Canada Up-Armoring its LAV-IIIs
The Government of Canada recently awarded “EODC Engineering, Developing and Licencing Inc.” of Ottawa, Canada C$ 81.5 million (about $65.5 million ) worth of contracts to provide for add-on-armour kits, modules and spares for its LAV III wheeled armored personnel carriers. LAV-III vehicles are known as Piranha-III in Europe, and are the base platform for the USA’s Stryker family of vehicles. Canadian LAV-IIIs have seen extensive use on the front lines of Afghanistan, where they have both achieved important successes and demonstrated key limitations.
The first, C$ 68 million contract, includes kits, modules, and spares for LAV III supplemental armor, as well as the repair and overhaul of their current modules and kits. An additional contract estimated at C$ 13.5 million was also awarded to EODC to provide “an Improvised Explosive Device Protection Kit.” The government release adds that EODC is the sole-source supplier because it owns the intellectual property rights. As the CASR think tank points out, Engineering Office Deisenroth Canada (EODC) is a subsidiary of Germany’s IBD Deisenroth; and IBD Deisenroth’s site makes it clear that Canadian LAVs have already started to use AMAP-IED armor.
Deisenroth makes the MEXAS armoring that has outfitted Canadian LAVs and Leopard 1A5 tanks. Its more advanced AMAP line offers greater protection against medium-caliber small arms fire, fragmentation, and rockets. There’s also a dedicated AMAP-IED product, whose combination of materials and spacings provides good side protection against a range of threats that include land mine blasts and even EFP(explosively formed projectile) side-attacks. Under-belly armor is also part of the kit and offers additional land mine protection, though the LAV-III’s base design is not optimized against this threat in the same way as the v-hulled MRAPs. Government of Canada release | CASR.
Note that even perfect armor may not solve the problem completely. AMAP-IED may be an important step forward in general protection, and offers insurance against a casualty spike if EFP mines become more prevalent in theater. Past casualty reports, however, indicate that many of the LAV-III’s mine-related casualties were blast pressure injuries to soldiers who are riding with part of body outside a vehicle hatch. This is the result of a tradeoff between the need for all-around awareness, and the benefits of having locals see your faces and presence; versus the need for protection.