Force Mobility Enhancement Project

Backgrounder / May 16, 2012 / Project number: BG–12.022

The Force Mobility Enhancement (FME) project includes the acquisition of a fleet of Armoured Engineer Vehicles (AEV) that will provide crucial support to the Leopard 2 tanks, Light Armoured Vehicle III, and future fleets, such as the Close Combat Vehicle and the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle. The project will also include the installation of tactical mobility implements on the fleet of Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

The first phase of this project is to acquire Armoured Engineer Vehicles (AEV). The ability of these vehicles to operate under fire will further enhance the Canadian Forces’ mobility and deployability in a wide range of missions. This phase will also acquire Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV) in support of the AEV.

The AEV ensures troops have a clear, safe path to navigate by clearing mines, debris and other obstacles, filling in craters and providing limited road maintenance and construction. As the new fleet of AEV will use a Leopard 2 tank chassis, they will have a high degree of crew protection and will continue to be an integral part of any armour deployment.  The AEV is employable in a wide variety of situations.  The in-service Leopard 1 AEV’s were employed in domestic operations such as flood control and the 1998 Ice Storm.

The new AEV will replace the Canadian Forces’ aging fleet of Leopard 1-based AEV Badgers. The new fleet of AEVs will be capable of supporting the Leopard 2 main battle tank fleet until 2035. FME will procure 13 AEVs, with options for an additional five vehicles.  The contract for the conversion of Leopard 2 chassis into AEVs was awarded to Flensburger Fahrzeugbau (FFG) Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH) on April 5, 2012.  The Government of Canada’s Industrial and Regional Benefits policy is applied to this phase of the project, which means FFG must generate economic activity in Canada, dollar for dollar equal to the contract value.

The second vehicle type, the ARV, is essentially a tow-truck for a tank or other large, armoured vehicle. The ARV is also manufactured using a Leopard 2 chassis and is able to recover vehicles from the battlefield while under fire, thanks to its high degree of crew protection and specialized towing equipment. FME exercised contract options from the Tank Replacement Project on March 26, 2012, for the conversion of four Leopard 2 chassis into ARVs by Rheinmetall Land Systems (RLS) GmbH.

The second phase of the project will be to procure tactical mobility implements for the Leopard 2 tank fleet, including dozer blades, mine ploughs and mine rollers. FME will acquire 16 mine rollers, 16 mine ploughs, and 18 dozer blades.

Both the AEVs and the implements procured under FME are expected to reach Initial Operational Capability by February 2015, with Full Operational Capability expected by December 2016.

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