range.
The standard operating crew includes the driver, commander and gunner. The driver maintains a front-left hull position under an armored hatch complete with large vision blocks to which the powerpack is seated to his right, opening the middle and rear of the hull for the turret and passenger cabin. The turret houses the commander and the gunner in traditional fashion. Passengers (up to eight combat infantry) are seated along two benches facing centerline with entry-exit provided via a powered door at the rear of the hull. The cabin also allows several infantry to emerge through the hull roof by way of hatches and provide some point fire support through their personal weapons. Unlike some other vehicles of this class, there are no firing ports installed for the passenger cabin.
Power for the CV90 is served through a Scania DSI Model 14 or Model 16 series V8 diesel-fueled engine outputting between 550 and 810 horsepower depending on engine fitting. This is coupled to an automatic transmission and torsion bar suspension system which allows for a top speed of 44 miles per hour with an operational road range of approximately 200 miles. Running gear consists of seven double-tired road wheels to a track side with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear.