Russian-taken military vehicle in Ukraine does not reveal Estonian secrets

CV90's in Estonia.
CV90's in Estonia. Source:

Russians took a Swedish-donated CV90 infantry fighting vehicle from Ukraine. Estonia has a different model but the same battle machine, but the defense forces aren't worried the Russians will learn anything new.

In June, Sweden gave Ukraine 50 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles. As its name suggests, the purpose of this vehicle is to transport infantry to a protected position near the adversary and support them with an onboard cannon.

The Ukrainians were forced to abandon one of these vehicles on the battlefield last week, and the Russians were able to recover it. After propaganda videos, the Russian minister of defense, Sergei Shoigu, also inspected the equipment.

Maj. Vladimir Kolotõgin, chief of staff of the Scouts Battalion, an infantry battalion with rapid response capability explained that Estonia employs CV90s as well, but not exactly the same ones.

"Compare military vehicles to everyday cars to draw parallels with the civilian world. A perfectly ordinary vehicle, such as a BMW, is available for purchase. Even in the case of combat vehicles, the interior equipment can vary substantially between countries. Estonians utilize devices of a distinct type. Additionally, the interior machinery is distinct. Each nation constructs the machine uniquely. One machine cannot produce exactly the same fundamental outcomes as another."

The Russians are drawing quick conclusions. "For example, what sensors does this machine have, how far can it see? How well can it see at night, during the day, and in fog? How effective are all of these sensors," Kolotõgin went on to explain.

The Russians will also be able to draw lessons that will take years to implement.

"What can be learned from this technology, or what has been done by Western engineers, that could be developed and implemented by the opposing side for their own benefit?" he asked.

Russia is unlikely to gain any new knowledge from analyzing the Swedish fighter, he said. "If we analyze all the Russian material that has come into our possession from public sources, we find that they have already accumulated a large number of tips. On the basis of that CV90 alone, I would not say that there is any fundamentally new knowledge."

The technology on board is not new to the Russians. "As an example, the thermal systems [cameras] used by CV are French-made and manufactured by Thales, which is no secret. In fact, the Russian tanks, such as the T72B3, are equipped with the exact same technology. They already have the same technology, they are not discovering anything new," Kolotõgin said.

Rather, the captured combat vehicle confirms what the Ukrainians have praised in the past in the case of Western equipment: that even when struck, the majority of soldiers survive.

"The fact that this team survived and is able to continue in service is the greatest technical achievement of Western technology," he said.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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