Canadian forces personnel who worked with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan used a number of different vehicles to carry out their duties. Here is a look at some of the military vehicles used by Canada during the mission:

Leopard 2A6M

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The newer Leopard 2 tanks have superior firing capabilities, stronger armour and go twice as fast as the older generation ones. (Martin Ouellet/Canadian Press)

The first Canadian Leopard 2 tanks, leased from Germany, arrived in Afghanistan in 2007 as replacements for the aging Leopard 1 tanks. The Leopard 2 tanks have stronger armour, superior firing capabilities and go twice as fast as the older generation tanks they replaced.

The hardy tanks are designed for minimum maintenance. It's possible to completely replace the engine and transmission in 30 minutes in the field, for example.

Variants:

  • Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle — Bueffel (Buffalo).
  • Armoured Engineer Vehicle — Kodiak.
  • Armoured Bridge Layer — Biber (Beaver).

Armament:

  • 120-mm L55 smooth bore gun (34 rounds).
  • 1 x 7.62-mm co-axially mounted machine-gun (4,500 rounds).
  • 1 x 7.62-mm anti-aircraft machine-gun.
  • 76-mm grenade launchers (two clusters of eight launchers).

Specifications:

  • Length: 11.0 m (gun facing forward).
  • Weight: 63.5 tonnes.
  • Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 12 cylinders, 1,500 horsepower.
  • Speed: 72 km/h.

"G-Wagon" (Gelaendenwagen)

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The Gelaendenwagen or "G-Wagon" for short, is produced by Mercedes Benz in Graz, Austria. (Les Perreaux/The Canadian Press)

In 2005, the Canadian Forces took delivery of the first new Gelaendenwagen vehicles, "G-Wagon" for short, produced by Mercedes Benz in Graz, Austria. The G-Wagon was used in Afghanistan as a tactical transport vehicle for regular and reserve units in field operations and training.

It has specially designed armour to provide protection against small arms, hand grenades and anti-personnel mines. The Canadian Forces say the armour kits are based on a modular approach, so that vehicle parts such as the doors and the front windshield can be removed and replaced by armoured modules. Additional armour protects the floor, roof and rear wall of the crew area.

Variants:

  • Basic
  • Command and reconnaissance
  • Military police

Specifications:

  • Crew: One driver and three passengers.
  • Length: 4.165 m.
  • Maximum speed: Approx. 138 km/h.
  • Engine: 2.7 litre, 5-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine.
  • Drive: 4 x 4 permanent all-wheel drive, 5-speed automatic.

Bison

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The Bison eight-wheeled armoured vehicle is used in roles ranging from mobile repair to electronic warfare. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

The Department of National Defence describes it as an eight-wheeled armoured vehicle originally designed as an infantry section carrier. The Bisons are also used in other support roles, including reconnaissance, and as ambulances, electronic warfare vehicles and mortar platforms.

Variants:

  • Bison Ambulances.
  • Bison Mobile Repair Team vehicles.
  • Bison Recovery vehicles.
  • Bison Electronic Warfare vehicles.
  • Bison NBC reconnaissance vehicles.

Armament:

  • Mortar variant: 7.62mm C6 machine gun (C6).
  • Command Post: C9A1 machine gun.
  • Ambulance: Nil.
  • All except ambulance: 76-mm grenade launcher (two clusters of four launchers).

Specifications:

  • Crew: Two (driver and commander).
  • Length: 6.5 m.
  • Weight: 13 tonnes.
  • Maximum speed: Land: 100 km/h. Water: 10 km/h.
  • Engine: 275 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T two-cycle turbo-charged diesel.
  • Drive: full-time 4-wheel, selective 8-wheel.

Lav III

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A Canadian Forces LAV III in Afghanistan. (Tobi Cohen/Canadian Press)

The LAV III is designed primarily as an eight-wheeled armoured troop carrier capable of handling a variety of armaments.

While the LAV III is well-liked by soldiers for its ease of handling, it has been criticized for tipping easily. A 2004 briefing note to the army warned the LAV III was especially prone to tipping on ground with an angle of 30 degrees or greater, and should be driven in the centre of roads in countries with poor highway systems, where edges of roads are prone to break away under heavy weight.

Variants:

  • LAV Infantry Section Carriers.
  • LAV Command Post variants.
  • LAV TOW Under Armour (TUA) variants. Equipped with TOW guided missile launchers.
  • LAV Forward Observation Officer (FOO) variants.
  • LAV Engineer variants.
  • Multi-Mission Effects Vehicle (MMEV).

Armament:

  • 25-mm stabilized M242 chain gun.
  • 7.62-mm stabilized coaxial machine gun (C6).
  • 5.56 or 7.62-mm top-turret mounted machine gun.
  • 76-mm grenade launcher (two clusters of four launchers).

Specifications:

  • Length: 6.98 m.
  • Maximum speed: 100 km/h.
  • Weight: 16 950 kg.
  • Engine: 350 hp Caterpillar diesel.
  • Wheels: 8 x 8 drive.

Coyote

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A Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicle with a crew of four approaches the defensive perimeter of Kandahar International Airport. ((Photo Courtesy of DND))

The Coyote is a reconnaissance vehicle used to conduct surveillance missions. It can use radar, thermal imaging, laser range-finding equipment and optical cameras to observe hostile forces.

Armament:

  • 25-mm stabilized M242 chain gun.
  • 7.62-mm stabilized coaxial machine gun.
  • 7.62-mm top-turret mounted machine gun.
  • 76-mm grenade launcher (two clusters of four launchers).
  • 7.62-mm C6 machine gun.

Specifications:

  • Length: 6.39 m.
  • Maximum speed: 100 km/hr.
  • Weight: 14.4 tonnes.
  • Engine: 275 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T

Nyala

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A Nyala armoured vehicle hit by a suicide bomber in September 2006 limps back to the Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Kanadahar, Afghanistan. ((Photo Courtesy of DND))

Described as a mine-hardened reconnaissance vehicle by the Department of National Defence, the Nyala is a four-wheel-drive jeep designed to withstand the blast from two simultaneous antitank mine detonations. The Nyala has seen action in a number of areas with the Canadian Forces, including Ethiopia / Eritrea and Afghanistan.

Variants:

  • Armoured Personnel Carrier.
  • Utility vehicle.

Armament:

  • .50 cal heavy machine gun.

Specifications:

  • Length: 5.46 m.
  • Weight: 6,800 kg (combat weight).
  • Engine: Daimler-Benz OM 352, 6 cylinder diesel, 123 HP.
  • Maximum Speed: 100 km/h.

Armoured Patrol Vehicle

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The RG-31, Armoured Patrol Vehicle (APV) made its first appearance in Afghanistan March 2006. (DND) ((Photo Courtesy of DND))

The Armoured Patrol Vehicle (APV) is designed to protect the troops within from small arms fire, hand grenades and antitank mines. The remote weapon station mounted on the roof can be operated by a gunner protected within the vehicle.

Armament:

  • 1 x 7.62mm machine gun, or
  • 1 x 12.7mm machine gun, or
  • 1 x 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Specifications:

  • Length: 6.40 m.
  • Crew: two crew and four passengers.
  • Max speed: 105 km/h Drive: Full-time 4-wheel drive.
  • Engine: 6 cylinder OM 366 A 5.958L 4-stroke turbo diesel.

Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System

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The Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System (AHSVS) offers better protection and can haul heavier loads than previous transport trucks used by the Canadian Forces. ((Photo Courtesy of DND))

The Canadian military calls the AHSVS, a military variant of a Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy-duty truck, "the best-armoured cab in the world." These eight-wheel-drive trucks can carry 16 tonnes or tow 30 tonnes over difficult terrain and, properly equipped, can drive in over a metre of water.

Variants:

  • Cargo handling vehicle with crane.
  • Pallet loading system.
  • Heavy tank transporter.
  • Recovery.

Armoured Recovery Vehicle

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A Canadian military vehicle technician gives a stripped down armoured recovery vehicle a wash. (Murray Brewster/The Canadian Press)

The Taurus ARV is essentially a tow-truck crossed with a tank. It can recover and tow vehicles that have been disabled by combat damage or mechanical failure. The Taurus ARV can carry a Leopard tank's engine so it can be replaced in the field. It can also double as a bulldozer and refuel other vehicles.

Armament:

  • 1 x 7.62-mm co-axially mounted machine-gun (C6).
  • 1 x 7.62-mm crew commander's machine-gun (C6).
  • 6 x 76-mm grenade launchers.

Specifications:

  • Length: 7.57 m.
  • Crew: Four.
  • Weight: 39,200 kg.
  • Maximum speed: (road) 62 km/h.
  • Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 830 hp.

Badger

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A Badger armoured engineer vehicle is digging a hole in the mountainside at Forward Operating Base Ma'Sum Ghar. ((Photo Courtesy of DND))

The Badger armoured engineering vehicle is like a 42-tonne Swiss army knife. It can act as a bulldozer and excavator. Its crane can lift 7.8 tonnes. Its winch can pull 35 tonnes. It can also tow disabled vehicles.

Armament:

  • C6 – 7.62-mm machine gun.
  • 76-mm grenade launcher.

Specifications:

  • Length: 8.8 m.
  • Weight: 41,750 kg.
  • Crew: Two to four.
  • Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 830 hp.
  • Maximum Speed: 62 km/h.