Canadian American Strategic Review






OAG Audit of

Background  —  'LAV UP'  —  the GDLS-C  LAV III  Upgrade Project

Update 10 Nov 2012:  The GoC has exercised its options for more LAV UP conversions. With 66 LAV UP added, totals now stand at 616.

Improving the Breed – Upgrade for the LAV IIIs
In June 2009, DND announced LAV III Upgrade, a project  to implement  fleet-wide improvements to the LAV IIIs'  running gear,  weapon systems, and  armour protection. Improvements had been made on Afghan-deployed  LAVs culminating in LAV LORIT.  ' LAV UP '  rationalizes incremental improvements while raising overall performance. At a glance, differences between in-service LAV IIIs and  the 'LAV UP' seem minimal. An obvious change is the raised deck behind the engine bay.

The original LAV III powerplant – a 350 hp, 7.2L Caterpillar 3126 6-cyl – has been replaced by a  450 hp  Cat C-9 diesel. Despite displacing 9.3L, that C-9 is not much larger physically than the 3126.  Cryptic mentions have also been made of "a more powerful ... transmission" presumably meaning  an Allison HD4560P. But, taking up space under the raised deck is the new, much-enlarged coolant radiator and its required cooling fan, outlet, etc. [1]

The July 2009 DND news release on LAV UP lists a weapon system 'upgrade' without details. From that, it was assumed that 'LAV UP' would have a main gun akin to that specified for the CCV. Not so. The original LAV 25mm M242 may see detail improvements but  the calibre remains unchanged. [2] In the main, ' LAV UP ' changes are to do with added armour protection or the running gear changes needed to cope with the resulting weight (and the ever-increasing combat loads).

Among the apparent armour changes are new 'air sentry' shields replacing the current Exposed Crew Protection Kit (left). Hatches for the gunner and vehicle commander are now in a raised 'box' on the turret top (right). Other changes not apparent in released images are a 'double-V' shape in the rear hull to deflect blast effects away from the crew compartment (coming from US Stryker upgrades ). Crew protection is also improved with the addition of more Energy-Attenuating Seats. Thus far, there has been little attention to LAV UP.  The CCV Project has the allure of the new but only represents 108 vehicles. The majority CF armoured vehicle will still be LAV III with at least 616 vehicles covered by the LAV III Upgrade project. Now, the question is: will LAV UP be on time. [3]

[1] The larger-displacement C-9 diesel requires a larger radiator but  LAV III Afghan deployment will have also influenced cooling choices.
[2] This puts into question DND's decision not to restrict calibre choices for the Close Combat Vehicle main gun. So far, CCV submissions sport 35mm (CV9035 MkIII) or 30mm (Piranha 5 ) main guns. Only the VBCI has a 25mm gun but that's a French M811, not the CF's M242.
[3] The LAV III Upgrade Project's start was to be Spring 2011 with the first delivery in late 2011. But the contract was not announced until 21 Oct 2011. The $1.064B contract covered upgrades to 550 LAV IIIs but options on 66 more vehicles (out of a possible 80) was exercised in Nov 2012. The LAV UP project is to extend these vehicles' service lives until 2035. But will last vehicle delivery ( Late 2017 ) be on time?