Croatia army to receive Bradley IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicles

Cooperation between Croatia and the United States will be further strengthened by this project and will be a pledge for future projects aimed at the development and modernization of the Croatian Army, Minister of Defense Mario Banožić said on January 27, 2022. Army Recognition already published information on January 4, 2022, about this project.
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M2A2 ODS Bradley IFV (Picture source: U.S. Army)

At its 98th session held on Thursday, January 27, 2022, the Government of the Republic of Croatia passed a decision on the procurement of Bradley M2A2 ODS infantry fighting vehicles for the needs of equipping the Croatian Army and gave its consent to the Ministry of Defense from 2023 to 2027 for their procurement.

The offer of the U.S. Government to donate 89 Bradleys, to restore and put 62 combat vehicles into operation and to deliver packages of goods and services for them was accepted. The total value of equipping Bradley with an infantry fighting vehicle is USD 196.4 Mn (excluding VAT).

Minister of Defense Mario Banožić said: "As a reliable and responsible member of NATO, the Republic of Croatia will contribute to the fulfillment of NATO's capability goals by acquiring Bradleys, and thus to the efforts of deterrence and defense and collective defense of NATO countries. In addition to confirming the strategic cooperation with our American partners, the value of this project is that the company Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles will be involved in the maintenance of these Bradley combat vehicles", Banožić emphasized.

Minister Banožić said that these Bradleys are donated by the United States from the Surplus Defense Program on the principle of a total package that includes the delivery of vehicles, weapons, ammunition, communication and information equipment, tools and training for maintenance and training.

Emphasizing that the United States is the most important strategic partner of the Republic of Croatia in the field of defense since the formation of the Croatian Army into a modern army and a full member of NATO, Minister Banožić reminded of the comprehensive defense cooperation between the two countries.

Regarding the financing of the Bradley vehicle procurement project, Minister Banožić pointed out that the US Government has offered a five-year repayment plan according to which, after signing, 50% of the bid value will be paid, and the rest will be paid by the year according to deadlines.

"The total value of this project is 196.4 Mn dollars. After signing the Letters of Offer and Acceptance, 50% of the value of the offer will be paid in advance, ie 98.2 Mn dollars. Of that amount, the United States Government is participating with a grant of 51.1 Mn dollars from its assistance programs, and the Ministry of Defense will pay an advance of 47 Mn dollars. The remaining 98.2 Mn dollars will be paid in advance in accordance with the planned deliveries by years", explained Minister Banožić who stressed that the Ministry of Defense is obliged to pay VAT on the entire amount of both letters of offer and acceptance, as well as the estimated residual value of donated vehicles.

Financial resources for this year will be provided by the redistribution of funds in the State Budget for 2022 in favor of the division of the Ministry of Defense. Payments arising from commitments made from 2023 to 2027 will be included by the Ministry of Defense in the financial plan in the year in which the commitment falls due.

M2A2 ODS Bradley

Introduced in 1988, the A2 received an improved 600 horsepower (447 kW) engine with an HMPT-500-3 Hydromechanical transmission and improved armor (both passive and the ability to mount explosive reactive armor). The new armor protects the Bradley against 30mm APDS rounds and RPGs (or similar anti-armor weapons). The new armor also eliminated the trim vane that made the Bradley amphibious and covered up the side-firing ports. Spaced laminate armor was installed to the hull rear and spaced laminate track skirts protected the lower hull. A semicircular shield was attached to the turret rear to add more storage space as well as act as spaced armor. Kevlar spall liners were added to critical areas. The troop-carrying number was reduced to six, eliminating the periscope position behind the driver. After live firing testing, the seating and stowage arrangements were redrawn. These upgrades raised the cumulative gross weight of the vehicle to 30,519 kg (67,282 lb (30.037 long tons; 33.641 short tons)). The M2A2 was qualified to be transported by the C-17 Globemaster III. M2A2s were all eventually modified to M2A2 ODS (Operation Desert Storm) or M2A3 standard.

After Operation Desert Storm (First Gulf War in 1991), the M2A2 was upgraded again with the addition of an eye-safe carbon dioxide laser rangefinder, global positioning system and compass, combat identification system, and thermal viewer for the driver. The 1,423 M2A2 Bradleys brought up to this standard were referred to as M2A2 ODS (Operation Desert Storm). In August 2018, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) received the fourth and final batch of eight M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) as a part of the U.S. military aid program to Lebanon. In December 2019, the U.S. Government announced a plan to donate almost 60 Bradley M2A2 in ODS (Operation Desert Storm) configuration to Croatia, according to a statement issued by Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic, reports.