Armor: An Era Ends In The Netherlands

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July 10, 2012:  The Netherlands Army has retired the last of its YPR765 IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles). The YPR765 is actually one of the several upgrades of the American M113 armored personnel carrier design. Holland ordered over 1,600 of these vehicles in the last 40 years. They most recently served in Afghanistan.

Holland is replacing all those TPR765s with 184 Swedish made CV90s, 400 4x4 10 ton Fennek recon vehicles, and 200 Boxer wheeled armored vehicles. While the Fennek is similar to an armored hummer the CV90 and Boxer are more heavily armored combat vehicles. The Netherlands has shrunk its armed forces since the Cold War ended in 1991, which led to the retirement of most YPR765s. The remaining YPR765s were considered old and out-of-date.

Development of the CV90 began in 1988, with production starting in late 1993. The 28 ton tracked vehicle has a crew of three and carries seven passengers (usually infantrymen). With a top road speed of 70 kilometers an hour, the CV90 can go 300 kilometers on internal fuel. The vehicle turret carries a 30mm autocannon and a coaxial 7.62mm machine-gun. Also in the turret is a thermal imager for night operations. The vehicle armor protects against projectiles of up to 30mm caliber.

The Boxer is an eight wheeled armored vehicle, with a combat weight of 26 tons. The vehicle carries up to eleven people. Top speed is 104 kilometers an hour, and it can travel about a thousand kilometers on roads, without refueling. Standard weapon is a 12.7mm machine-gun. There will be many variants, as the Boxer is meant to be a standard armored personnel carrier and a replacement for the many M-113 tracked vehicles. The Boxer has been in development since 1999, with Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands cooperating on the project.

It was in 1960, that the United States began building a boxy armored personnel vehicle called the M-113. Over 80,000 have been built since then, and more than fifty nations have used them. There have been 40 variants of the 13-15 ton M113, for everything from air defense, command, carrying cargo, and so on.

In the 1980s, the 21 ton M-2 Bradley replaced M-113s as the principal infantry vehicle in the United States. The main reason for this was the need for a vehicle that could keep up with the M-1 tank and a larger vehicle to carry more weapons (25mm cannon and anti-tank missiles). But the M113 continues to receive upgrades. Currently, you can put a new suspension, engine (diesel/electric), and tracks (rubber) in a M113 and make it as nimble as the Bradley and quieter. The move to introduce wheeled armored cars into rapid deployment brigades has run into these more effective (and lighter and cheaper) M113s, much to the chagrin of planners who assume that if it's better, it's gotta be brand new.

 


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