The German government has approved the transfer of Soviet-era BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to Ukraine.
According to reports from Germany, a total of 56 IFVs that had previously been in service in Eastern Germany would be transferred to Ukraine to support its defense against the Russian invasion.
The vehicles are currently in possession of a Czech company. While the reports did not specify, the company in question is likely Excalibur Army, which specializes in the refurbishment of the vehicles. The same company delivered modernized BMP-1s to Ukraine in 2020.
The Czech owner needs the approval of Germany as the original owner of the vehicles to sell them to Ukraine, or any other country.
Prior to being sold to the Czech company, the vehicles also served in the Swedish Armed Forces, where they were known as the PbV-501.
Developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union, the vehicle was common across Warsaw Pact armies. Ukraine is also among those armies and would be familiar with their operation.
In addition to receiving modernized BMP-1s from the Czech Army, Ukraine has also been upgrading the vehicles locally, at the Zhytomyr Armored Plant.
The tracked amphibious IFV is a 13-ton vehicle that has an operational range of some 500 kilometers and can be fitted with 9M14 Malyutka anti-tank missiles and a range of turrets.
According to German newspaper “Welt,” which was first to report the decision, it will still take a few weeks for the BMP-1s to arrive in Ukraine, as they still have to be upgraded.
It should also be noted that the same Czech company tried to sell the IFV to Ukraine in 2019, but that plan was reportedly stopped in its tracks by the Merkel government.