LAV III Mobile Gun Systems (MGS)
The Mobile Gun System (MGS) Division was responsible for providing strategic procurement leadership and to procure 66 MGS with associated Integrated Logistic Support (ILS), Engineering and ILS Studies for DND. In 2003, the former Liberal government announced it would scrap the Leopard tanks and spend $600 million, to replace them with the Mobile Gun System The total contract value was estimated at $590 million. This project is in the initial phase with a first production contract planned to be awarded in 2006.
The Army's transformation into a lighter and more mobile force does not negate its need for firepower to dominate the battlefield. Quickness is increasingly important, but it cannot replace strength. Even the most benign humanitarian operations have the potential to escalate suddenly into combat operations, in which a direct fire capability will be critical to the safety of Canadian soldiers and their winning a battle.
The Leopard C2 tank represents the Canadian Forces' primary direct-fire capability. It is reaching retirement age. In their place, the Canadian Forces plan was to procure 66 modern Direct Fire Support Variants (DFSVs) of the Mobile Gun System. Replacing tracked tanks with a wheeled Mobile Gun System is part of a plan to become a lighter, more strategically mobile force. The Mobile Gun System is smaller and lighter than the Leopard tank. Although it cannot be transported in a Hercules aircraft without being partially dismantled, the Mobile Gun System can be carried on larger aircraft, such as the C-17.
Although the Leopard tank is still an effective direct-fire vehicle, Canada has rarely deployed them either because it was politically unpalatable, or sometimes because the Canadian Forces had no method of transporting these heavy beasts to a theater of operations in a timely way. In the lingo of the boxing ring, tanks are heavyweights. The Mobile Gun System is considerably lighter but not nearly as well protected.
MMEV was granted Treasury Board (TB) Preliminary Project Approval (PPA) on September 7, 2005 and was announced on September 22, 2005. Public Works Government Services Canada is waiting for TB approval to commence contract negotiations for the PPA phase with Oerlikon Contraves Canada. First possible vehicle delivery was intended for early 2010 and an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in late 2010. The total Estimated Project Cost is $753.4M (GST included).
The Parliament Committee had some reservations that it might not represent good value for money spent. Canada's allies have not yet decided whether to invest in this system. On February 6, 2006, Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada's twenty-second Prime Minister, succeeding Liberal Party leader Paul Martin. In the spring of 2006, the Army recommended the termination of the Mobile Gun System project. All work on the Mobile Gun System has been suspended pending a Government decision on project termination. All personnel have been transferred to other Departmental priorities/programs and actions are currently underway to minimize Government liabilities.
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