Procurement: Made in Canada?

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March 19, 2007: Many people question whether Canada is carrying its weight in the war on terrorism. These same people may want to take a closer look at some of the equipment American troops takes to war. They will find a "Made in Canada" tag on lots of stuff.

Take the Stryker Armored, for example. This is the Army's most advanced armored vehicle, and it's assembled in London, Ontario by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada). GDLS-Canada is however, owned by the American company, General Dynamics (the sixth largest U. S defense contractor). The Army currently plans to equip 7 Stryker Brigade Combat Teams with more than 2,000 of these 19 ton vehicles in 10 different variants. If this vehicle continues to perform well in combat, it's likely that more variants and improved models will be developed, meaning Canadian production could continue for many years. The Stryker is not the first "American" armored vehicle made in Canada. The Marine Corps' own long serving LAV family of vehicles, on which the Styker is based, entered service in the early 1980's and was built by a Canadian division of General Motors (now owned by GDLS-Canada). The Marine Corps has over 700 LAVs in eight variants and they plan on keeping in service until at least 2015. It is interesting to note that the Marine LAV is itself based on the Swiss designed Piranha armored vehicle.

Another piece of equipment from north of the border is the Zodiac inflatable boat used by the Marines, Navy SEALs and other Special Operation types. These boats are mainly used to clandestinely land and retrieve small raiding/reconnaissance units and board suspicious vessels. The most popular model is the Zodiac FC 470 or Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC). This 15½ foot long boat is normally powered by a 40 HP outboard engine and can transport up to 10 men or a total of 2,756 lbs. more than 80 kilometers. It's manufactured in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Canadians also make something that all our troops find particularly useful, namely bullets. Due to the inability of American manufacturers to keep up with demand, the Montreal base company SNC Technologies is providing the U. S. military with several million 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm rounds per year. The 5.56 mm round is used in the M-16 rifle and the M-4 carbine, while the 7.62 mm is used by several types of medium machine guns. SNC was recently bought by General Dynamics Ordinance and Tactical Systems, yet another division of General Dynamics.

Because of the global economy and multinational companies, it's not surprising that some U. S. military equipment is made wholly or in part in foreign countries (think outsourcing). These countries may or may not share our commitment to the war on terrorism, but if you question Canada's overall commitment to the war, remember that they are proving it every day on the factory floor. Of course, they are getting well paid for it.-- Tim Spencer

 

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