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SANG LAV-VI / LAV 700 - Light Armored Vehicles

Canada has become the second most important exporter of arms in the Middle East. There is the toning down of having to take the human rights situation into account when issuing export permits. In 2014, a contract was signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown corporation, for the sale of light armoured vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada. This contract is governed exclusively by Saudi law and subject to the Saudi judicial system.

Since 1986, Canada has had a stringent process in place for approving export permits for the sale of military equipment. One of the considerations is whether the equipment being sold would be used to violate human rights. Different versions of this military equipment were provided by Canadian companies to Saudi Arabia since 1993. Cancellation could deprive almost 2,000 workers of their livelihood, principally in London, Ontario. We must take into account the chain of repercussions for an industry on which around 70,000 Canadian jobs directly depend and which plays an important role in fostering research and development in Canada.

in the framework of the mega -contract concluded in February 2014 by the Canadian state foreign trade corporation Canadian Commercial Corporation with the government of Saudi Arabia, the latter purchased 928 armored vehicles LAV 700, specially designed by GDLS Canada for Saudi requirements. The contract, worth $ 15 billion Canadian dollars (about $ 10 billion, with an option for another $ 3 billion), became the largest export defense contract in Canadian history and was designed for 14 years, including service support, repairs and training of personnel, in including the supply of equipment was designed for seven years. Deliveries of LAV 700 armored vehicles to the Saudis from the production line of GDLS Canada in London (Ontario) under this contract began in early 2017.

The LAV 700 armored vehicle with an 8x8 wheel arrangement is the latest development of the General Dynamics armored vehicles of the LAV (Piranha) family, including the LAV III and LAV 6.0. The LAV 700 has a total combat weight of more than 30 tons with a payload weight of 11 tons. The LAV 700 is powered by a Caterpillar C13 711 hp diesel engine. (hence the car index), combined with an Allison 2800 automatic transmission. The machine is equipped with an adjustable fully independent hydropneumatic suspension, allowing the driver to change the clearance. Mine protection includes a double V-shaped hull bottom.

Of the 928 LAV 700s originally planned for the acquisition by Saudi Arabia, 119 were supposed to be delivered in a version with cannon armament, equipped with the Belgian new CMI Cockerill CT-CV 105HP double turret with 105 mm / 53 rifled gun Cockerill CV normal ballistics equipped with an automatic loader. Another 119 vehicles should be manufactured in the form of an infantry fighting vehicle (fire support vehicle) with a CMI Cockerill Medium Caliber Turret (CMCT) double turret with a 30-mm ATK Orbital Mk 44 automatic cannon and an anti-tank missile launcher. Another 354 vehicles should be delivered in an armored personnel carrier version (presumably with a Kongsberg Protector remotely controlled combat module with 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns), 119 units in a self-propelled anti-tank system, and 217 vehicles in several other variants, including a 120 mm self-propelled mortar, command post, medical vehicles, ARVs and a VIP car.

On April 13, 2016 the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, released the following statement: "The Government of Canada has decided to honour the previously agreed contract for the sale of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia, signed and then announced on February 14, 2014. We have provided our reasons on many occasions. Each is mutually reinforcing of the other, and, taken together, they provide a comprehensive basis for explaining our decision."

The LAV deal was the second of its kind signed between General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada and Saudi Arabia, with an estimated 1,400 LAVs going to Saudi Arabia over the previous two decades. Those vehicles are equipped with a variety of weapon systems, ranging from 25mm cannons to 90mm guns.

Under the agreement signed in 2014, the terms of the contract were strictly confidential, preventing the government from discussing the contents with Canadians. The government undertook negotiations to improve the terms of the contract. On 10 April 2020 the Government announced that, as a result of these negotiations, we have been able to secure significant improvements to the contract. This includes now being able to communicate more transparently with Canadians about certain terms of the contract. The cancellation of this $14-billion contract—or even the mere disclosure of any of its terms—could have resulted in billions of dollars in damages to the Government of Canada, with potential damages amounting to the full value of the contract. This would have put the jobs of thousands of Canadians at risk.

Under law, Canadian goods cannot be exported where there is a substantial risk that they would be used to commit or to facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law or serious acts of gender-based violence.

On April 27, 2016, Roy Culpeper (Group of 78), Peggy Mason (Rideau Institute), Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada), and Cesar Jaramillo (Project Ploughshares) released an open letter to the Prime Minister on the Saudi arms deal. The letter had been signed by a total of 15 Canadian non-governmental organizations. "To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical. The spirit and letter of both domestic export controls and international law support this view. The government has had every opportunity to uphold this position, but has chosen not to. "

Canada claims to be a champion of human rights and presents itself as such, and yet it is selling arms to Saudi Arabia without following its own procedures. Canada has rules and a policy banning the sale of arms to a country that abuses human rights unless it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that they can be used against the civilian population.

As the Canadian CBC television company reported on September 10, 2018 , with reference to the manufacturer’s documents, Saudi Arabia reduced the order for LAV 700 wheeled armored vehicles purchased from the Canadian branch of General Dynamics Lands Systems (GDLS Canada) under a huge contract concluded in February 2014 year. According to the publication, the contract was changed at the initiative of the Saudi side in the second half of 2016 and now provides for the supply of Saudi Arabia only 742 armored vehicles LAV 700 with an 8x8 wheel arrangement instead of 928, originally planned (in the CBC message the vehicles are not exactly named LAV 6).

On October 26, 2018, Ceasefire.ca wrote: "Canada can make a difference, a real difference. We can act in a way that supports genuine accountability for the monstrous Khashoggi crime. Even more importantly, we can act in a way that will make it more difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue its unimaginably brutal war in Yemen.... This is a defining moment for the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. .... Germany, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Finland have now all suspended arms shipments to Saudi Arabia. The European Parliament in a non-binding resolution has called for all EU members to do the same. On the other hand, the hapless UK, crippled by its impending Brexit doom, clings to trade with Saudi Arabia no matter how depraved that country’s behaviour."

Some of the combat vehicles will be fitted with an autoloading 105mm anti-tank gun, known as the Cockerill CT-CV 105HP Weapon System (gun and turret). This weapon can also fire a Falarick 105 missile, which can hit a target at distances up to 5,000 m and can perforate up to 550 mm of armor. The rest will be fitted with a CPWS 20-25-30, which can be armed from a 20 mm to a 30 mm autocanon and 150 ready to fire munition.



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