London 24 August 2010
Canada is planning a midlife upgrade of the Leopard 2 and LAV III tanks. LCol Alan Bolster, armoured vehicles
Requirements Section Head at the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), discusses the form which the upgrades will take and Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.
Upgrades in the LAV III will include increased vehicle armour coverage to better protect passengers. They also cover an extensive range of other technologies (other than add-on armour) including spall liners and ballistic blankets to capture fragments produced in an attack.
The Canadian DND has introduced new seating arrangements in a bid to address the fact that many improvised explosive device attacks (IED attacks) occur under the belly of attack vehicles. This includes suspended seats for the drivers, as well as certain other crew members, who are at a very high risk position. If the performance of their duties would traditionally involve standing on the floor, such personnel will now be provided suspended seating to isolate them from floor level incursions. Other vehicle positions who normally would be required to dismount have also been isolated from the floor and vehicles walls as these areas are typically heavily affected by blast. Thus, the new seating design will better absorb the force of IED attacks.
The implementaion of innovative techniques and technologies is required when addressing the unique terrain of Afghanistan. Equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures are all critical elements, but LCol Bolster specifically addresses the equipment element.
Ballistic protection is also part of the upgrade and the upgrades comply with STANAG 4569 (NATO standardisation agreement) to achieve a better dialogue with industry, thus providing the best possible protection for Canadian troops.
The key element with each of the upgrades is that the DND are applying a systems based approach rather than merely applying incremental upgrades (such as additional layers of appliquê armour). The Canadian DND will be looking at a number of systems inclduing new power packs as well as new hulls, suspension and tyres.
LCol Alan Bolster states: "In Canada we have been told by our senior leadership that, although the troops still must be able to accomplish their tasks, they must be able to accomplish their tasks safely. So survivability and anything we can do to enhance that and then anything we can do, or anything that has to be done, because of those enhancements, will be done."
The Canadian DND will continue to release details concerning disposal of obsolete equipment and have identified a number of fleets and equipment technologies that have excelled in operations over the years.
The Canadian DND will progressively acquire new fleets to provide capabilities to carry them into the future. Those immediate additions include the close combat vehicle, the tactical armoured patrol vehicle and the force mobility enhancement projects.
The future of Canadian vehicles encompasses soft and hard kill systems which will rely on the initiation of an active defence system project. This will allow Canada to begin spending considerable capital in the year 2015. A key consideration is how the DND will physically employ these systems on the battlefield and through urban settings. A balance between present requirements and potential requirements is required in order to avoid hindering future operations.
Listen to LCol Alan Bolster discuss the newly launched Armoured Vehicles learning centre