KANDAHAR: The ever-increasing explosive power of roadside bombs in Afghanistan has Canada’s Defence Department and the army examining the idea of buying larger, more heavily armoured vehicles to shuttle troops around the battlefield. Defence sources in Ottawa say the department will consider “a more robust combat vehicle” as it looks toward eventually replacing the hardy LAV III, which has done yeoman’s service in the war-torn region.
Planning is only in the discussion stages, but high-level sources says “broader options” than just a straight up purchase of more light armoured vehicles are being considered. The idea would be to pick a vehicle “somewhere between a battle tank and a light (armoured) vehicle” for soldiers to use in close combat. Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of defence staff, said recently that the military is starting to look for a replacement for the LAV III, given the way the Afghan war is chewing up the army’s stock fighting vehicles.
The army is interested in buying the next generation of light armoured vehicle, known as the LAV-H, which is heavier, longer, better armoured and engineered with the lessons of Afghanistan in mind. But defence sources say that consideration is also being given to acquiring some kind of tracked carrier, possibly between 30 to 35 tonnes in weight. “The Americans, the Germans, the British and the Dutch, the Danes are all looking at their next families of vehicles (and) they’ll probably be track,” said one source.
American forces have for years used the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, which carries just as many soldiers and has the same 25 mm chain gun armament as a LAV. But the Bradley has much more armour to withstand bombs and runs on tracks, not wheels.-SANA