January 19, 2012. By David Pugliese Defence Watch
The Canadian Army’s M113 armoured personnel carrier fleet is being driven into oblivion.
Sharp-eyed Defence Watch readers in Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria, BC have all sent in reports about the M113s being shipped to a scrapyard in Victoria, B.C. The vehicles are being shipped on flatbeds, two to a truck.
In Victoria they are being totally destroyed; no parts are being keep, the engines are being decimated, etc. The destruction is because the U.S. government is insisting on that. There are several hundred carriers to destroy (some estimates are as high as 500 or 600).
A number of M113s have been set aside for museums, for base displays, etc. DND tried to sell the carriers to other nations but had not much luck considering there are large numbers of the vehicles readily available.
Proposed sales of the M113s did not take off as Crown Assets and DND had hoped.
Some Defence Watch readers have suggested it might have been an idea to provide the carriers for free to some nations in the developing world that Canada has a military relationship with (there are a number of countries in Africa).
Other readers questioned why the carriers were stripped for parts in case they are needed for the TLAVs (upgraded M113s which were sent to Afghanistan and received excellent reviews about their performance).
As way of background, here is what I wrote about the TLAV on Defence Watch in July 2008:
The M113A3 TLAV or Tracked Light Armoured Vehicle was developed several years ago as part of the upgrade program for the Canadian Force’s M113A2 fleet. I’m told that although the TLAV is not seen as a frontline combat vehicle, it nonetheless is a robust and steady workhorse that can keep up to the Leopards and provide the needed protection for crews.
Jason Bobrowich, a former crew commander and armored gunnery instructor in the Canadian Forces on the Cougar and the Leopard C1, writes this about the history of the TLAV on an excellent and information-filled post on the Armorama website:
“A variety of upgrades were done to power pack, suspension, and weapon systems on the M113A2s to become the M113A3 variant. A total of nine M113A3 variants were developed for specific Combat Support roles. One variant is the M113A3 TLAV with the One Metre Turret. The most recognizable feature of this version of the TLAV is the addition of the One Metre Turret. The turrets came from the retired AVGP Grizzly 6×6 wheeled APCs. The turrets were further upgraded with 76 mm Wegmann multi-barrel grenade dischargers and add-on armour. The turrets are fitted with a .50 Calibre machine gun and a C6 7.62 mm machine gun. They are electrically or manually traversed and are fitted with an image intensification night sight.
In addition to the internal upgrades to the TLAV hull external modifications were also made. Add-on armour panels were added to the sides, front, and rear ramp. The trim vane was eliminated and a stowage bracket was added to the engine access hatch. Anti-slip surfaces were added to the hull top as well as an extended exhaust, new antenna mounts, anti-slip surfaces, and a hull top stowage box. The suspension was also upgraded with the Diehl track being replaced by the Soucy rubber band track system. The Soucy track is wider than the Diehl track, lighter, and far less work is needed to maintain it. The drive sprockets and tensioning idler wheels were also replaced with new versions designed for the Soucy track. The tracks are made of rubber, steel cable, and other compounds. The tracks dramatically reduce the noise and vibrations and increase the M113A3′s mobility.
A number of M113A3 TLAVs with the One Metre Turret are currently being used by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan along with other M113A3 variants. The TLAVs provide convoy escorts and security for both command posts and Artillery batteries. While the Canadian LAV III has replaced the M113A2 as an Infantry carrier in the Canadian Forces the M113A3 TLAV and M113A3 variants will continue to serve as very important Combat Support AFVs on the front line. Shortly after arriving in Afghanistan the TLAVs began being fitted with add-on bar armour packages. This further increased the crew protection on the TLAV against RPG type weapons.”