They’ve been talking about it for almost three years now, but it looks like the Canadian government is finally making some progress on the upgrade to its tactical wheeled vehicle fleet.
The $5 billion program to procure three new vehicle variants and upgrade and reset its existing fleet is one of the largest vehicle programs in the world, and all of the industry bigs have been lining up to get involved in the competition.
According to the Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese, the Department of National Defense (DND) has released information about the pre-qualified bidders for the Standard Military Pattern (SMP) component of the Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS)—the logistic truck segment of the three-variant buy—which will include a cargo variant, a cargo with crane variant, a gun tractor variant and a load handling system variant. The DND plans to buy 1,500 SMP trucks, which makes the contract a huge one for the winning bidder, especially with shrinking defense budgets south of the border, and in Europe.
The SMP program was originally announced in 2006, but delays have continuously pushed it back. Now, DND spokesperson Annie Dicaire tells Pugliese, things seem to be moving quickly. Delivery of the vehicles is being scheduled for 2013, and a request for proposals “is expected to be issued to industry within the next couple of months and a contract awarded in spring 2012 … with delivery of the fleet completed by early 2015.”
The companies who have emerged as pre-qualified bidders and the vehicles they are submitting to the program are:
- BAE Systems: FMTV;
- Daimler AG: Zetros;
- Oshkosh: MTVR, FMTV, HEMTT-A4;
- Navistar Defence Vanada: ATX8;
- Renault Trucks: KERAX 8x8;
- Rheinmetall / MAN Military Vehicles Canada: HX77 8x8.
No word on the other vehicle variants just yet. Plans call for 108 Close Combat Vehicles (CCVs) with an option to buy 30 more; 500 Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPVs), with an option to buy 100 more; and 13 Force Mobility Enhancement Vehicles, with an option to buy five more, to carry equipment such as plows and building materials. The CCVs are intended to “bridge the gap between light armored vehicles (5-20 metric tons) and heavy armored vehicles (more than 45 metric tons), coming in between 25 and 45 metric tons,” according to the government, while the TAPV is envisioned as replacing the RG‑31 4x4 Cougar MRAP and the 6x6 LAV‑2 recon vehicle.
Unlike other vehicle variants found in Canadian plans, the CCV is not replacing a current class in the fleet. Instead, CCV is envisioned as allowing small infantry units to operate closely with Canada’s much-lauded Leopard 2 tanks in what planners see as the future of operations in austere and rugged conditions such as those of Afghanistan.
Pic: DND. Canadian LAV III's and leopard 2 tanks in Kandahar