Canadian American Strategic Review







Background  –  LAV LORIT  –  Standardizing Afghan LAV Upgrades

Update: 23 Oct 2011 – a $1B contract has been issued for the LAV III Upgrade. The 'LAV UP' project first announced in July 2009, covers 550 LAV IIIs (with an option for 80 more). 'LAV UP' will rationalize the fleet, incorporating elements of  LAV LORIT as ' lessons learned '.

'Afghanistan Standard' LAV III LORIT (LAV Operational Requirements Integration Task)
 Since deploying  to Kandahar  in 2006,  Canadian
 Forces personnel have made modifications to the
 LAV III to better suit it to local conditions and to
 increase protection against IEDs. Often changes
 were field modifications  –  using Hesco Bastion
 wire mesh as extra stowage bins while increasing
 rear compartment blast protection simultaneous-
 ly is one example. Other improvements – such as
 the raised parapet with armour glass vision ports
 'air sentries' came from the top.  The LAV LORIT
 combines and rationalizes these survivability upgrades into LAV IIIs deployed to Afghanistan.

LORIT is intended exclusively for Afghanistan. LORIT is a LAV III upgrade but not the LAV upgrade project.  Some 141 LAVs will  be given the full  LORIT package including:  Infantry Sections Carrier, Command Post, FOO artillery fire-control and Engineering variants. The most noticeable changes introduced for the LORIT project are the large storage bins running along each side and the more visible parts of the IEDPK (or IED Protection Kit ) including shields for turret crew and the parapet for air sentries (right).

Less obvious are new, thick slabs of  blast-absorbing and dissipating composite armour mounted directly beneath the rear  troop compartment. This belly armour is to give the dismount infanteers more protection from landmines or similar IEDs. Another 'lesson learned ' is negating blast effects (especially from below) by suspending crew and dismount seats from the vehicle's ceiling  (rather than from the wall or floor). LAV III LORIT continues that trend with Armatec energy-absorbing seating for crew and dismounts. A new feature likely to be noticed only by crews are weight-saving aluminum wheel rims. [1] Spare tires were to be bow-mounted (as on the LORIT's proof-of-concept prototype) but LAV LORITs deployed in Afghanistan all seem to have a rear ramp spare. [2] LORIT is to keep LAV IIIs in Afghanistan viable until it's time to 'LAV UP'.[3]

[1] These forged aluminum wheels are a two-part, bolt-together  rim system developed for the US Army Stryker by Hutchinson Industries. Hutchinson claims that their rim is 40% lighter than its steel predecessor.  Central tire inflation passages have been integrated into the rim.
[2] Another variation from plans seems to be the flexible gun mount on the turret roof. There had been mention of using W&E Platt swivel mounts (as on the LAV-RWS) but  LORITs deployed to Afghanistan all seem to have standard flexible mounts with the now-standard C6.
[2] The full LAV III Upgrade program will cover: current-standard LAV IIIs,  updated LAV III LORITs,  as well as  LAV-RWS conversions.