TechCroatia receives its first M2A2 Bradley ODS tanks, identical to those used against Russians in Ukraine

Croatia receives its first M2A2 Bradley ODS tanks, identical to those used against Russians in Ukraine

M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle
M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Images source: © Public domain | Spc. Dustin Biven

9:57 PM EST, December 11, 2023

Croatia has received its first delivery of 22 M2A2 Bradley ODS infantry combat vehicles (ICV), markedly strengthening the potency of its armed forces. This new addition will also initiate the phasing out of equipment from the Yugoslavian era. In this article, we examine the capabilities and impact of this new ICV for Croatia.

As announced by the Croatian Ministry of Interior, these 22 units of ICV M2A2 Bradley ODS are part of a donation of 89 units from the Minnesota National Guard. The Croatian armed forces have maintained a cooperative relationship with the Minnesota National Guard for over 26 years.

An agreement was signed on January 27, 2022, to transfer 89 units M2A2 Bradley ODS ICV, worth $196.4 million, to Croatia. Out of these, 62 units are planned for upgrades and restoration to operational status by Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles, situated in Slavonski Brod.

The refurbishment is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 with payments to be made from 2023 through 2028. The obtained ICVs will enable Croatia to equip two mechanized infantry battalions and meet its NATO commitments. Ultimately, this could lead to the retirement of several Yugoslavian BVP M-80s.

M2A2 Bradley ODS—An effective machine despite its age

The M2A2 Bradley ODS is an upgraded version of the earlier A2 model from the 1980s. Multiple key modifications have been made to vastly enhance the functionality and efficacy of these vehicles.

One major upgrade is the inclusion of a new laser rangefinder, along with high-tech optoelectronics featuring state-of-the-art thermal vision. This enhancement greatly improves visibility under challenging conditions such as fog or nighttime and bolsters artillery accuracy. These improvements have been particularly handy in locations like Avdiivka, Ukraine, where they've aided in the precise targeting of Russian forces.

The M2A2 Bradley is a formidable apparatus, weighing approximately 29.8 tons. It can be outfitted with BRAT reactive armor to improve protection against handheld anti-tank weaponry with cumulative warheads. It can withstand gunfire from automatic 2A42 cannons of 30mm caliber up front and is bulletproof against larger-caliber KPV machine guns of 14.5×114 mm on the sides.

The armament of the M2A2 Bradley infantry combat vehicle permits a crew of three to effectively support the six onboard assault soldiers. Its equipment comprises a rapid-fire 25mm automatic M242 Bushmaster cannon that has an effective range of just over 1.24 miles. It can dispense anti-tank or fragmentation-incendiary ammunition.

In addition to the cannon, the M2A2 Bradley is equipped with a 7.62x51 mm NATO caliber machine gun and a dual launcher for BGM-71F (TOW 2B) anti-tank guided missiles, capable of neutralizing tanks at a distance of up to around 2.34 miles. Given its sturdy resistance to anti-personnel landmines, shrapnel, or drones, the vehicle provides solid protection for onboard infantry and significant firepower.

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