LAV III Armoured Vehicles – DND/CF Backgrounder – July 2009/Oct 2011
LAV 'Re-Set' – The Light Armoured Vehicle III Upgrade Project
Update 23 Oct 2011: see contract announcement for LAV UP 'Implementation Phase'.
This DND Backgrounder details the long-expected LAV III 're-set'. When maker General
Dynamics Land Systems- Canada (GDLS-C) displayed its new LAV-H "Technology Demonstrator Chassis" to NDHQ in April 2008, there was a widespread assumption
that this was the CF's 'next-gen' LAV. Now, from the information available in this DND/CF Backgrounder, it is
apparent that there'll be no 'new-built' LAV-Hs. Instead, this is to be a straightforward upgrade for
some of the surviving LAV IIIs. The upgraded LAV III may incorporate features of the LAV-H prototype though.
So what are those likely upgrade features going to look like? It is possible that weapons upgrades will make
a dramatic difference in appearance, with RWS-mounted weapon
size determined by roles. Mission-adaptive compartments may speed LAV role changes.
Alternatively, larger calibre cannons may simply be substituted for current 25mm M242s in the existing
turrets. In this case, upgraded LAVs may be all but indistinguishable from today's model. Protection –
in the form of thicker armour and, perhaps, the 'V'- shaped rear hull bottom of the LAV-H –
are a given.
Update "Upgrade of the weapon system" does not mean a change of calibre,
it is now know. 'LAV UP' will include detail improvements to original 25mm M242s (and sights). Armour upgrades and
the 'double V hull' from the LAV-H (and Stryker) are included.
Suspension changes will probably involve the installation of 28-t Piranha 5 (or similar)
components. Powerplant changes are harder to predict. The Caterpillar 3126 diesel can be uprated from the current
260 kW to 335 kW. Piranha IVs and 5s  have 400 kW MTU diesels but, obviously, that much of an
increase in power would dictate major changes throughout the LAV drivetrain. But such is the result of heavier
armour and armament.
 The idea of a modular 'pickup' LAV was suggested early on. Here we refer only to a possible rearranging the
LAV's rear compartment to more readily adapt it to roles other than IFV (eg: Bison ISC and ambulance
replacements, direct-fire support vehicles, etc).
 Note that GDLS-C who will be responsible for LAV III upgrades has now submitted their larger Piranha 5 as
a candidate for DND's Close Combat Vehicle (or CCV)
Project. But, for 'LAV UP', the existing Caterpillar 3126 is to be replaced by a 450 hp C-9
DND/Canadian Forces News Release
Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) III Upgrade Project
BG - 09.015 - July 8, 2009
The recent experiences of the Canadian Forces and other nations in Afghanistan and other operational
theatres...demonstrate the ongoing requirement for a highly protect- ed, yet highly mobile Light-Armoured Vehicle.
The use of mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and anti-armour weapons has become more prevalent, posing a
greater risk to personnel.
The LAV III Upgrade project will capitalize on existing and evolving technology to improve the
protection, mobility and lethality of the LAV III fleet. The [Upgrade] will modernize a portion of the existing
LAV III fleet to ensure it remains a highly protect- ed, operationally mobile and tactically agile combat vehicle
that will remain the back- bone of domestic and expeditionary task forces, extending the life span of the LAV III
The following upgrades will be performed on the LAV III:
Upgrade of mobility systems such as powertrain, suspension, running gear and
Upgrade of the weapon system; and
Installation of additional armour, heightening...protection against increased threats.
The LAV III Upgrade project will upgrade 550 vehicles with an option for an additional 80 [upgraded LAV IIIs].
Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2012.
The project will now enter the definition phase to determine the scope of the work to be done. General Dynamics
Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-C), the original equipment manufacturer, will be awarded a contract to conduct this
definition work and will also be selected to implement the upgrades.