Background of the Light Armoured Vehicle AKA LAV
Most major AFV manufacturers have facilities in a number of countries. General Dynamics Land Systems is no exception and has a large facility in Canada known as GDLS-Canada (which was previously GM Defense and was purchased by GDLS), which focuses on the production & development of Wheeled Vehicles for the international market.
The Swiss firm MOWAG developed a series of 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 wheeled troop carriers for the Swiss Army commonly known as the Piranha during the 1970’s. Their order books have expanded to include international purchases from many other nations Armies and includes the licenced production during the 1970’s of their 6×6 vehicle by GDLS-Canada for the Canadian Army, who designated it the Armoured Vehicle General Purpose AKA “AVGP”.
There were three variants of this vehicle built:
The Grizzly – infantry carrier, The Cougar – British Scorpion tank turret equipped with a 76 mm main gun, The Husky – recovery vehicle.
GDLS-Canada’s 8×8 vehicles are called Light Armoured Vehicles, Better known as LAV. LAV is not a non-European designation of Piranha.
Since the production of the AVGP, GDLS-Canada have gone on to develop the LAV II & LAV III, which despite some similarity’s to the Swiss Piranha’s are GDLS’s own designs based on the AVGP and are not copies of Swiss Piranha’s.
The LAV II 8×8 was developed during the 1980’s and is known as the LAV-25 with the USMC, Coyote (Reconnaissance Vehicle) & Bison (infantry carrier) in Canada and ASLAV in Australia.
The LAV III was developed in the late 1990’s for the Canadian Forces and also is in service with the New Zealand Army. It serves as both armies principal Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The US Army Stryker is a lighter armoured version of the vehicle.
The success of the series has been its high mobility and adaptability to serve other mission roles and in
The Canadian 8×8 LAV II Bison
The Bison is an eight-wheeled armoured vehicle originally designed as an infantry section carrier. The Bison entered service in 1990 and have now been replaced in service with the LAV III, so are now being converted into support variants for the LAV III.These variants will include Ambulance, Electronic Warfare, Mobile Repair Team, Maintenance and Recovery, and NBC Reconnaissance.
The new variants will come equipped with an upgrade in engine power, new torsion bars, fittings for add-on armour, air conditioning, and the VRS respirator system for NBC defence. Delivery of the upgraded vehicles will take place in stages from 2002-2008.
The Canadian 8×8 LAV II Bison Variants:
32 Bison Ambulances
32 Bison Mobile Repair Team vehicles
32 Bison Recovery vehicles
25 Bison Electronic Warfare vehicles
4 Bison NBC Reconnaissance vehicles
Armament: 7.62mm C6 machine gun (C6)
Command Post: C9A1 machine gun
Other variants: All except ambulance, 76-mm grenade launcher (2 clusters of 4 launchers)
The Canadian 8×8 LAV II Bison Specifications:
Crew: 2 (driver and commander)
Length: 6.5 m
Width: 2.6 m
Height: 2.6 m
Weight: 13 tonnes
Maximum speed: Land: 100 km/h, Water: 10 km/h
Range: 650 km
Engine: 275 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T two-cycle turbo-charged diesel
Transmission: Allison 5 speed MT653
Maximum grade: 60%
Drive: full-time 4-wheel, selective 8-wheel
Entered service: 1990