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Canadian LAV-III
Type Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Place of origin  Canada
Service history
Used by See 'Operators'
Wars See 'Service history'
Weight 16.95 t
Length 6.98 m (22.9 ft)
Width 2.7 m (8.9 ft)
Height 2.8 m (9.2 ft)
Crew 3 (+ 6 or 7 passengers)

1 x M242 25 mm chain gun with TIS
1 x C6 7.62 mm machine gun
1 x C9A2 5.56 mm or C6 7.62 mm machine gun
(pintle mount)
Engine Caterpillar 3126 diesel
260 kW (350 hp)
Suspension Hydropneumatic
450 km (280 mi)
Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The LAV III armoured vehicle (AV) is the latest in the Generation III Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) series built by General Dynamics Land Systems, entering service in 1999.[1] It is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha IIIH 8x8.[2]

It was developed in Canada and is the primary mechanized infantry vehicle of the Canadian Land Force Command and the New Zealand Army.[1] The United States Army uses a more lightly armed LAV III derivative named the Stryker. The LAV III and the Stryker have also been referred to as Land Assault Vehicles.



By July 1991, the Canadian Forces had identified the need to replace their aging fleet of 1960s and 1970s era armoured personnel carriers. As a result, $2.8 billion was earmarked for the Multi-Role Combat Vehicle (MRCV) Project by the sitting Conservative government. The mandate of the MRCV project was to provide a series of vehicles based on a common chassis which would replace the M113 armored personnel carrier, Lynx reconnaissance vehicle, Grizzly armoured personnel carrier, and Bison armoured personnel carrier. The project was, however, deemed unaffordable and canceled by March 1992.[3]

By 1994 after the Liberal Party had returned to government, the army was still in need of new vehicles. As a result, the army embarked on the Light Armoured Vehicle Project, which would adapt parts of the MRCV Project, and be implemented incrementally to spread out the costs. Also, the requirement to replace the Bisons was dropped. The first phase of the project saw the selection of the Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicle to replace the Lynx. On August 16, 1995, it was announced that General Motors Diesel Division (later renamed GM Defense, and subsequently purchased by General Dynamics Land Systems) of London, Ontario, had been awarded the contract to produce the LAV III which would replace the Grizzly and a large portion of the M113 armoured personnel carriers.[3] The LAV III would incorporate the turret and weapon system used with the Coyote (which was produced at the same location), and the latest, heaviest version of MOWAG's Piranha family which would be 'Canadianized' and built locally.




The LAV III is powered by a Caterpillar 3126 diesel engine developing 350 horsepower, and can reach speeds of 100 kilometres per hour.[4] The vehicle is equipped with a central tire inflation system, which allows it to adjust to different terrain, including off-road [5][6]. Unlike earlier versions of the LAV, the LAV III does not have any amphibious capabilities.

The LAV III faces the same concerns that most other wheeled military vehicles face. Like all wheeled armoured vehicles, the LAV III's ground pressure is inherently higher than a tracked vehicle with a comparable weight. This is a result of the fact that tires will have less surface area in contact with the ground when compared to a tracked vehicle. Higher ground pressure results in an increased likelihood of sinking into soft terrain such as mud, snow and sand, leading to the vehicle becoming stuck. The lower ground pressure and improved traction offered by tracked vehicles also gives them an advantage over vehicles like the LAV III when it comes to managing slopes, trenches, and other obstacles.

The LAV III can somewhat compensate for these effects by deflating its tires slightly, meaning that the surface area in contact with the ground increases, and the ground pressure is slightly lowered.

It should also be noted that wheels offer several advantages over tracked vehicles, including lower maintenance for both the vehicle and road infrastructure, quieter movement for improved stealth, greater speed over good terrain, and higher ground clearance for protection against mines and improvised explosive devices.

The LAV III's turret gives the vehicle a higher centre of gravity than the vehicle was initially designed for. This has led to concerns that the vehicle is more likely to roll over on uneven terrain.

While there have been several recorded rollovers (about 12), the most common cause was found to be unstable terrain, specifically road shoulders unexpectedly giving away beneath the vehicle.[7] The weight balance of the LAV III is taken into consideration during driver training, largely mitigating the chances of a rollover.


The basic armor of the LAV III, provides all-round protection against 7.62x51mm NATO. A ceramic appliqué armor (MEXAS) can be added, which protects against 14.5x114mm heavy calibre rounds from 500 meters. In December 2008 the Government of Canada awarded EODC Engineering, Developing and Licencing Inc. C$81.5 million worth of contracts to provide for add-on-armour kits, modules and spares for its LAV III wheeled armored personnel carriers.[8][9] This armour kit is intended to provide increased protection against Improvised explosive device, Explosively formed penetrator and 30 mm caliber armour piercing rounds.[8][10][11][12][13][14] The LAV III can be also fitted with cage armour, which provides protection against tandem-charge and shaped charge. The LAV III is fitted with a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) filtration system accompanied with a GID-3 chemical detector and AN/VDR 2 radiation detector systems. The LAV III also use an heat-absorbing filters to provide temporary protection against enemy thermal imaging (TIS), image intensifier and infrared camera (IR).

The majority of Canadians casualties in Afghanistan occurred during a patrol aboard a LAV III.[15]

This can be explained by the fact that the LAV III is the most commonly used Canadian armoured personnel carrier in theatre, and simply represents a normal association between use and likelihood to encounter a mine or improvised explosive device.[16] The LAV III offers comparable or better protection than most other infantry carriers used in Afghanistan. In an effort to improve protection as a result of experiences in Afghanistan, future LAV III upgrades will likely include improved mine and IED protection.[17]


The LAV III is fitted with a two-man turret, armed with the M242 Bushmaster 25 mm caliber chain gun and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. One more 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm machine gun is positioned on top of the turret. The LAV-III have also has eight 76-mm grenade in two clusters of four launchers positioned on each side of the turret. The grenade launchers are intended for smoke grenades.[4]


The LAV III is equipped with a daytime optical, Thermal Imaging System (TIS) and Generation III Image Intensification (II). The LAV III is equipped with a Tactical Navigation System (TacNav) to assist them in navigation and target location tasks. The LAV III is equipped with a LCD monitor directly connected to the vehicle's external cameras, providing real-time images of the battlefield for the passengers.[4]


In July 2009, the Canadian Department of National Defence announced that $5 billion would be spent to enhance, replace and repair the army's armoured vehicles. Part of the spending would be used to replace and repair damaged LAV IIIs due wear and tear from operations in Afghanistan. As much as 33 percent of the army's light armoured vehicles were out of service.[18] Furthermore, the LAV IIIs will be upgraded with improved protection and automotive components.[19] Of the $5 billion announced, approximately 20% of it will be used to upgrade LAV III models.The upgrade will extend the LAV III life span to 2035. The remaining $4 billion is to be spent on a "new family of land combat vehicles".[20]

Comparison to similar vehicles

Comparison of some modern IFVs
Flag of Canada.svg LAV III [21] Flag of Ukraine.svg BTR-3U [22] Flag of France.svg VBCI[23] Flag of Egypt.svg Fahd-280-30 [24][25] Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Type-92 IFV[26] Flag of Russia.svg BTR-90[21][27]
Weight 16.95 t (18.68 short tons) 16.4 t (18.1 short tons) 26 t (29 short tons) 10.9 t (12.0 short tons) 12.5 t (13.8 short tons) 20.9 t (23.0 short tons)
Primary armament 25 mm (0.98 in) M242 chain gun 30 mm (1.2 in) Dual-feed cannon 25 mm (0.98 in) NATO dual feed cannon 30 mm (1.2 in) 2A42 automatic cannon 30 mm (1.2 in) Auto cannon [1] 30 mm (1.2 in) 2A42 automatic cannon
Secondary armament 7.62 mm (0.300 in) FN MAG machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) FN MAG machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun 7.62 mm (0.300 in) PKT machine gun
Missile armament (Range) - AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres) - AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres) - AT-5 Spandrel (70-4000 metres)
Road range 500 km (310 mi) 600 km (370 mi) 750 km (470 mi) 700 km (430 mi) 800 km (500 mi) 800 km (500 mi)
Maximum velocity (on road) 100 km/h (62 mph) 85 km/h (53 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph) 85 km/h (53 mph) 100 km/h (62 mph)
Capacity (maximum) 3 crew + 7 passengers 3 crew + 6 passengers 2 crew + 9 passengers 3 crew + 7 passengers 3 crew + 9 passengers 3 crew + 9 passengers

Service history



Related vehicles


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "LAV III/NZLAV". Retrieved 2009-09-22.  
  2. ^ "Army-Technology – Piranha III / LAV III Wheeled Armoured Vehicles". Retrieved 2008-02-15.  
  3. ^ a b Stone, Major J. Craig (Summer), "An Examination of the Armoured Personnel Carrier Replacement Project" (PDF), Canadian Military Journal: 59–65,  
  4. ^ a b c d "Canadian Army > LAV III - LIGHT ARMOURED VEHICLE". Department of National Defence (Canada). Retrieved 2009-07-22.  
  5. ^ "Stryker Light Armored Vehicle III (LAV III) > LAV III - LIGHT ARMOURED VEHICLE". Tony rogers. Retrieved 2003.  
  6. ^ "Canadian Army > LAV COMPANY TACTICS". Department of National Defence (Canada). Retrieved 2003-10-14.  
  7. ^ "Reviewing the LAV III – Rollovers and Suicide Bombers, Are Criticisms of the CF’s Armoured Vehicles Warranted?". Canadian American Strategic Review. Retrieved 2009-07-23.  
  8. ^ a b "Canada Up-Armoring its LAV-IIIs". Defense Industry Daily. 2008-12-13.  
  9. ^ "Government of Canada Contract Will Help Support Canadian Forces Armoured Vehicle Fleet". Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2008-11-26.  
  10. ^ IBD Dieisenroth Engineering. "Next Generation IED-Protection". Press release. Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  11. ^
  12. ^ Governmetn of Canada (2008-11-26). "Government of Canada Contract will help support Canadian Forces Armoured Vehicle Fleet". Press release. Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  13. ^ "LAV III Kodiak Armoured Personnel Carrier". Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  14. ^ "Canada develops supplemental armour kits for its LAV III vehicles". Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Hard Numbers – CF Afghanistan Casualties vs Vehicle Type". Canadian American Strategic Review. 2008-02. Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  17. ^ Department of National Defence (Canada) (2009-07-08). "Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) III Upgrade Project". Press release. Retrieved 2009-07-27.  
  18. ^ "LAV-III out of service". CTV.  
  19. ^ Pugliese, David (2009-06-02), "Military wants $5B for army's fleet", Ottawa Citizen,  
  20. ^ "Military to get $5B for armoured vehicles". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-07-07.  
  21. ^ a b "Light Armored Vehicle-III (LAVIII)". General dynamics land systems. Retrieved 2009-09-28.  
  22. ^ "BTR-3U Armoured Personnel Carrier". KMDB. Retrieved 2009-01-27.  
  23. ^ "VBCI Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle, France". Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  24. ^ "FAHD armoured vehicle". Arab Organization for Industrialization. Retrieved 2009-01-27.  
  25. ^ "FAHD". Kader factory. Retrieved 2009-01-27.  
  26. ^ "ZSL92 Wheeled Armoured Vehicle". SinoDefence. Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  27. ^ "BTR-90". Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  28. ^ ,  

External links


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