Vehicle list of Canada's USD15 Bn deal with Saudi Arabia

CBC News managed to obtain the list of vehicles concerned by the USD 15 billion arms deal signed in 2014 between Canada and Saudi Arabia. On top of the vehicles deal, there is a 14-year maintenance deal.

Vehicle list of Canada s USD15 Mn deal with Saudi Arabia
LAV 6 of the Canadian army (Picture source: General Dynamics Land Systems)

It’s the first time that, despite the Saudi will to conceal the major elements and some details of the original agreement signed in early 2014, documents have been obtained and enable the press to reveal interesting information. The $15 billion agreement was given the further blessing of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government in the spring of 2016 when it began issuing permits for the export of the combat vehicles. The details of General Dynamics Land Systems Canada's (GDLS) contract were sealed under a confidentiality agreement demanded by the Saudi government. Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper once described them as "trucks." Before the last election, Justin Trudeau called them "jeeps."

The documents obtained by CBC News show that these so-called “trucks” and/or “Jeeps” are actually 928 units of the most modern light armored vehicles, known as the LAV 6. Of those, almost 40% — 354 — are standard troop carriers. The order also includes 119 LAV 6 vehicles of the "heavy assault" type, with powerful 105mm canons affixed to their turrets.

Another 119 are configured as "antitank" vehicles and a further 119 are designated as "direct fire" support, with a two-man turret and 30mm chain gun. This turret is the Cockerill 3000 Series of CMI, a unique platform allowing the same turret to integrate guns of different calibers and the corresponding technological modules: 25mm, 30mm, 30/40mm automatic guns, 35mm and 50mm caliber as well as direct fire guns of 90 and 105mm caliber. These systems can also fire missiles. Thanks to their unique operational capability, the rapid interchangeability of both their crews and their weapons and their very high commonality, the Cockerill 3000 Series modular turrets can cover all types of missions and objectives in the battlefield (engagement of battle tanks, bunkers and helicopters, urban combat, intervention on so-called asymmetric conflicts ...). In addition, their modularity and commonality significantly optimize the overall cost of ownership than operational flexibility.

The remaining vehicles include ambulances, mobile command posts, VIP transports and recovery vehicles equipped with cranes.

Rumors spread among the defense industries say that some details of the order have been modified over the last four years, and that it's possible fewer vehicles may be sold. No way to know: "General Dynamics declines to comment due to contractual and confidentiality reasons," said Doug Wilson-Hodge, manager of corporate affairs at General Dynamics Land Systems. Delivery of the first vehicles was slated to begin in early 2017, according to internal Global Affairs Canada emails obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation.

The government agency that brokered the deal — the Canadian Commercial Corporation — also refused to discuss the documents. Internal government emails, obtained in 2015 by The Globe and Mail, show the Saudis stipulated that releasing the details of the deal would amount to "breaking the terms of the contract." Stephen Harper personally reassured the late Saudi King Abdullah, in writing, that Ottawa would hold up its end of the bargain, the newspaper reported.

The contract between London, Ont.-based GDLS, also involves a 14-year support program that covers ammunition, crew "training in Canada/Europe" and "embedded" maintenance, with a fleet management team in 13 workshops. The reference to Europe has to do with training Saudi crews on the gun system, slated to take place in France.


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