The Ministry of Defense of Slovakia hopes to receive government authorization for the purchase of an armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV). The Ministry of Defense intends to seek cabinet approval for the purchase of AIFV Vydra (“Otter”) 8×8. Ultimately, the Ministry of Defense plans to acquire 81 of these vehicles at a cost of around 400 million euros ($460 million), although an initial batch purchase may be limited to 17 units. .
The Slovak government has voted in favor of the Finnish 8×8 Country Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) chassis as the basis for a prototype of the new wheeled IFV on November 15, 2017 (Image source: Army Recognition)
8×8 Vydra vehicles are part of a larger replacement plan for the Slovak Army’s Soviet heritage inventory BMP-1 and BMP-2 models that have an average of 50 years of service. The other element of the long-term replacement plan involves the purchase of 404 smaller AIFV 4×4 models. The goal is to procure both models by 2029.
Obtaining permission for the supply should be relatively easy as the government has previously voted in favor of the Finnish 8×8 Country Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) chassis as the basis for a prototype of the new wheeled IFV on November 15, 2017. Public defense company Konstrukta Defense then unveiled its prototype Vydra 8×8 model on December 6, 2017, which featured a Turret without EVPU Turra pilot equipped with a Russian 2A42 30mm autocannon.
In total, a contract for the Vydra would involve up to 16 Slovak companies and one Czech defense company throughout the series production cycle, giving a boost to Slovakia’s struggling local defense sector which has continued a long decline since the collapse of Soviet-ruled Warsaw. Pact and dissolution of the former Czechoslovakia within the framework of the “velvet divorce” of January 1, 1993 with the Czech Republic.
A full 81-unit order for the 8×8 Vydra will include the standard IFV variant, as well as armored command and control, communications, engineering, armored recovery and armored ambulance variants. The Slovak Ministry of Defense hopes to deliver the entire batch of these vehicles between 2019 and 2024.
After years and years of utter neglect of its armed forces, Slovakia is on a slow but of course steady reversal. Decades of budget neglect left the Slovak Armed Forces little more than a police force tasked with certain out-of-theatre missions. Following Russia’s takeover of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, the Slovak government sought to reverse the decline of the armed forces and wean them off dependence on military equipment. Russian origin by making a new effort of modernization. The AIFV procurement is part of this broader recapitalization effort.