Future Canadian Forces Armoured Vehicles –
Future Combat Systems – January 2010
Armoured Vehicle Modernization After FCS: Implications for Canada
James Hasik reviews DND's Procurement
Plans in an American Light
A summary of recommendations by James Hasik * The full
version is now available.
Editor : In early April 2009, US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates,
revealed that he intended to cancel the vehicle component of the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. Once
the cancellation of these Manned Combat Vehicle (MCV) hulls was made official, planning for future armour had to
begin again. James Hasik has reviewed future vehicle options for
Of course, with the demise of the FCS ground vehicles went any chance of using MCV hulls to satisfy future
Canadian Forces requirements. That FCS option may have been a long shot anyway. But this raises the question:
Will the replacement for FCS MCV, the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), play a significant part in DND's planned future
armoured vehicle procurement?
Here, Jim Hasik offers some suggestions for Canadian Forces vehicle modernization based on DND's existing plans
for upgrades and new procurement. Such recommendations spring from a detailed analysis of the opportunities
presented and hurdles now faced by the US military in its future armoured vehicle procurement – both MRAP/M-ATV
and Ground Combat Vehicles.
The US Army's Future Armour Programs and their Implications for the Canadian Forces
The demise of the US Army's Future Combat System (FCS) program has opened opportunities
for more practical plans for armoured vehicle modernization.
The US Army has replaced
its formerly all-encompassing and over-reaching approach
with a suite of separate efforts to update, extend, and recapitalize
its fleet of both wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles.
The large sums of money being invested in even these more modest development efforts may be particularly useful
beyond the needs of just the US Army. In particular, upgrades to the 8x8 Stryker and development of so many
designs for the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) programs may be very
valuable to two vehicle projects for the Canadian Forces: LAV III modernization and the Tactical Armored Patrol
With the US Army already committed to a developmental upgrade program for at least seven brigades of
wheeled Strykers, a tracked vehicle seems likely for the FCS replacement, the BCT Ground Combat Vehicle. If
the particulars of the GCV RFP do lean that way, BAE Systems and General Dynamics may be relatively advantaged. BAE
Systems [ through United Defense] has long experience with tracked troop carriers in the US with their
M113 and Bradley programs.
More significantly, both companies have recent experience through their
European operations with the the CV90 (at Hägglunds in Sweden ) and the ASCOD ( at
GDLS-E's Santa Bárbara in Spain and Steyr in Austria). Whoever lands the GCV contract
is quite likely the big winner of the next decade.
Update 14 Mar 2010: Agence France-Presse has published
unconfirmed reports that General Dynamics Land Systems has won the FRES SV contest with its ASCOD 2
over BAE's CV90.
One dark horse candidate worth mentioning for GCV is the Puma from the PSM consortium of Krauss-Maffei
Wegmann and Rheinmetall. At 43 tons, Puma has enough steel underneath to withstand fairly impressive
mine blasts. The Puma features a remote turret armed with a 30mm cannon with an option for air-bursting
rounds that can bracket soft targets with shrapnel from both sides, as well as integrated antitank missiles [Eurospike
Spike using the MELLS system].
The level of protection afforded in a military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) package is impressive. All of these
European GCV candidates are also potential candidates for Canada's Close Combat Vehicle Project.
Regardless of the GCV outcome, US Army choices will ultimately affect CCV.
FCS, BCT Ground Combat Vehicles, and the Implications for the Canadian Land Forces
With all this armoured vehicle development activity south of the border, can Canada's Land Forces find
some way to benefit? Quite possibly. Three aspects of the Land Forces moderniz- ation plan outlined by the Department
of National Defence are related to the US Army plans:
A new Close Combat Vehicle ( CCV ) for the Canadian Forces
The Department of National Defence recently indicated that it wanted to move expeditiously with
its planned $2.2B project for up to 138 tracked infantry carriers. Since whatever is chosen for the
non-developmental CCV will have a projected weight of 30 to 45 tons, vehicles like the ASCOD, Puma,
and CV90 have been discussed in the Canadian press as likely CCV options.
This last vehicle, the CV90 series, has been particularly well spoken of, with its
large installed base throughout NATO and the
' Partnership for Peace ' countries, and
the positive experiences of the CV9040Cs with Swedish forces and the CV9030 NOs with
Norwegian combat troops in Afghanistan.
With respect to US assistance, the problem is that – despite the similarity in acronyms –
the development of a GCV in the United States is not likely to be helpful to DND's CCV Project, as the first of
the new US armoured vehicles are not projected to be available until at least 2017.
Canadian combat troops may well begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2011, but if history serves as any
guide, Canadian troops will continue to meet Canada's commitment to collective security elsewhere in the world, and
shortly thereafter. The Canadian Forces just won't do the job with an American-designed vehicle – at least
not in the case of the Close Combat Vehicle.
LAV III Modernization – Upgrading the CF's Primary Wheeled Light
The biggest win for Canada [both industrially and for CF procurement] is potentially in the US Army's resounding
vote to continue funding General Dynamics upgrades  of their Stryker version of the LAV III.
All of the features of the so-called Super Stryker demonstrator and the US Army's more recent contract
request could be of interest to the Canadian Army. These are:
higher ground clearance and slight v-shaping to the rear hull
a remote 25 mm cannon turret
new suspension, new drivetrain, new brakes, and larger tires
a 450 horsepower diesel engine [ up from the LAV III's 350 hp diesel ], and
a new digital architecture for follow-on C4ISR systems.
Together, these improvements would increase Stryker passenger capacity from seven to nine, improve
battlefield connectivity, and increase the vehicle's maximum weight (presumably with- out loss of mobility) to
27 tonnes – which could permit the addition of quite a bit of modular armour. Much of
this work will be paid for by the US Army, which will allow Canada's DND to focus its relatively scarcer
development funds on projects of particular national importance.
 Ed: Super Stryker is General Dynamics Land Systems' Stryker demonstrator called the
WCVD (Wheeled Combat Vehicle Demonstrator ). It has passive armour by DEW, a Kongsberg MC RWS (Medium Calibre
Remote Weapon Station), and a retractable Raytheon sensor mast. The "RWS" is more an unmanned turret
à la the German Puma. Less noticeable is the improved suspension, new road wheels with wider
tires, and LAV-H armour.]
A new Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle ( TAPV )
The Canadian Army also plans to acquire, starting in 2012, some 200 reconnaissance and 300 utility TAPVs, with an
option for a further hundred. The recce TAPV will carry either a remote or manned turret, and the utility TAPV
a remote one. The TAPV Project is intended to replace both the recce Coyote and RG-31 Armoured
Patrol Vehicle. The successful bidder will bring a family of MOTS vehicles. The list of potential candidates
is long: Oshkosh's M-ATV springs to mind, but the BAE Systems Valanx, Force Protection Cheetah,
and several other vehicles designed for M-ATV, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) demonstration, and related
programs could also be very competitive. In short, the Canadian Army should have the pick of the litter.
The rub here is that while the recce vehicle need carry only a crew of four, the utility vehicle must carry four
passengers and three crew. That's one more crewman than is common in most patrol vehicles, though it's easily
accommodated by the Canadian Forces' current RG-31 APV.
DND's insistence on a requirement for four passengers in the utility TAPV variant could limit options. Notably,
the entry for the US JLTV competition from Texton, Boeing, and SAIC featured a
centerline steering wheel with three seats in front suiting crew requirements. In all probability, any of the other
aforementioned vehicles could be easily stretched for an additional seat or two aft. It is just
that the set of alternatives would narrow a bit, and potentially become rather less 'off-the-shelf ', and
a bit more costly.
Implications of the US Army Acquisitions programs for CF
Land Forces Procurement
The US GCV program is too far away and indeterminate to be of much use to better-defined and near-term
Canadian needs. Since procurement and staff officers aren't in plentiful supply, little attention should be
paid to the GCV program to satisfy near-term Canadian requirements.
The US Army's Stryker upgrade program is very interesting, and potentially very beneficial to
the Army. Its parameters have already largely been established, so following its course and requesting release of
the relevant technical details to General Dynamics' Canadian facilities in London, Ontario is a straightforward, if
demanding, liaison job.
The open management question lies with the TAPV program. With so much recent
devel- opment work in the US, Canadian needs can almost assuredly be met with a MOTS vehicle, as long as stated
requirements accommodate the state of the industry's offerings. Understanding the details of the market calls
for a well-crafted request for information, and a well-crafted RFI is the province of any well-educated
procurement officer attuned to commercial sensibilities.
If this is indeed all managed well, the Canadian Forces could find itself in a few years with the most strategically
appropriate and tactically valuable fleet of combat vehicles that it has had in decades, and for a very
* James Hasik is a founder and principal of
Hasik Analytic LLC. He is also a member of
the Council on Emerging National Security Affairs. Jim
Hasik can be reached at +1-512-299-1269.