In 1996, the Canadian Army followed the United States Marines in adopting the Swiss MOWAG Piranha eight-wheeled, light-armored vehicle. While the USMC designates their vehicles as the LAV-25, the Canadian Army has taken the vehicle on under the "Coyote" designation. Similarly, the Australian Army adopted the series and showcases it as the ASLAV (AuStralian Light Armored Vehicle). The Coyote is produced under the General Dynamics Land Systems Canada brand label and numbers 203 examples and have already accrued a combat record through operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and local security endeavors related to government summits.
The Coyote continues the basic MOWAG Piranha features using a fully-suspended, eight-wheeled configuration with run-flat tires and eight- or four-wheeled drive. Power is served through a Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel-fueled engine installation developing 275 horsepower. Road speeds peak at 75 miles per hour with road ranges out to 410 miles. Such qualities allow the vehicle to be pressed into several battlefield roles including armed fast reconnaissance and infantry support.
While the three-man, six-passenger LAV-25 and ASLAV are largely used as armed infantry carriers, the Coyote is reserved for armed surveillance and features an operating crew of four with additional equipment. The crew includes the driver, commander, gunner and a systems operator. The driver is seated at the front left with the powerpack to his right. The turret resides over the middle-rear of the vehicle and if fully powered. It mounts the 25mm M242 "Bushmaster" series chain gun offering combat capabilities against similar light-armored vehicles. Additional measures include a 7.62mm C6 coaxial machine gun and an optional 7.62mm C6 machine gun on a trainable pintle mounting for the turret roof to counter threats posed by low-flying aircraft (or as an anti-infantry measure). Smoke grenade dischargers (two banks of four launchers) are seated at the front sides of the turret and allow the vehicle to generate its own smoke screen. Unlike the USMC LAV-25 and Australian LAV, the Coyote does away with any inherent amphibious capabilities and extra fuel stores take the place of this equipment.
Dimensions include a running length of 21 feet, a width of 8.2 feet and a height to turret top of 8.8 feet. These qualities allow the vehicle to be air-transported in the belly of a medium-sized fixed-wing transport such as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. However, the turrets must be removed for the aircraft to enter the hold.
Variants of the Coyote line include a "mast" version which features a 32.8 foot telescoping mast for electronic surveillance. Another model features remote-monitored surveillance equipment. Still another is reserved for the command role with specialized equipment.
As of March 2014, the Coyote remains an active element of the Canadian Army.