After long refraining from sending high-performance tanks to Ukraine, the US has decided to deliver 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) units to Kiev. These are part of Washington’s latest $2.8 billion military assistance package.
The move by the Americans is very important because it could prompt the Germans to make a similar decision and send the redoubtable Leopard 2 to Ukraine.
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Russia’s ambassador to Washington has said that by sending BFV to Ukraine, the US has entered a “dangerous course”.
The BFV is built by BAE Systems Land & Armaments and entered active service in the 1980s. The tank is named after American General Omar Bradley, who distinguished himself in World War II.
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The 40-ton vehicle is an agile, fast, well-protected troop carrier with fearsome offensive capabilities. The Bradley can reach a top speed of 61 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h in 22 seconds. It has a crew of three and can carry six soldiers.
In terms of armament, the Bradley normally has a 25 mm automatic cannon (M242), a BGM-71 TOW rocket launcher and a 7.62 mm machine gun. The BFV can destroy enemy vehicles, including tanks, up to 5 km away.
But perhaps the most important feature for Ukrainian soldiers is the vehicle’s ability to operate excellently at night, thanks to advanced thermal imaging systems. Most Russian vehicles have limited technology of this kind.
The Bradley will not appear on the Ukrainian front immediately, as it will take at least several weeks to train crews. Most likely, the BFV will see action, on the Ukrainian side, this spring.