The Canadian military has dozens of older personnel carriers it plans to send to scrap this year, even though a private company has offered to refurbish them for use in Ukraine.
The Department of National Defense (DND) says 67 Tracked Light Armored Vehicles (TLAVs) out of a fleet of 140 are “parked pending demilitarization and final disposal, or are being used as a source of spare parts” for the 73 vehicles it they remain in service.
All M113 troop transports, which have been in service for decades, are in “poor condition” and awaiting disposal, DND says. The department says they will be replaced in the coming years with new armored combat support vehicles (ACSVs).
London, Ont.-based Armatec Survivability has offered to upgrade surplus armored vehicles, the federal Conservative opposition said this week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Ottawa on Friday, where he is expected to ask Canada for more military equipment, including additional tanks and armored fighting vehicles.
Canada has already donated eight Leopard 2A4 tanks, 39 new ACSVs and 208 four-by-four armored Roshel Senators, part of what is now a $1.8 billion arms package for the beleaguered Eastern European nation.
A senior DND official this week acknowledged Armatec’s proposal, adding that no decision has been made. He would not indicate whether the proposal was viewed favorably.
“Ultimately, that’s a decision we leave to policymakers and then we try to act on,” Ty Curran, deputy director-general for international security, told the House of Commons defense committee on Tuesday.
Curran said Armatec’s proposal is one of several unsolicited offers that have landed on federal desks since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine began last year.
“The challenge, of course, around any of the donations that come from… [Canadian Armed Forces] “Inventory is balancing operational requirements,” he said.
In a written response to a Breaking: request for information about the M-113 vehicles, DND said that of the 73 operational TLAVs, 30 are considered reserve and are being held in military depots. This is in addition to the 67 that are already considered surplus and are about to be scrapped.
Canada has to consider multiple factors before donating battlefield equipment to Ukraine, the department’s written statement added.
‘Very bad condition’
“Any equipment donated by Canada must be sustainable on the battlefield, but more importantly, it must meet a specific need identified by Ukraine and be equipment that Ukrainians are trained to use and have the resources and capabilities to maintain,” he said. the Department.
“The remaining number of M113s that are not employed by the CAF are awaiting demilitarization and final disposal due to being in very poor condition, or are being retained as a source of spares for the operational fleet.”
Ukrainians are very familiar with the operation and maintenance of the M113. Ukraine has received, or is in the process of receiving, more than 560 troop transport vehicles from the United States, Lithuania, Denmark, Spain and Italy, among other countries.
During Tuesday’s committee hearing, Conservative defense critic James Bezan said both the United States and Australia are interested in partnering with Canada on the Armatec venture because they also want to put their surplus vehicles in the field for Ukraine.
Bezan asked Curran to explain the status of the proposal. He said Armatec told him he could renew up to eight M113s each month.
Curran did not directly answer that question, prompting the committee chair, Liberal MP John McKay, to ask for clarification.
The federal government has set aside up to $500 million for the current budget year for donations of military equipment to Ukraine, Curran said, adding that the Armatec project could be financed with that pool of money.
In addition to the M113s, the Canadian military has 195 LAV II Bisons and 149 Coyote armored reconnaissance vehicles that will be taken out of service this year, DND says. It is unclear whether there are proposals from the private sector to renew them for use in Ukraine.