Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bear Head, Schreiber and Mulroney--and the TH 495

That's the vehicle it was all about, intended mainly as an M113 replacement (more here and here on the M113--Update: I meant as a replacement for M113s in the very large international market, not just Canada). An earlier post:
What was the LAV Mulroney said he was flogging?
A knowledgeable friend of mine has commented:
It looks like a sort of Marder lite sans the firing ports (beloved of the PzGr generals who dictated MICV designs in the 60s and 70s...)...
Related links from:

a) Brian Mulroney, here and here

b) Karlheinz Schreiber here.

Photo of the vehicle:


Does anyone know if the TH 495 ever achieved serial production anywhere? The Canadian Army ended up with the Coyote and then the LAV III--all ultimately derived from the Swiss-designed, many years ago, MOWAG Piranha.

Predate: From an ace journalist blogging at Macleans's magazine's website about earlier testimony at the enquiry:
...Lalonde notes that there were, of course, non-NATO countries such as the Soviet Union to which Canada would never be able to export military equipment.

His mandate, as far as Thyssen went, ended in the fall of 1995, right around the time that the government announced the purchase of the GM-made jeeps [emphasis added, more ace reporting on military equipment here]...

More on the Coyote, the vehicle chosen in 1992 over the TH 495, as a replacement for the Canadian Army's Lynx, an M113 variant. The current LAV III was selected in 1997, not 1995 as far as I can determine.

Upperdate: Mr Schreiber may also have been upset by the awarding of a contract in 1989 to General Motors Canada, London Ont. (today General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada) for Bison APCs, also Piranha-derived (more here, via Minicapt in "Comments").

Uppestdate: From Mr Schreiber (via GAP):
Nixed Canada arms deal cost lives: inquiry

A German arms dealer Tuesday told a public inquiry that a failed deal for light armored vehicles with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney had cost the lives of Canadian troops.

Karlheinz Schreiber said initial negotiations back in the late 1980s with Mulroney's government to build a Thyssen light armored vehicle plant in eastern Nova Scotia province with a first order of 250 vehicles "went very well."

But he said he was stymied by Canadian generals and then deputy defense chief Robert Fowler, and the plant was never built.

Schreiber said he hoped to establish Thyssen in Canada in order to pitch its new light armored vehicle to Washington to replace M113 armored personnel carriers that formed the backbone of the US Army's mobile infantry.

He estimated the global market for light armored vehicles at 360 billion dollars. "And I would have received 1.8 billion dollars" in commissions, he added.

But he said his main concern was the loss of lives in war zones after the nixed purchase of what he described as a superior vehicle with better armor.

"I'm frustrated today because this is the reason why our soldiers are (being) killed in Afghanistan," he said. "It is not about a few bucks of commission. This is about lives.

"I knew (the fleet) had a lack of protection that you could shoot with a Kalashnikov through the armored vehicles, and this gentleman (Fowler) cared nothing about the protection of his soldiers."..
Mr Schreiber seems to think a Kalashnikov round can pierce a LAV III (the Bisons and Coyotes we bought before them are also armoured). Pity the commission counsel did not call him on that. Also, since the US in the 1980s already had the Bradley AFV and was upgrading its large fleet of M113s to M113A3 standard, I don't see that there was any realistic prospect of sales to the US.

Uppesterdate: Two scholarly papers that deal with the Army's light armoured vehicle acquisitions are here and here (pp. 34-35)--note the Multi-Role Combat Vehicle (MRCV) project of 1991-92. One of Mr Schreiber's accounts is here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

well it is not a replacement for the old M113 . . . it is a light weight Infantry Fighting Vehicle, not a light weight infantry transport/battle taxi.

8:39 p.m., April 15, 2009  
Blogger Minicapt said...

1. The Coyote was a replacement for the FMC C&RV Lynx. Its major feature was the Recce package, which does not appear to feature in the TH495 discussion.
2. The M113 was officially replaced by the Grizzly, the APC version of the 6x6 AVGP. It was replaced by the 8x8 Bison, which was turretless (it had a simple mount for the GPMG.
3. The LAV III was the new IFV, based on the Piranha III, but with a 25mm cannon turret.
4. I don't think the TH495 went into production anywhere in the world. The IDR article was rather unfamiliar.


12:45 a.m., April 16, 2009  
Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

Quite a difference between the original M113 and the M113A3s and M113A4s! Those pages this article linked at show a night and day difference between the old and the seriously upgraded new models.

2:26 p.m., April 16, 2009  

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