Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sep 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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L LAND VEHICLES by Vanguard Staff Project for logistics trucks back on the road O n July 23, the federal government reissued a much anticipated bid solicitation for the Canadian Army's Medium Support Vehicle System – Standard Military Pattern trucks. The re-launch of the SMP portion of the MSVS project comes almost a year after the competition to find a replacement for the army's 1980s-era logistic vehicles was suddenly cancelled. On July 11, 2012, minutes before companies were to submit their bids, the program was stopped in its tracks and, in an email, Public Works and Government Services Canada said that "economic, marketplace and budgetary circumstances [had] changed" since the process began and the government would be reassessing the army's requirements. While some of the specifications may have changed, the need for armoured logistics vehicles has not. MSVS was labeled "urgent" when it was first announced in 2006 as the need for better protected vehicles became alarmingly apparent in Afghanistan, and was still a pressing need when the first RFP was released in December 2011. The project calls for up 1,500 medium-sized military-off-theshelf trucks in five variants: cargo; cargo with material handling crane; load handling system; cargo mobile repair truck; and gun tractor. The project also includes up to 300 trailers, 150 armour protection systems and associated equipment, as well as a 20-year in-service support package. The government will be seeking an industrial and regional benefits proposal equal to 100 percent of the contract value, including at least 20 percent direct benefits for the acquisition itself and 35 percent for the ISS contract. As with most major defence projects these days, PWGSC is highlighting the involvement of a fairness monitor throughout the process. While the revised RFP was announced in July, PWGSC and National Defence actually restarted the process in early January, with a letter of interest to industry that was then followed by one-onone meetings later that month. The new RFP closes on December 17 and will be followed by vehicle testing and evaluations in Nevada in 2014, with a contract awarded expected in 2015. Delivery of the first vehicle is slated for the summer of 2017, with final delivery a year later in 2018. When the government put the brakes to the process, the qualified contenders included BAE Systems with its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Military Vehicles with its Zetros 22 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 trucks, the combination of Navistar and Czech manufacturer Tatra with their ATX8, Oshkosh Defense with its Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) line, Renault Trucks with the Kerax 8x8, and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles with its HX77 family of vehicles. Though it remains to be seen who is still in, Oshkosh Defense was quick to confirm its participation with a press release on July 24. During CANSEC in late May, John Urias, the company's executive vice president, said Oshkosh had "a winning proposal. We are confident that we have the right solution at the right price and the right team to execute the program," and would leverage the expertise of London Machinery Industries, its Canadian commercial business. He noted that the MTVR trucks had seen plenty of use by the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq and had received "very positive feedback from the military in terms of the usefulness of the vehicle, mission accomplishment and great support." John Reade, the director of operations for Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Canada, was equally buoyant about his company's prospects. "Our RFP is going to show that there is the big Rheinmetall family worldwide with a whole lot of satisfied customers." In particular, he said the HX77 would do exceptionally well in the government's testing evaluations, noting the deployment of over 500 in Afghanistan with the British army. "They have had IEDs and mine blasts and no casualties. They are standing up really well." In mid July, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles won a stiff Australian competition to provide 2,500 protected and non-protected logistic vehicles as part of its Land 121 modernization program. The HX77 was also selected by the government of New Zealand and is being considered by several Scandinavian countries. A bidders' conference will be held on September 17 in Ottawa to provide further details about the project, and proof of use on operations is likely to be a key requirement.

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