The OT-90 is another variant of the BMP-1 family, which was also built under licence in Czechoslovakia.

The BMP-1 was an extremely popular infantry fighting vehicle during the cold war. With more than 20,000 units produced, it is even still used by both the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Russia in the current ongoing war in Ukraine due to the fact that the vehicle is much more widely available compared to the more modern BMP-3. Like other combat vehicles of the Soviet era, the BMP-1 existed in many variations to suit the requirements of the operators.

In Czechoslovakia, the BMP-1 was produced under license in quantities up to 18,000 units. The OT-90 is another variant of the BMP-1 family, which was also built under licence in Czechoslovakia, with its complete two-man turret removed and replaced by the OT-64C turret. It is armed with 14,5mm KPVT and 7,62mm PKT machine guns.

From 1972 to 1988, the plant in Dubnia supplied a total of 5,100 BMP-1 vehicles to the former USSR. This amounted to around 70 per cent of total production in Czechoslovakia during this period. The reason some BMP-1s were converted to the OT-90 configuration was due to the fact that the BMP-1 was thought to be Tank Category, because of its 73 mm gun barrel, under the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) treaty. The OT-90 was operated by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is known that 60 OT-90s are operated by the Slovak Army.

This conversion was initiated by the conclusion of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe in Paris on November 19, 1990 and the Agreement on Maximum Levels of Conventional Arms and Technology, which was signed on March 11, 1990 in Budapest. Within the limits set by these treaties, the Czechoslovak army could have a maximum of 2,050 armored combat vehicles in its arsenal. Accordingly, the BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles were reconstructed into armored personnel carriers.

The conversion to the OT-90 saved several hundred BVP-1 vehicles from being scrapped, but at the cost of the fact that the “new” armored personnel carrier had a large number of shortcomings. Due to the urgent nature of the conversion, the quality of the OT-90 was in many cases very poor.

Between 1990 and 1991, a total of 620 BVP-1s were modified to the OT-90 standard. After the dissolution of the federation, the ACR took over 413 of them in its arsenal. In 2008, three OT-90s were probably delivered to the Central African Republic from Slovakia.

Already at the beginning of the operation of the OT-90 in the units, a number of their shortcomings came to light, which were solved as part of the modernization of the OT-90M1 and OT-90M2.


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