Croatia has reached an agreement with the United States to buy 89 Bradley vehicles as part of cooperation with Washington and plans as a member of NATO to form an infantry brigade, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Wednesday. Croatia has been negotiating the purchase of U.S. Bradley M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles since 2017. The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Croatia of refurbishment/modernization and support for seventy-six (76) M2A2 ODS Bradley Fighting vehicles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $757 million on December 1, 2020.
Croatia will receive 62 fighting vehicles, 22 vehicles for reserve parts and five training vehicles. Croatia’s government is expected to formally endorse the $196 million (173 million-euro) deal at a session on Thursday. Plenkovic said the price includes an American donation of $51 million (45 million euros). Croatia also purchased 12 Rafale fighter jets last year from France. Croatia, which is a member of NATO and the European Union, is in a mini arms race with neighboring Russian ally Serbia amid simmering tensions in the post-war Balkan region. They will starting arriving in 2023 and will be serviced in Croatia in the future.
The M2 Bradley IFV is an American infantry fighting vehicle that is a member of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle family. It is manufactured by BAE Systems Land & Armaments, which was formerly United Defense. The Bradley IFV was developed largely in response to the amphibious Soviet BMP family of infantry fighting vehicles, and to serve as both an Armored personnel carrier (APC), and a tank-killer. The M2A2 Bradley was introduced in the U.S. Army in 1988. It is an improved version of the standard vehicle Bradley M2A1. After Operation Desert Storm (First Gulf War in 1991), the M2A2 was upgraded again with the addition of an eye-safe carbon dioxide laser rangefinder, global positioning system, combat identification system, and thermal viewer for the driver. The 1,423 M2A2 Bradleys brought up to this standard were referred to as M2A2 ODS (Operation Desert Storm).
The M2A2 ODS emerged as part of a two-phased M2A2 modernization plan designed to implement lessons learned from over ten years of mechanized Infantry experience and to correct deficiencies noted during Operation Desert Storm. The addition of PGS/POSNAV enhances the M2A2 ODS’ ability to maneuver with the rest of the combined arms team. Crew survivability is also enhanced with the integration of Battlefield Combat Identification System and a Missile Countermeasure device. The M2A2 Bradley is armed with an ATK Gun Systems Company M242 25 mm Bushmaster Chain Gun with a 7.62 mm M240C machine gun mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament. The Javelin anti-tank missile replaced the earlier Dragon in the M2A2 restow, and five TOWs or three TOWs and two Javelins could be carried.