Canada is spending $5 billion to upgrade and expand its fleet of LAV III wheeled armored vehicles. Over the last decade, Canada has replaced its fleet of 1980s era MOWAG vehicles with the locally built LAV IIIs. Canada donated many of the older wheeled armored vehicles (mostly 11 ton Grizzly personnel carriers) to nations performing peacekeeping duties.
The LAV III is a 17 ton vehicle mounting a 25mm autocannon, plus two machine-guns. It has a crew of three and can carry seven passengers. The LAV III design was the model for the American Stryker. Canada has 650 LAV IIIs, and has exported them to New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. Although Canada is seeking more heavily protected trucks MRAPs, for troops in Afghanistan threatened by roadside bombs, the LAV IIIs are still seen as suitable for many combat missions. The LAV III upgrades will make the vehicles more resistant to roadside bombs and mines, as well as adding more electronics and defenses against missiles. Canada expects to continue using LAV III type vehicles for another 25 years.