FLCV: Canada Looks to Upgrade Its Armor
In late November 2008, Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) announced its intention to combine 3 programs into one general set of upgrades to its armored vehicle fleets. The C$ 5 billion meta-program would include:
(1) “Close Combat Vehicles” that perform as tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles or Armored Personnel Carriers, alongside Canada’s new Leopard 2A6 tanks. Canada’s wheeled LAV-IIIs showed limitations in Afghanistan. Canada’s old M113 tracked APCs were a successful supplement, but the Canadians appear to be leaning toward a heavier vehicle for their future CCV. (2) A new “Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle” that’s similar to the blast-resistant vehicle buys in other NATO countries. (3) LAV-UP upgrades to the existing LAV-III 8×8 wheeled APC fleet completed the set. July 2009 saw the roster expand to add (4) “FME”: dedicated Armored Engineering Vehicles based on the Leopard 2 tank, and engineering-related attachments for Canada’s new Leopard 2 tanks.
The “Close Combat Vehicle” appeared to be the most urgent purchase, but Canada’s procurement approach wasn’t structured to deliver urgency, and CCV has suffered the most from that failure. CCV is now the last unresolved contract, but all 4 sub-programs failed to deliver vehicles in time to help Canada in Afghanistan. Even so, all 4 programs continue to move forward.
The Close Combat Vehicle (canceled)
The CCV wasn’t replacing a vehicle in the current Canadian Forces fleet. Instead, it is meant to bridge the gap between 5t-20t light armoured vehicles and main battle tanks. A 2008 Ottawa Citizen report drove the mobility point home:
“Defence sources say the current LAV-3 does not have the mobility needed for the job in off-road conditions. The likely preferred option is to go for a tracked vehicle.”
Initial 2009 plans called for 108 CCVs, with an option for up to 30 more, and they aimed at a “competitive military off-the-shelf approach” for vehicles between 25t – 45t. Which could encompass almost every IFV on the market.
The project’s definition phase included a solicitation of interest and qualifications (SOIQ), and a request for proposals (RFP) in April 2010. The program’s history since that date was a train wreck, as the timeline below shows.
The competition was stopped and re-started twice before its final cancellation, and each re-start cost participants around C$ 2 million each in bid expenses.
The first time, all contenders were reportedly eliminated from the Canadian competition for not meeting the armor requirements. That’s an odd outcome when a defense department is supposedly aiming its RFP at military-off-the-shelf vehicles.
The competition was restarted with relaxed requirements, but apparently those in charge of this “off the shelf” buy didn’t check to see which platforms might meet the new specifications. The re-launched competition would have designated a winner by the fall of 2012, but in April 2012, the CCV competition was stopped again. The government claimed that after testing, none of the finalist vehicles met its requirements. They reportedly “planned to request the firms invest more money to produce new technology to rectify those problems.”
That kind of investment might happen after a minor 100 vehicle order, or as a paid part of a final contract. It’s unlikely to happen beforehand, unless the changes were already in the works for other reasons. Especially when there’s widespread doubt that DND will see the competition through to a contract. Which turned out to be completely justified.
One alternative might involve upgrading existing M113s with cage and/or explosive reactive armor, a higher caliber turret or remote weapon system, and the engines and transmissions used in M113A3 variants. Australia has taken this approach, albeit without the full explosive reactive armor protection required to defeat early model Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) anti-tank rockets.
Canada ‘s own M113 Life Extension Project has been underway since 2000, but its aim has mostly been to improve maintenance with new engines and transmissions, while converting most of Canada’s M113s to specialty support variants. This makes those M113s less than ideal candidates for the CCV role, since the ambulance capability would have to be replaced. At 12.3 tonnes, the base M113 is also underweight for Canada’s stated requirements.
Still, the multiple failures of the CCV program may leave Canada little choice. If ambulance needs could be covered by a blast-resistant TAPV contender, upgrading some of the M113s might become more attractive than having nothing.
BAE Hagglunds’ CV90 series was a finalist for the revised RFP, and remains a strong contender. This popular armored vehicle comes in a number of variants, including IFV troop carriers with turret options ranging from 30mm-40mm, up-gunned 105mm and even 120mm assault guns and tank killers (105 or 120T), reconnaissance and forward observation (FOV), C2 forward command (FCV or COM), armored recovery (ARV), and a 40mm anti-aircraft model (AAV). Canada had expressed interest during the vehicle’s initial development, but backed out; a purchase now would make them its 7th customer, alongside Sweden, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.
BAE appears to have chosen to offer this IFV for the competition, instead of the American Bradley. If Canada does purchase CV90s, there have been rumors that it might adopt that same approach used to buy Leopard 2 tanks: immediate lease from an existing owner to get the vehicles into the field quickly, followed by a longer-term purchase or lease-to-buy arrangement. Sweden would be the most likely lease owner candidate, and CV90s have already seen combat in Afghanistan with Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish forces.
Some of those combat-proven CV90s have even received upgrades, as a result of their service in theater.
In November 2007, CV90s saw heavy combat during Operation Harekate Yolo in Afghanistan, where they were used alongside outnumbered Norwegian 2nd battalion and Kystjegerkommandoen troops to beat down a Taliban attack on in the Ghowrmach district, near Mazar-e-Sharif. In May 2008, 2nd battalion used them during Operation Karez in Badghis Province. An attempted Taliban ambush used heavy machine gun fire and RPG volleys, which could have been devastating against unarmored or lightly armored vehicles. Instead, 2nd battalion used its CV90s to kill the ambushers. Norwegian casualties? None.
In 2010, Norwegian CV90s arrived in Afghanistan with a new wrinkle, derived from these Norwegian experiences, and from BAE’s work on its Canadian CCV bid. They added tracks from Soucy in Quebec, with rubber pads. The new tracks performed very well, matching steel tracks in general performance, even as they cut weight by around 1,000 kg, noise by 50%, and equipment-destroying vibrations by 65%.
The tracked German Puma IFV was touted in a number of press reports as a contender, and Rheinmetall has participated in initial bid qualifications. Canada would become the vehicle’s 2nd customer behind Germany, who has ordered the vehicles but hasn’t fielded them yet. As such, this option offers no possibility of immediate bridging leases, or lease-to-buy arrangements from an existing customer. In any event, KMW and Rheinmetall appear to have decided, twice now, not to bid it.
BAE’s M2A3 Bradley IFV is another vehicle in that category, which would be available as rapid-delivery vehicles from the US Army and its Bradley remanufacturing lines. It has also been absent from press mentions to date, as BAE prefers to offer the CV90 as its tracked contender.
Preferences also seem to have doomed General Dynamics’ ASCOD (Pizarro/ Ulan) tracked vehicle, which won the British FRES-SV competition, and is expected to begin deliveries around 2015. It’s a heavy IFV that serves with Spain and Austria, and like the CV90 and Bradley, a number of variants have been developed. Variants include Air defense, Ambulance, Artillery spotting, Command & Control, Mortar carrier, ATGM tank-killer, and the LT 105 light tank with a 105 mm gun.
Despite their successful use by British forces in Afghanistan, and the presence of Bv206 vehicles that performed well with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group during Afghanistan’s Operation Anaconda, the much lighter BvS10 tracked all terrain armored vehicle falls below DND’s weight threshold, and has not been mentioned in reports to date. Canada appears to prefer a heavier vehicle with a demonstrated capacity to defeat RPG rounds, over the BvS family’s better air and ground mobility.
The surprise of Canada’s CCV competition has been bids offering wheeled vehicles, despite the inability of Canada’s existing LAV-III 8×8 APCs to handle Afghan terrain. The government had specified desired mobility levels for CCV, but did not specify tracks or wheels.
“Piranha” is the European designation for GD MOWAG’s vehicles, so a Piranha III and a LAV-III are extremely similar. General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada offered their Piranha V, a follow-on development of that 8×8 wheeled platform. It was a finalist in the 2nd CCV RFP, and would come equipped with Rheinmetall’s Lance turret.
France has picked Nexter’s VBCI 8×8 wheeled vehicle to replace its tracked IFV fleet, but they remain its sole customer. The vehicle is in production, and deliveries have begun. Its CTAS 40mm turret with telescoped ammunition remains a unique offering in the field. VBCI was the 2nd of 3 finalists for the 2nd CCV RFP.
Germany and The Netherlands’ Boxer MRAV reportedly offers a more modular approach than its wheeled competitors, thanks to its ability to switch out different carrier modules for different missions. On the other hand, it has encountered acceptance delays in the Netherlands, and had its acceptance criteria changed by Germany so it could induct the vehicles and send them to Afghanistan. German Boxer units are currently serving in theater. The Boxer’s ARTEC consortium of Rheinmetall and KMW was a pre-qualified bidder for the 2nd RFP, but wasn’t a finalist.
The Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (Textron Commando)
The second program, for an armored Tactical Patrol Vehicle, was more ambiguous. Canada currently operates 50-75 RG-31 Nyala “Armoured Patrol Vehicles” in Afghanistan, which have had some maintenance issues but performed well as route-clearance vehicles and convoy leads. A handful of heavier Cougar 6×6 and Buffalo vehicles currently round out Canada’s blast-resistant vehicle fleet, with 50 more on the way. They are accompanied by a large number of Mercedes G-Wagen vehicles, whose protection level is very low – far too low for deployment as a patrol vehicle in combat zones.
The renamed TAPV program involves 500 vehicles, with an option for another 100. An initial 300 TAPV General Utility Vehicle variants will replace the current RG-31 Armoured Patrol Vehicle. They will carry a crew of 3, plus 4 equipped passengers and a Kongsberg dual-weapon remote-controlled turret (RWS) up top. According to DND, TAPV will “complement” the existing Mercedes G-Wagen LUV-W.
Canada’s LAV 2 Coyote reconnaissance vehicles will be replaced in part with another 200 TAPV reconnaissance variants, which will carry a crew of 4, plus a one-man turret or a RWS, and surveillance equipment mounted on an extensible mast.
The procurement process was set up as a competitive military off-the-shelf acquisition. The question was whether TAPV will end up buying MRAP size blast-resistant vehicles, or wind up as something closer to the American/Australian JLTV competition’s lighter 7-10 ton vehicle set, with far better off-road and urban mobility. The reported list of qualified bidders and offerings suggested something much closer to the MRAP model, and that’s more or less what they got:
- BAE Hagglunds – Alligator (SEP) 6×6.
- BAE OMC – RG-31 Mk5 and RG-35.
- Force Protection/ CAE/ Lockheed Martin Canada/ Elbit – Cougar family, already serves with the Canadian Forces.
- Nexter – Aravis.
- Oshkosh/ LMI – M-ATV.
- Textron – presumably their M1117 derivative. The original M1117 failed American MRAP testing, but the TAPV variant was Canada’s pick.
- Thales – Bushmaster.
A letter of interest (LOI) and price and availability (P&A) was issued in summer 2009 to identify potential bidders, followed by a solicitation of interest and qualification (SOIQ) and a request for proposals (RFP). It took until June 2012 for a contract award, and Textron’s M1117-derived TAPV vehicles are scheduled for delivery from 2014-2016.
The original M1117 ASV 4×4 had a 29,500 pound curb weight, but Textron’s TAPV 4×4 rises to a curb weight of 32,500 pounds. Given that the original M1117 failed American MRAP tests, additional weight and protection are a good idea. With space for 3 grew and up to 4 soldiers, Textron’s TAPV covers the usual MRAP-class gamut of patrol, convoy protection, command and control, utility, ambulance or personnel carrier missions. It can also be configured as a mortar carrier.
The Canadian Textron TAPV core team includes Textron Land & Marine Systems, plus:
- EODC – Engineering Office Deisenroth Canada in Ottawa, ON (armoring solutions)
- Kongsberg Protech Systems Canada in London, ON (Protector DRWS dual-weapon station)
- Rheinmetall Canada in St. Jean sur Richelieu, PQ (manufacturing)
Other suppliers will include:
- Allison (6-speed transmission)
- Cummins (“QSL 365” 365 hp, 1113 lb-ft torque engine)
- Hutchinson (run-flat tire inserts)
- Michelin in Waterville, NS (16.00R20 XZL tires)
- Evraz North America in Regina, SK
- General Kinetics in Brampton, ON
- Mobile Climate Control in Vaughan, ON
- Ontario Drive and Gear in New Hamburg, ON
- SED Systems in Saskatoon, SK
LAV-IIIs, and the RESET/RECAP Imperative
The 3rd vehicle program involves Canada’s LAV-III fleet, which is being ground down by Afghan operations. This problem isn’t unique to the LAV-III platform – they’re just grappling with the same vehicle wear issues experienced by the Americans, British, and Dutch. From the Ottawa Citizen:
“All of our equipment is either deployed, being reset, used in training or broken and waiting either labour or spare parts,” wrote army commander Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie in the January  report.”
Canada’s LAV-III Upgrade Program (LAV UP) officially aimed to extend the fleet’s life span to 2035, which strongly implies a full RESET, similar to the efforts by the US Army to restore its vehicles to “zero mile” configuration. At present, the CASR think tank states that “All Afghan-deployed LAV IIIs must be rotated out for refit and repair every 12 months”, but this is more akin to depot maintenance than a RESET’s full dis-assembly.
Canada’s LAV UP also includes a slew of major improvements. It will add mobility upgrades to the vehicles’ powertrain (450hp Caterpillar C-9 engine), v5.5 driveline and suspension, plus improved steering, running gear and brakes. The end result will be a payload increase of 10,000 pounds, which can be used for improved armor and weapons. What it didn’t seem to add was the blast-deflecting double v-hulls that have been fitted to a portion of the US Army’s LAV-III Stryker fleet.
A 570 Amp alternator will add more internal electrical power, while interior and exterior LED lighting lessens power demands in that area. Vectronics commander’s display, digital intercom, secondary displays and a modern driver’s instrument panel round out the electronics upgrade package.
Canada’s project will upgrade 550 vehicles, with an option for an additional 80. They will assume the CCV’s role, despite the LAV-III Afghan mobility issues that prompted the CCV effort in the first place.
In the meantime, the LAV LORIT (LAV Operational Requirements Integration Task) program made immediate changes to vehicles serving in Afghanistan. The LORIT program covers 141 vehicles. It standardizes common field modifications, like using Hesco Bastion insta-barrier frames as extra stowage bins that provide side-mounted blast protection. LORIT also adds Armatec energy-absorbing seats that reduce spinal injuries from transmitted blast shock, a protective machine gunner’s cupola with glass vision ports, additional composite armor mounted below the troop compartment, and weight-saving aluminum wheel rims.
Force Mobility Enhancement: Heavy Engineering
In July 2009, DND announced a 4th component to FCLV, the Force Mobility Enhancement (FME) project. FME will involve a fleet of Armored Engineer Vehicles (AEV) and Armored Recovery Vehicles (ARV) that will support the Leopard 2 tanks, LAV III, and future fleets, including the Close Combat Vehicle and the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle. The FME project will also install “tactical mobility” (combat engineering) implements on the fleet of Leopard 2 main battle tanks, something that was done very successfully with Canada’s Leopard 1s.
Canada has picked Rheinmetall’s BPz-3 Buffel as its Leopard 2 derivative “ARV-3” (4 vehicles?), and FFG’s WISENT as its AEV (13 vehicles). Because the FME project is closely connected to Canada’s Leopard 2 tank buy, it is covered within that article. See “Tanks for the Lesson: Leopards, too, for Canada.”
Contracts and Key Events
CCV program canceled again, probably for good.
Dec 20/13: CCV canceled. The Canadian government wasn’t able to manage the CCV buy in a timely manner, so it was never fielded where it was needed. With predictable results. CCV is canceled:
“The CCV platform was envisioned to bridge the protection, mobility, and firepower gap between a Light Armoured Vehicle and a Main Battle Tank. However, since the beginning of the Land Combat Vehicles program in 2009, we have seen significant capability that have addressed the protection concerns. The capabilities of the Upgraded Light Armoured Vehicle III are far superior to what was originally envisioned. Additionally, considerable investment in our Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities; significant advances in Counter-IED; and the Canadian Army’s improvements in its tactics, techniques and procedures have all resulted in significant mitigation of tactical risk to our soldiers in deployed combat operations.”
One of the finalists, France’s Nexter minces no words, while bringing Canada’s consistent vaporware problem (q.v. April 24/12) into focus:
“Nexter has invested a great amount of time, energy and resources in the CCV program over the past four years. Millions of dollars have been spent because we believed the competition would be fair, open and provide a rigorous assessment of the candidate vehicles with a view to acquiring the best possible medium weight infantry fighting vehicle for Canada…. The LAV UP simply does not provide the same level of protection or mobility. This situation also begs the question as to why the Army proceeded with a second CCV Request for Proposals (RFP) six months after it awarded GDLS the LAV UP contract in 2011. It knew the capabilities of both vehicles at that time yet decided to proceed with another RFP and engaged industry in another costly competition…. it would be our expectation that the Government would compensate industry bidders for the cost of their bids. No company can afford to make such considerable investments only to have the process produce no result.”
Sources: Canada DND, “News Release – Government of Canada Will not Proceed with the Close Combat Vehicle Procurement” and “Statement – Chief of the Defence Staff and Army Commander issue a joint statement on the decision not to proceed with the procurement process for the Close Combat Vehicle” | Nexter, “Nexter Comments on Government’s Decision to Cancel the CCV” | The Record, “Cost-cutting military kills $2-billion armoured vehicle order”.
CCV canceled again
Oct 11/13: CCV. The Canadian Press has obtained a partially-censored version of an official Oct 26/12 report regardiung the C$ 2.1 billion CCV program. Short version? The government has underestimated likely infrastructure costs to house and maintain the vehicles, the extended maintenance contract could become problematic given a possible 22% budget cut for the Army, and the Army’s training budget ius down 50%, too.
If the government proceeds, a cancellation clause may be necessary in case budgets prove insufficient. Which would create particular problems for contractors’ willingness to invest. Sources: CTV News, $2.1B armoured vehicle purchase hangs in balance as army frets about cost”.
Oct 28/13: CCV. Saab is partnering with BAE System for the CCV program, and they name ABB Analytical to source, supply and produce an electro-optic control system. It’s a small effort involving about 50 jobs for ABB and sub-contractors in Quebec and Ontario. On the other hand, Saab touts a 25 year history of executing industrial offset obligations in Canada. Sources: Saab Group, “Saab partners on bid for $2 billion Close Combat Vehicle Program in Canada”.
Aug 7/13: TAPV. Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&LS) has made its initial TAPV pre-production shipments, as the firm prepares for full-rate production in January 2014.
The 1st pre-production vehicle is at Aberdeen Test Center, MD for qualification testing from July – December 2013. Number 2 is at Rheinmetall Canada in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec for Land Communication Information System training and electro optical technical training. Rheinmetall also has #3 and #4 for vehicle integration work, and expects to receive #5 & 6 soon.
Late August 2013 should see 5 pre-production TAPVs sent to Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec for 2 weeks of Operator and Gunner Operator Training, followed by RAMD (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Durability) testing at Valcartier until about April 2014. Sources: Textron Systems, Aug 7/13 release.
Jan 24/13: TAPV. Textron Systems Canada Inc. announces a C$ 100 million sub-contract to Kongsberg Protech Systems Canada (KPS), to develop the TAPV’s planned Dual Remote Weapon Station (DRWS). DRWS is a twin-weapon turret and sensor array that can be operated by the vehicle’s commander or its gunner from under armor. It isn’t a fielded product yet, and developing it would solidify Kongsberg’s position as a global leader in that market.
This C$ 100 million award is part of the Oct 31/12 sub-contract between Textron Systems and Rheinmetall (q.v.), which was worth C$ 205 million in total. It’s also considered to be part of the project’s Industrial Regional Benefits, since it’s developing the KPS facility in London, ON. It’s certainly a benefit to Konsberg, and could lead to export opportunities. Right now, at 16 jobs sustained and 16 more added, the cost per job for Canada is over C$ 3 million per. Textron.
Textron wins TAPV; TAPV sub-contract; LAV-UP adds more vehicles; CCV cock-up, again – it’s a symptom of a larger problem for Canada’s defence industry.
Nov 9/12: LAV-UP. Canada exercises a C$ 151 million option to add another 66 LAV-III 8×8 wheeled APC upgrades (vid. Oct 21/11 entry), bringing the program’s totals to 616 vehicles and C$ 1.215 billion.
These vehicles will be dedicated to reconnaissance, a function currently assigned to Canada’s aging LAV-II Coyote fleet. Their extensible surveillance turrets have been very valuable in Afghanistan, and a more modern version is an important addition to Canada’s forces. Most of the Coyote’s replacements will be actually be mine-resistant TAPVs, with some heavier LAV-IIIs added per this contract.
Canada’s Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) Policy applies, which means that General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada will be required to re-invest 100% of the contract value in business activities in the Canadian economy. Since all of Canada’s LAV-IIIs, and America’s LAV-II and Stryker vehicles, are made in Canada, that shouldn’t be too hard. Canada’s Public Works | GDLS-Canada.
LAV-UP: Recon option
Oct 31/12: TAPV. Rheinmetall AG announces a EUR 160 million/ C$ 205 million TAPV sub-contract from Textron Systems Canada Inc. The contract breaks down as EUR 120 million in the production phase for final assembly, integration, and testing in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec; and EUR 40 million for Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) as the primary in-service support hub for the 500 vehicle fleet from 2014-2021.
Textron’s TAPV team also includes Kongsberg Protech Systems Canada in London, ON for the remote weapon system, and Engineering Office Deisenroth Canada in Ottawa, ON for vehicle armor. Rheinmetall Defence.
Sept 5/12: CCV. Responses are in for the 3rd CCV RFP. Confirmed submissions once again include BAE’s tracked CV90 family, Nexter’s wheeled VBCI-25, and General Dynamics’ Piranha V with Rheinmetall’s Lance 30mm turret. Ottawa Citizen.
June 8/12: TAPV Winner. Team Textron wins the TAPV award with a heavier M1117 derivative. The initial C$ 603.4 million (currently $588 million) contract involves 500 vehicles, with another 100 on option.
Overall, Canada’s Treasury Board has budgeted FY 2012 C$ 1.25 billion for acquisition and 25 years of support. The initial buy is C$ 603.4 million (currently $588 million), with an initial 5-year, C$ 105.4 million in-service support contract, all excluding GST/HST tax. Support contracts can be extended yearly, using up to 20 extensions. This agreement also commits Team Textron to re-investing at least 25% of the acquisition contract and 40% of the sustainment contract to manufacture and support the TAPV in Canada, as part of its required C$ 708.7 million in industrial offsets. Textron’s Canadian assets include Bell Helicopter Canada, so that total shouldn’t be too hard. Canada DND | Textron | Kongsberg.
April 28/12: CCV cancelled, again. CCV bidders are told that their bids had been rejected, and are asked to invest their own money to make changes to their vehicle designs. That might be realistic as part of a contract win, but not as part of a chancy bid, for a small 100-vehicle order, amidst widespread doubts that CCV will ever turn into a contract. Especially since the competition was explicitly supposed to involve “off-the-shelf” vehicles. The Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese:
“Industry representatives were left angry and puzzled about this latest development in the project and they blame Defence Department bureaucrats for once again bungling another military procurement… “There were no technically compliant bids,” [Public Works and Government Services Canada spokesman Sebastien] Bois stated in an email. “Our procedures call for the cancellation of the solicitation in such an event.”… Some in industry… point to a meeting that was supposed to be scheduled in late March in Ottawa between company representatives and DND procurement officials… that meeting was abruptly cancelled with no explanation… other government officials objected to the DND meeting, noting the acquisition process was already well underway and that DND could not now alter the procurement rules in mid-stream.”
See also CASR op-ed regarding the process.
CCV canceled, again
April 24/12: Canada’s vaporware problem. The title of this Ottawa Citizen article says it all: “Canada’s Defence Industry Pays the Price for DND’s Screwed-Up Procurements, Say Company Representatives.” Adding Public Works Canada would have made the title too long, but would be justified, as they add another layer of bureaucracy and have plagued other projects like the CASW grenade launcher. Industry’s complaint involves the large number of Canadian defense “competitions” that end up being canceled and re-started, often several times, and which sometimes end up as “vaporware” competitions that don’t lead to any contracts. As one industry participant writes:
“[Responding to] a CCV or a TAPV bid is NON-TRIVIAL… [involves] establishing/funding a proposal team of about 24 people for 6 months… that costs the company [CDN] $2.4M (approximately) in non-recoverable expenses… On a typical defence project/contract, the contractor usually makes about a 10% fee (profit) IF THEY ARE LUCKY. So the $10 million they might have to spend chasing DND contracts that “never happen” is equivalent to the lost profit equivalent to successfully executing a $100M contract… Most Canadian defence contractors don’t even make that 10% profit margin – they face a loss because having any schedule delays on a FIXED-PRICE contract with DND immediately eats into the potential profit… for instance, you are funding a project team of 100 engineers which is not uncommon).”
Billion-dollar LAV-UP contract; Canadian election produced majority government; CCV: qualified bidders listed, finalists in for testing; TAPV’s competing partnerships announced.
Oct 21/11: LAV-UP. General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada is awarded the contract for the LAV-III Upgrade Project’s implementation phase. The C$ 1.064 billion project (similar value in American dollars), will upgrade 550 LAV IIIs, extending their lifespan to 2035. See above for details.
Most of the work, and jobs, will involve GDLS-C’s plant in London, ON, which also makes LAV-III (Stryker) variants for the US military. The project will also sustain about 110 jobs in Edmonton, AB. With American Stryker orders about to end, it’s a timely contract. Government of Canada | CASR | GDLS-C LAV UP Brochure [PDF].
August 2011: CCV. The 3 finalist CCV suppliers (BAE’s tracked CV90, GDLS-C’s Piranha V, and Nexter’s VBCI) reportedly provide test vehicles for blast and other trials, at the US Army’s Aberdeen Test Center. Supposedly, the end of tests in October 2011 will be followed by a decision, initial delivery of 8 CCVs within 24 months, and the remaining 100 CCVs within 48 months.
Word is that Rheinmetall declined to bid its Puma, or its concept of an upgraded Marder. CASR.
Aug 29/11: CCV. General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada announces [PDF] that its CCV bid will be GD MOWAG’s Piranha V 8×8 wheeled vehicle, fitted with Rheinmetall’s 2-man Lance 30mm Modular Turret System. Lance is expected to have a future unmanned option. Their vehicle bid choice excludes GD’s tracked ASCOD IFV, which serves with Spain and Austria, and recently won Britain’s FRES-SV competition.
GDLS-C will be the prime contractor, and will manufacture and assemble the Piranha 5 chassis at the same London, ON factory that builds LAVs and Strykers for the US military, and has built Canada’s LAV-IIs and LAV-IIIs. Rheinmetall’s Lance 30mm turret technology would be transferred to the Rheinmetall Canada facility in Saint-Jean-sur Richelieu, QC, for full turret production. Armatec Survivability Canada of Dorchester, ON, will offer a survivability suite of advanced composite materials and energy-absorbing troop and crew seating. The remainder of the team will be drawn from GDLS’ widespread Canadian supplier base.
May 24/11: TAPV. Force Protection announces the addition of Elbit Systems and Lockheed Martin Canada to their TAPV bid team.
Lockheed Martin will be the project’s C4ISR(Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) integrator. Elbit’s Dual RWS combines a 40mm grenade machine gun with a 7.62mm GPMG in its unmanned turret, which includes a range of advanced surveillance optics. The optics and guns are all operated from a joystick station inside the vehicle. Final assembly would take place in Nova Scotia, Canada.
May 2/11: Election. Canada’s Conservative Party wins an election forced by the opposition parties, and ends a string of minority Parliaments by taking 167 seats and gaining a Parliamentary majority.
The structure of the Canadian system ensures nearly complete party discipline. As party leader, the Prime Minister can refuse to sign the nomination papers for any of their party’s candidates, forcing them to run as an independent or quit. Canada also requires whole-party leadership conventions to remove a party leader or Prime Minister, as opposed to the British tradition where it can be done by a majority of party MPs. That structure removes most, but not all, of the political risk for programs that a government is committed to. CBC Election Day coverage.
The RG35 RPU is 5.2m long x 2.6m wide x 2.5m high (17′ x 8’6″ x 8’2″), with a ground clearance of 41.4 cm (16.3″) and gross vehicle mass of 21t (46,300 pounds). It seats a driver plus 9 crew members.
May 9/11: TAPV. Force Protection announces that it’s partnering with leading simulation and engineering firm CAE, Inc., as a partner in its TAPV bid. The team is bidding the Cougar vehicle, which already serves with Canadian forces in Afghanistan.
“As the main Canadian partner, CAE would have overall responsibility for the comprehensive in-service support (ISS) solution, including: vehicle operator and mission training systems; engineering information environment; fleet management services; systems engineering support; and, lifecycle and integrated logistics support services. CAE would also be responsible for assembling a pan-Canadian team of companies to develop and support any country-specific requirements for Canada’s replacement fleet of tactical armoured patrol vehicles.”
March 31/11: CCV. David Pugliese:
“Sources tell Defence Watch that Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH will be deciding in the next little while on how to proceed with its bid on the Close Combat Vehicle. Does it go wheeled with the Boxer (through the Artec GmbH firm) or does it go tracked with the Marder, which it would put forward itself? Or does it enter both into the competition?”
In the end, the answer appears to have been: neither. Though Rheinmetall’s Lance turret did end up as part of a partnership with GDLS – Canada.
Feb 15/11: TAPV. Oshkosh Defense unveils its M-ATV derivative prototype for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program, as well as the company’s plans to work with its subsidiary, London Machinery, Inc. (LMI) in London, Ontario.
Feb 11/11: CCV Pre-Qualified List. MERX notice PW-$CCV-002-20519 lists the pre-qualified bidders for Canada’s CCV RFP:
- Artec GmbH (Boxer MRAV, wheeled)
- BAE Systems Hagglunds AB (CV90, tracked)
- General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada (Piranha V, wheeled)
- Nexter Systems (VBCI, wheeled)
- Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH (reportedly declined to bid, in the end)
Feb 10/11: CCV. Work on the CCV has spinoff effects in Norway, and Afghanistan. Soucy International in Quebec makes armored vehicle tracks whose pads are rubber, instead of standard all-steel tracks. BAE Systems has already worked with Soucy to outfit M113 and BvS10 APCs, and both types have been deployed to Afghanistan. Now Norway has built on work BAE had done to prepare its Canadian CCV bid, and extended those track replacement efforts from its deployed M113s to the much heavier (28t) CV90.
BAE Systems qualified the system in full-scale trials, and determined that track life should be comparable to steel tracks. Trials by the Norwegian Army in late 2010 were so positive that the 2 vehicles were sent to Afghanistan before the planned schedule was completed, and the tracks have received positive reviews in theater. No wonder – they reduce vehicle weight by more than one tonne, cut noise by 10dB (50%), and reduce vibration levels by 65%, which helps prolong the life of interior electronics and optics. Once they’re back in Norway, they’ll also do better on ice and snow.
Heavier up-armored CV90 trials at 35 tonnes will take place through 2011, along with mine blast trials to assess the effect of blast and fragments on the tracks. BAE Systems.
Feb 2/11: CCV. At IDEX 2011, Rheinmetall presents its IFV Close Combat Vehicle upgrade solution for the first time, complete with a medium-caliber Lance RC turret system:
“Besides an SEOSS primary stabilized optronic sensor system, including a thermal imaging device and laser rangefinder, the integrated Lance RC is equipped with a digital fire control unit. The version on display at IDEX is armed with Rheinmetall’s new Wotan 30mm automatic cannon… [with] 400 rounds per minute… [and] airburst capability… In the Lance RC, the high-performance Wotan is also able to operate in superelevation mode (60°), and can be reloaded at any time with no need to leave the safety of the armoured fighting compartment… In response to Canada’s Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) programme, Rheinmetall has developed an upgrade solution for manned turrets as well.”
2009 – 2010
FLCV unveiled; CCV started, stopped & rebooted, rebooted again; CCV teams; TAPV teams; LAV studies.
Dec 16/10: CCV re-reboot. MERX solicitation W6508-10CC01/G:
“Canada is concerned that respondent(s) of SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E may have been disadvantaged by SOIQ W6508-10CC01/D evaluation information, provided by Canada, in advance of the release of SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E… Therefore, another qualification process is being offered to potential suppliers… This process will not cancel or supersede SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E. The current CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders list… is still valid… Respondents submitting new responses are advised that they must not rely on information previously provided in the context of SOIQ W6508-10CC01/D and/or W6508-10CC01/E.”
CCV RFP v2.0
Sept 7/10: CCV Reboot. The revised MERX bulletin board solicitation W6508-10CC01/E cancels the previous Close Combat Vehicle procurement (W6508-10CC01/D), vid. April 26/10 entry), and starts over. It’s still 108 CCVs in various configurations, plus up to 30 more within 4 years, plus interim support and a longer-term in-service support package for up to 25 years.
“The CCV must be an integrated, supportable, existing or upgraded version of a Military Off-the-Shelf (MOTS) BASE VEHICLE and MOTS TURRET, each of which is in production for and/or in service with another military recognized by DND as of the closing date of this Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ)… The first phase, referred to as the Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ), will be the pre-qualification of potential bidders. Those Respondents who qualify will be registered on a CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders List. The second phase, referred to as the Request for Proposal (RFP), will invite those firms who are registered on the CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders List to submit a proposal.”
Reports indicate that some of the armoring specifications, which had disqualified all bidders for the previous solicitation, have been relaxed for this round, with land mine protection in particular scaled back. CASR’s analysis?
“…CCV struggles on as a project but has already boxed itself into a corner. The most desired vehicle (Puma, the only type even close to satisfying armour protection requirements) was not even offered for CCV. Many other manufacturers would happily take an order for 108 armoured vehicles. But which will trouble themselves to tailor any offering to the specifications of a demanding, increasingly fussy, but still minor client?”
July 27/10: TAPV. Force Protection partners with Canadian engineering & support firm SNC-Lavalin Defense Contractors, Inc. for the Canadian Government’s 500-600 vehicle Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (“TAPV”) program.
Their TAPV Cougar bid will be arrayed against announced contenders Oshkosh & General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (M-ATV), and Thales and DEW Engineering (Bushmaster). Force Protection.
July 20/10: TAPV. Force Protection, Inc. announces that the Government of Canada has advanced their 2 Cougar variants beyond the 500-600 vehicle TAPV programs Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ) phase. In addition to their Cougar 4×4 and 6×6 variants, 7 vehicle types from other equipment manufacturers were selected to move into TAPV’s RFP phase, with a winner and contract expected in 2011. Force Protection.
July 9/10: LAV-III. The Government of Canada awards a C$ 34.4 million (about $33.2 million) contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada. GDLS-Canada will perform trade-off studies, design work, prototype builds, and tests to define Canada’s LAV-III upgrades. The prototypes are called Risk Reduction Units (RRUs), which are LAV IIIs fitted with the various planned upgrades, so that they can be tested and evaluated later in 2010. Canada’s DND | Public Works Canada | General Dynamics.
LAV-III upgrade study
June 3/10: CCV. At the CANSEC 2010 conference, BAE Systems announces a CV90 partnership arrangement with DEW Engineering and Development, ULC of Ottawa, ON. The 2 firms will offer the CV90 for Canada’s CCV, and DEW would carry out final assembly of the turret, as well as integration and testing if the vehicle is chosen. BAE has also teamed with DEW for to offer BAE’s fully stabilized LEMUR remotely controlled weapon system, which is being offered as an option for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles, M113 upgrades, LAV III program, and CCV.
DEW has carved out a strong position in Canada for vehicle refit and refurbishment, and add-on armour protection systems. They’ve done extensive repair, refit, and upgrade work on Canada’s LAV fleet, M113 APCs, and Leopard 1 tanks. BAE Systems.
June 3/10: TAPV. It’s a good day for DEW Engineering and Development, as Thales announces a partnership to offer its blast-resistant Bushmaster in Canada’s TAPV Program, which will include both patrol vehicles and a reconnaissance variant.
Bushmasters have been used by Australia in Iraq, Afghanistan, and East Timor; and by the Netherlands in Afghanistan. The vehicle family currently includes patrol, command, ambulance, surveillance & target acquisition, mortar carrier, and utility cargo variants. Thales.
April 26/10: CCV Solicitation. Canada’s government issues MERX solicitation W6508-10CC01/D for the CCV:
“The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for the provision of up to 138 Close Combat Vehicles (CCV) in various configurations, which includes an optional quantity of up to thirty (30) vehicles… The CCV will incorporate a protected main weapon station to engage and defeat the enemy… The initial series of deliveries will include a minimum quantity of eight (8) CCV with the initial Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) package, required within twenty-four (24) months after contract award. The delivery of the remaining 100 vehicles must be completed within forty-eight (48) months after contract award. Along with the initial eight (8) vehicles, the contractor will be required to provide interim support including repair and overhaul and deployed technical support. The option to procure an additional quantity of up to thirty (30) CCV may be exercised at the sole discretion of Canada within four (4) years after contract award. Further, the contractor will be required to provide long-term In-Service Support (ISS) services for approximately twenty-five (25) years to commence after the interim support period.
The CCV must be an integrated, supportable, existing or upgraded version of a Military Off-the-Shelf (MOTS) BASE VEHICLE and MOTS TURRET, each of which is in production for and/or in service with another military recognized by DND as of the closing date of this Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (currently June 25/10)… The first phase, referred to as the Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ), will be the pre-qualification of potential bidders. Those Respondents who qualify will be registered on a CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders List. The second phase, referred to as the Request for Proposal (RFP), will invite those firms who are registered on the CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders List to submit a proposal.”
March 30/10: All. DND’s Maple Leaf magazine says that after a pause in December 2009 while officials examined the question of when to implement all 4 family of land combat vehicles (FLCV) projects, the defense staff re-committed to the CCV in particular as a project that should not be delayed.
Of course, “delay” is relative. The plan is still to begin receiving CCV vehicles no earlier than 2011, by which time Canada will be ending its Afghan deployment. What’s surprising is that it’s no later, despite the government’s own delays.
March 22/10: TAPV. Oshkosh Defense and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada announce that they’ll offer Oshkosh’s blast-resistant M-ATV for the TAPV competition, and Oshkosh’s Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) trucks in Canada’s Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS-SMP) truck program. Both vehicle types use Oshkosh’s proprietary TAK-4 independent suspension system, for off-road mobility.
Oshkosh will serve as the prime contractor for both programs. General Dynamics Land Systems Canada will provide systems integration and testing support for the vehicles, as well as the complete spectrum of in-country sustainment support. Oshkosh uses Valley Associates to provide marketing and business development in Canada, which is why the vehicles display in the Valley Associates booth during CANSEC 2010 in June.
This consortium is considered to be a leading contender, in part because of GDLS’ existing armored vehicle plant in London, ON. David Pugliese’s Defence Watch adds that BAE is studying the TAPV SOIQ, and that France’s Nexter plans to bid its Aravis. Oshkosh | CANSEC announcement | Defence Watch.
July 8/09: All. Canada’s DND makes a slew of announcements regarding its FLCV programs, including the CCV, LAV Upgrade, TAPV, and Leopard 2 engineering upgrades and AEVs.
Most of these programs are in the pre-RFP stage, except the C$ 1 billion LAV Upgrade project. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-C), the original equipment manufacturer, will be awarded a contract to conduct that definition work, and has also been selected in advance to implement the LAV-III upgrades. DND overview announcement.
A political note is required. While 2011 lies within the term limit of the present Conservative Party government, it is a minority government in uncertain economic times, and Canada is currently set to wind down its Afghan mission in 2011. Until contracts is signed, therefore, each component of the FLCV program must be considered to carry varying degrees of political risk.
Nov 16/09: CCV. Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese covers slow progress with the CCV program:
“The Close Combat Vehicle project has fallen behind its schedule with the delay being attributed to issues around industrial region benefits, Defence Watch has learned… The Canadian Forces will acquire 108 vehicles with an option for up to 30 more. The contract is scheduled to be awarded by summer 2011 with initial operational capability (IOC) declared one year later in July 2012, according to DND officials. The CCV is expected to reach full operational capability by July 2015.” Nexter Systems, the French armored vehicle firm, is offering… its wheeled VBCI armoured vehicles… The Hagglund’s tracked CV90 from BAE Systems is also being offered… armoured vehicle manufacturer Rheinmetall has not indicated whether it will take part in the project.”
November 2008: All. These proposals are in the draft stage. The Ottawa Citizen quotes defense minister MacKay’s press secretary, Jay Paxton:
“The government has been clear in that they will provide our troops with the equipment and protection needed to do the jobs asked of them… Having said that, no proposal has come forward to Minister MacKay’s office on this particular vehicle acquisition.”
Despite the Conservative Party’s consistent support of defense requests, this bundled proposal may also face political hurdles. Not least of which is the fallout from the Conservative Government’s proposal to withdraw public funding for Canada’s political parties. That proposal has endangered its minority government, and a successful no-confidence vote could result in either a new coalition, or a new election to follow the one in October 2008. A new coalition would be almost certain to include the socialist NDP party, which has traditionally been hostile to both Canadian defense spending and the Afghan mission.
Additional Readings & Sources
- Canada DND (July 8/09) – Backgrounder: Close Combat Vehicle
- Canada DND (July 8/09) – Backgrounder: Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle
- Canada DND (July 8/09) – Backgrounder: Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) III Upgrade Project
- Canada DND (July 8/09) – Force Mobility Enhancement. Refers to the addition of engineering add-ons to the new Leopard 2 fleet, and dedicated AEVs. Covered under Canada’s Leopard 2 tank buy.
- CASR (October 2010) – Background – Tracks or Wheels? – the Close Combat Vehicle Project
- DID Spotlight – Tanks for the Lesson: Leopards, too, for Canada
- DID – VBCI: France’s Wheeled APC. Said to be a CCV candidate.
- CASR – Danish Forces prepare their new CV9035 Infantry Fighting Vehicles for deployment to Afghanistan – Meanwhile, DND plans for the CCV. Denmark and Canada started at about the same time, but Denmark is about to deploy CV90-35 MkIIIs to Afghanistan, and Canada is still trying to figure out requirements.
- CASR – Background – FLCS(Family of Land Combat Systems) Project – Future Combat Systems for the Army.
- CASR – Background – Future Combat Systems – Close Combat Vehicle Project. CCV is a component of FLCS.
- Army Technology – Aravis Multipurpose Heavily Protected Armoured Vehicle, France
- Army Technology – Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle, Australia
- DID – M-ATV: A Win, at Last, for Oshkosh
- Army Technology – CV90 Tracked Armoured Combat Vehicles, Sweden
- CASR (July 2009) – New Armoured Vehicles: Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, even the UN chose Sweden’s CV90 family – for good reasons
- CASR (July 2009) – CCV Dismounts: Does Size Matter or is it What’s Inside that Counts? The CV90 can only carry 7 troops, instead of 9. Is that a problem?
- DID – VBCI: France’s Wheeled APC
- Army Technology – Piranha V
- CASR – LAV LORIT – Standardizing Afghan LAV Upgrades
- DID – US Army Moves Ahead with Stryker Hull Modification. Adds a V-hull to the Stryker LAV-III variant for American forces.
- James Hasik (Dec 21/13) – Unpacking the Canadian DND’s retreat from the CCV. The biggest hit will be to DND’s reputation.
- James Hasik (Nov 4/13) – Canada’s CCV: the Need, the Cost, and the Commitment. See also the full report [PDF]
- James Hasik (Oct 10/13) – What does the Canadian Army think of the CCV, and how much should that matter?
- Defense Technology International (May 2011) – Monster Trucks. Covers TAPV and CCV.
- David Pugliese’s Defence Watch (Sept 7/10) – Answers On The Alligator And The Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) Project.
- Canadian Army News (Nov 19/09) – Episode 380 Transcript. Discusses the LAV LORIT, a set of immediate modifications for Afghanistan that will serve as a bridge to the full LAV upgrade.
- Ottawa Citizen, David Pugliese’s Defence Watch (Nov 17/08) – Canadian Forces Looks at CV90 for Close Combat Vehicle.
- Ottawa Citizen (Nov 17/08) – DND seeks more than $2B for vehicles for Afghanistan