CBC In Depth
Canada's equipment
CBC News Online | September 18, 2006

Canadian forces working with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan are using a number of different vehicles and pieces of equipment to carry out their duties. See below for a look at what's being used:

Leopard C2 | G-Wagon | Bison | Iltis | Lav-3 | Nyala

Leopard C2

This tank has a crew of four and is armed with a 105-mm L7A3 gun and two machine guns. The military says the vehicles will provide more protection and give the troops more firepower on the ground.

  • 105-mm L7A3 gun
  • 1 x 7.62-mm co-axially mounted machine-gun (C6)
  • 1 x 7.62-mm crew commander's machine-gun (C6)
  • 76-mm grenade launchers (2 clusters of 4 launchers)
  • Ammunition types: Armour-Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS)
  • High explosive squash head (HESH)
  • White Phosphorous Smoke (WP)
  • Length: 8.17 m (gun at 6 o'clock), 9.54 m (gun at 12 o'clock)
  • Width: 3.37 m
  • Height: 2.62 m
  • Weight: 42.5 t
  • Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 830 hp
  • Speed: 65 km/h
  • Range: 600 km
  • Number in Service: 114
Photo Courtesy of DND

"G-Wagon" (Gelaendenwagen)

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 will be used a tactical transport vehicle for regular and reserve units for field operations and training.

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

Variants: 3 (basic, command and reconnaissance, military police)
Type: 4 Pax Station Wagon
Engine: 2.7 litre, 5-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine
Drivetrain: 4 x 4 permanent all-wheel drive, 5-speed automatic
Tires: Michelin XZL 8.25R16 with optional run-flat inserts.
Fording ability: 600 mm
Ground clearance: 43.9 cm
Side slope angle: 30�
Approach angle: 40�
Gradeability: 60 percent
Payload: 1,500 kg max.
Entered service: 2005
Number delivered: 60
Number ordered: 802

Courtesy DND


Canada has 30 Bison armoured vehicles in Kabul. The Department of National Defence describes it as an eight-wheeled armoured vehicle originally designed as an infantry section carrier. The Bisons are now used in other support roles, including reconnaissance, and as ambulances, electronic warfare vehicles and mortar platforms.

77 Bison Ambulances
45 Bison Mobile Repair Team vehicles
35 Bison Recovery vehicles
24 Bison Mortar vehicles
14 Bison Electronic Warfare vehicles
4 Bison NBC Reconnaissance vehicles

Mortar variant: 81-mm mortar and a 7.62mm C6 machine gun (C6)
Command Post: C9A1 machine gun
Ambulance: Nil
Other variants: 7.62-mm C6 machine gun
All except ambulance: 76-mm grenade launcher (2 clusters of 4 launchers)

Crew: 2 (driver and commander)
Length: 6.5 m
Width: 2.6 m
Height: 2.6 m
Weight: 13 tonnes
Maximum speed: Land: 100 km/h, Water: 10 km/h
Range: 650 km
Engine: 275 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T two-cycle turbo-charged diesel
Transmission: Allison 5-speed MT653
Maximum grade: 60%
Drive: full-time 4-wheel, selective 8-wheel
Entered service: 1990
Number in service: 199

Courtesy DND


Thus far, the Iltis jeep has been the standard Canadian patrol vehicle for most missions in the Kabul area.

Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, the Canadian deputy commander of ISAF, says that armoured vehicles are not always practical in the narrow streets of Kabul, which he described as "a rabbit warren of narrow alleys." Canadians often patrol those streets by night using night-vision goggles.

The Department of National Defence describes the Iltis as a four-wheel drive light utility vehicle designed to meet the army's all-terrain requirements. It is used primarily for command, reconnaissance and communications but can also mount weapons or carry casualties.

One advantage to the Iltis is that it can be carried by a CC 130 Hercules aircraft. The first Iltis was acquired by the Canadian Forces in 1984 and DND notes "the vehicle is ending its serviceable life."

Canada has 98 Iltis jeeps in Afghanistan. Soldiers often complain about their lack of protection, that they are not powerful enough and not dependable.

Iltis means "ferret" in German. The vehicle was originally designed by Audi for Volkswagen in the 1970s. Bombardier in Montreal took over production in the 1980s and eventually manufactured about 6,000 for the Canadian Forces.

Canada plans to replace the Iltis in 2004 with a heavier Mercedes four-door utility vehicle. Similar vehicles have been used by Canada's NATO allies in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans. German peacekeepers also used a similar vehicle, nicknamed the "Dingo" when they were in Kabul.

Length: 3.982 m
Width: 1.520 m
Height: 1.937 m
Weight: 1,550 kg
Maximum speed: 100 km/h
Engine: 74 hp, 4 cylinder, 1.7 l, gasoline
Transmission: 5-speed manual with integrated differential
Entered service: 1984-1986
Number acquired: 2,500

Courtesy DND


The LAV-3 is designed primarily as an eight-wheeled, armoured troop carrier capable of handling a variety of armaments.

313 LAV Infantry Section Carriers
181 LAV Command Post variants
71 LAV TOW Under Armour (TUA) variants. Equipped with TOW guided missile launchers.
47 LAV Forward Observation Officer (FOO) variants
39 LAV Engineer variants

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 (2 clusters of 4 launchers)

Length: 6.98 m
Width: 2.7 m
Height: 2.8 m
Top speed: 100 km/h
Range: 450 km
Weight: 16 950 kg
Trench crossing: 2 m wide
Fording: Up to 1.2 m
Sights: Daytime optical, Thermal Imagery (TI), Generation III Image Intensification (II)
Winch: Double Capstan constant pull winch
Engine: 350 hp Caterpillar diesel
Transmission: 6 forward gears, 1 reverse
Brakes: Power (air) with ABS
Wheels: 8 x 8 drive
Entered service: 1999
Number in service: 651

Courtesy 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 Ethiopia / Eritrea and Afghanistan.

Armoured Personnel Carrier
Utility vehicle

Length: 5.46 m
Width: 2.21 m
Height: 2.50 m
Weight: 6,800 kg (combat weight)
Engine: Daimler-Benz OM 352, 6 cylinder diesel, 123 HP
Maximum Speed: 100 km/h
Range: 900 km

Courtesy DND


CANADA'S INVOLVEMENT: Canada in Afghanistan Danger pay Q&A with ambassador Text of the PM's speech to Canadian troops Timeline Kandahar patrol Canada's casualties Canadian units Canada's Equipment
ISSUES: Improvised Explosive Device The women of Afghanistan The Taliban Afghanistan: Still no peace Schools in Afghanistan
PEOPLE AND PLACES: Hamid Karzai Kabul Kandahar Mazar e Sharif
PHOTO GALLERIES: Afghan patrols Mountain Thrust Afghan offensive Road to Martello Reporting from Kandahar HARPER IN AFGHANISTAN – Monday, March 13, 2006 – Sunday, March 12, 2006 Canadians in Kandahar On the ground Afghanistan in 2004
VIDEO FEATURES: Warlords take office (Real Video runs 12:20) Carolyn Dunn visits Afghan's refugee camps (Real Video runs 2:53)
VIEWPOINT: Cpl. Brian Sanders Russell D. Storring Aisha Ahmad

Capital: Kabul

Area: 647,500 km sq. (same size as Manitoba)

Population: 28,513,000 (2004)

Head of State: Hamid Karzai

Unemployment: 78%

GDP (2003): $20 billion US (est.)

Exports to Canada (2003): $618,889

Imports from Canada (2003): $9 million

Median Age: 17.5

Life expectancy at birth: 42.46

Ethnic groups: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%

(Source: CIA World Fact Book, Government of Canada)
CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external sites. Links will open in new window.

Operation Athena

NATO in Afghanistan

CIA World Factbook, Afghanistan

Print this page

Send a comment

Indepth Index