ARCHIVED - M113 Life Extension Project

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Backgrounder / April 20, 2000 / Project number: BG-00.008

INTRODUCTION

The 1994 Defence White Paper identified the acquisition of new Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and the refurbishment of part of the existing APC fleet as one of the four key Capital acquisitions essential to maintaining multi-purpose, combat capable forces. APCs, which have been described as "battlefield taxis" are used to provide Canadian Forces (CF) personnel with basic levels of protection, mobility, and fire-power for self-defence.

The APC Replacement Project will field 651 LAV IIIs for front line combat roles. As the replacement of the complete APC fleet with new vehicles was deemed unaffordable, however, the life extension of the remaining in-service APCs was approved as the most cost-effective way of providing the Army with the required combat support and combat service support capabilities. Two projects, M113 Life Extension (for tracked APCs) and Wheeled Light Armour Vehicle Life Extension were created to meet this requirement.

THE M113 LE PROJECT

The M113 is a tracked vehicle that was originally used primarily as a mechanised infantry section carrier. Over the years, several variants have been fielded. The aim of the M113 Life Extension Project is to upgrade and convert selected in-service M113s to Combat Support and Combat Service Support variants.
In June 1996, the interdepartmental Senior Project Advisory Committee (SPAC) approved the sole source procurement to DEW Engineering Ltd., the exclusive Canadian Agent for United Defense, the Original Equipment Manufacturer for the M113. The production work will be performed at the Canadian Forces' 202 Workshop Depot in Montreal, which has been rebuilding Canada's APCs for over 30 years.

This contract will represent the major workload of 202 Workshop Depot during the seven-year production period, and will sustain over 800 person years of employment. In addition, DEW is committed to a 100 per cent Canadian offset program which will create over 2,800 person years of employment across Canada through the provision of products and services.

The M113 Life Extension project will begin on April 1, 2000, and is scheduled for completion by March 31, 2007. A total of 341 tracked APCs will be upgraded to increase their protection, capacity and mobility, with an option for 61 more. The scope of the work includes new engines, transmissions and drive trains; the provision of add-on armour; and the stretching of 183 vehicles to increase their capacity and mobility.

The following seven variants will be fielded:

1. M113 A3 - Personnel Carrier, ambulance or Mobile Repair Team
2. M577 A3 - Command Post
3. MTVL Basic - Personnel Carrier, Light Re-supply
4. MTVC - Heavy Re-supply
5. MTVE - Engineer Vehicle
6. MTVF - Fitter (Repair) Vehicle
7. MTVR - Recovery Vehicle

There is also an option in the contract to refurbish 61 more vehicles as dedicated Air Defence Units. In addition, the government expects to award an estimated $29 million contract to equip the M113s with a Protected Weapons Station (turret), which will provide the capability to operate the crew-served weapon from under armour.

CONCLUSION

The APC is vital to ensuring multipurpose, combat-capable armed forces. APCs are used in a wide variety of missions earmarked for the Canadian Forces, including peacekeeping and peacemaking operations such as those in Bosnia, Kosovo and Haiti. As well, they are used to deliver humanitarian aid and to support disaster-relief operations such as the Manitoba flood effort in 1997 and the ice storm in Quebec and Eastern Ontario in 1998, United Nations peacekeeping and peacemaking operations, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and aid to the civil power. The M113 Life Extension Project will result in a fleet of reliable, highly mobile APCs with good growth potential and the potential to remain in service for the foreseeable future.