The LAV III "Kodiak" is based on the successful Swiss MOWAG Piranha III and is the armored personnel carrier of choice for the Canadian Army. The non-amphibious 8-wheeled system has proven a favorite among operators looking to update their aging APC systems with stellar off-road performance and chassis adaptability as the system has found a home with the US Army (as the Stryker), the Australian Army (as the ASLAV-25), Romania and New Zealand along with Canada. The adaptability of the LAV III chassis will no doubt ensure its use for decades to come.
Armor becomes the prize of any APC crew and the Kodiak does not disappoint. Standard thickness allows for protection against the 7.62mm round while additional applique armor can raise this level of protection to include 14.5mm heavy caliber rounds. Insurgency experience has forced the redesign of the hull underside for improved mine protection as well. Standard armament is a 1 x 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun in a powered turret offering 360 degree protection. This is supplemented by a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun (also in the turret) and a single 5.56mm machine gun on the roof. Crew accommodations amount to three personnel while a further 6 to 7 combat ready troops can be carried as passengers. Entry and exit is accomplished through a rear ramp or roof hatches. The Kodiak is powered by a 350 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine providing speeds of 100 kilometers per hour and a range of around 450 kilometers.
Since entering service in 1999, the Kodiak has been produced to the tune of 650 examples, all handled by General Motors Land Systems. The most popular LAV III in service today probably remains the American "Stryker" series as that unit has seen extensive action in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Stryker features a remote weapon station in place of the standard turret. Other variants in the Kodiak series include a command vehicle, anti-tank guided missile carrier and an artillery forward observation vehicle.
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