Canada readies for new, smaller truck fleet

VICTORIA, British Columbia — The Canadian military expects to acquire a new fleet of trucks starting in 2026 — but it will order fewer vehicles than it has in its the current fleet.

The Canadian government announced Jan. 10 it had selected General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada of London, Ontario as the preferred bidder for the Logistics Vehicle Modernization (LVM) project.

Negotiations are ongoing and specific details of the contract won’t be available until it is signed later this year. But the LVM project budget is estimated to be between $1 billion and $5 billion Canadian dollars (U.S. $740 million and $3.7 billion), according to the Department of National Defence.

The new vehicles will replace the current in-service fleet of 1,300 light support vehicles and 840 heavy logistics vehicles as well as the fleet of heavy engineer support vehicles, National Defence spokeswoman Andrée-Anne Poulin said in an email.

Those vehicles have all been in use since the late 1980s and early 1990s, she added.

However, the government won’t be buying the same number it has.

“It’s important to note that LVM is not a one-for-one capability replacement,” Poulin stated. “Instead, we have developed a solution-focused procurement that weighs both the quality and quantity of deliverables within a fixed budget.”

The actual number of vehicles and ancillary equipment that will be delivered to the Canadian Forces will be made public following award of the contract.

An April 4, 2023 Canadian Army briefing to defense industry executives in Ottawa provided a general outline of the service’s acquisition plans. Those included one variant of light truck, four variants of light trailers and 14 variants of interchangeable modules that would provide a variety of specialized functions, according to the briefing by Army Lt. Col. Eric Hardy of the Directorate of Land Requirements.

In addition, the project will deliver seven variants of heavy trucks and three variants of trailers for those vehicles. Two different types of tractor trailers would also be acquired, according to the briefing, which was obtained by Defense News.

Armor protection systems for the vehicles would be included in the package to be provided by General Dynamics Land Systems, Poulin said.

“It is anticipated that first deliveries will occur in the 2026-2028 timeframe,” she noted. Initial operational capability is expected in the 2027-2029 timeframe, and full operational capability is slated for between 2029 and 2031.

The contract will include interim in-service and logistic support as well as long-term in-service support, Poulin noted.

General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada will be the prime contractor in a consortium that will provide the Canadian Forces with Mercedes-Benz Zetros trucks, according to a Jan. 15 news release issued by consortium member Marshall Land Systems Canada.

The Zetros truck will provide the common vehicle chassis across all configurations, the firm noted.

Marshall will produce a range of interchangeable containerized mission modules for the trucks at its facility in Moncton, New Brunswick.