News+Politics August 19, 2013
What Goes Into A $600,000 Snowmobile?

Ranger Joe Amarualik drives his snowmobile near Eureka on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut in March 2007 (Photo: AP)

The Canadian military has been test-driving a new "stealth snowmobile" in the Arctic - with a price tag north of $600,000.

Soldiers have been trying out the prototype snowmobile, built by CrossChasm Technologies, to see how well it handles and how quiet it is, the Canadian Press reports.

Back in 2011, National Defence put out a tender document for a stealth snowmobile, with one central requirement: it had to have an electric motor that would allow it to run in "silent mode."

Originally, the maximum price tag for the vehicle was $550,000, but according to documents, the prototype that's being tested cost $620,000.

The snowmobile is nicknamed "Loki" (after the shape-shifting Norse god), and features a hybrid electric motor that allows for quiet driving.

A military spokesperson discussed the advantages of a silent vehicle.

"In general, anything in the military that's quieter is going to be advantageous," Noel Paine, a spokesman for Defence Research and Development Canada, told CP.

"Whether it flies or goes on the sea or anywhere else, if it's quieter it's advantageous to any military."

Michael Byers, author of 'Who Owns the Arctic?', has questioned whether it's wise to spend this kind of money on a snowmobile.

"I don't see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada's North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them," said Byers, a former federal NDP candidate who teaches international law at the University of British Columbia.

National Defence has stated that it doesn't plan to spend any more money on Arctic mobility in the next eight years, but the silent snowmobile project is expected to continue.

Via Winnipeg Free Press


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