New upgraded version of BVP-2 IFV delivered to Slovak army

On May 29, 2018, the Slovak Ministry of Defense has take delivery of 21 upgraded BVP-2 tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) during a handover ceremony at the Specialist Testing Branch Lieskovec, a facility of Dubnica nad Váhom-based Konštrukta Defence in Slovakia. The vehicles, configured in two variants, are configured for ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) and mechanized units.

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The new modernized version of the BVP-2 was delivered on May 29, 2018 to the Slovak army. (Picture source Slovak Ministry of Defense)

Of the 21 upgraded tracked armoured fighting vehicles, 11 vehicles went to ISTAR Battalion Prešov and 10 to mechanized units. A total of 35 tracked armoured fighting vehicles will be modernized as part of this vehicle uplift project.

The BVP-2 is Soviet-made BMP-2 tracked IFV manufactured under license in Czech Republic. The BMP-2 was first seen in public during a military parade held in Red Square, Moscow, in November 1982. The vehicle was deployed for combat operations with the Russian Army in Afghanistan and the Iraqi Army in the 1990-91.

Armament of the BVP-2 is similar to the Soviet-made BMP-2, which consists of one 30 mm cannon 2A42 and one 7.62 mm PKT machine gun mounted to the left of the main armament. It has a two-man all-welded steel turret with the commander seated on the right and the gunner on the left. It carries six infantrymen who sit down either side of the vehicle back-to-back.

In May 2014, Slovak Defense industry has unveiled a project of modernization for the BVP-2 under the name of SAKAL. This vehicle seems very similar to the new upgrade version of BVP-2 IFV delivered on May 29, 2018. Due to the number of this type of vehicle in service with the Slovak army, and the reduction of defense budget, several companies have teamed to provide an upgraded vehicle able to protect the soldiers against new threats of the modern battlefield.

The Sakal is fitted with new weapon station. The old turret of BVP-2 is replaced by the remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) TURRA 30. The turret is armed with one 30 mm cannon, one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, anti-tank guided missile system and smoke grenade launchers covering area of 120°. Two launchers for anti-tank guided missile Konkurs are mounted to the left side of the turret.

The Sakal was build using a new modified chassis of the BVP-2, but according to the pictures released by the Slovak Ministry of Defense, the modernized version of the BVP-2 keeps the same chassis, only the old BVP-2 turret is replaced by a remotely operated weapon station similar to the Sakal project.

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The SAKAL, a modernized version of the BVP-2 was presented for the first time in May 2014 during IDEB, a defense exhibition in Slovakia. (Picture source Army Recognition)

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