An Etobicoke metal fabricator has been awarded a nearly $4 million subcontract to manufacture engine housings in the Canadian Armed Forces’ Light Armoured Vehicle fleet upgrade to better protect soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices and mine threats.
London, Ont.-based General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada awarded the subcontract to Qualified Metal Fabricators Ltd., part of its $1 billion contract with the Canadian government to deliver 550 upgraded Light Armoured Vehicles, known as LAVIIIs.
The Canadian Armed Forces deployed LAVIIIs for operations in the Balkans, Africa, Haiti and most recently in Afghanistan.
About a decade old, the LAVIIIs are being upgraded for enhanced mobility, improved ergonomics, increased survivability and heightened lethality, General Dynamics stated.
The upgrades are expected to extend the modernized LAVIIIs’ lifecycle to 2035.
“We consider the LAVIII to be the best armoured vehicle in the world, but we knew we could make them even better,” Ken Yamashita, manager of corporate affairs with General Dynamics said Wednesday during the announcement on Qualified Metal Fabricators’ shop floor.
“We (the company and the government) both wanted to give the Canadian soldier a vehicle with better firepower, with better mobility, and most of all, better survivability. We’re now in the process of delivering on that promise.”
The 550 upgraded LAVIIIs will be deployed in the Canadian Armed Forces’ infantry section carrier; command post; observation post vehicle and engineer variants, and will be delivered by the end of 2017.
North Etobicoke-based Qualified Metal Fabricators is providing General Dynamics with steel and aluminum bracket, cover and shroud assemblies to be integrated with the vehicle chassis and power pack or engine in the newly designed LAVIII hull.
The subcontract created 10 full-time jobs for the next four years at the 40-year-old company, which employs 110 people in its 110,000-sq.-ft Steinway Boulevard facility, said company founder, president and CEO Bryan Haryott.
The contract also enabled the company to purchase new, better equipment and to make the company “more responsive and more competitive to other Canadian companies and more attractive to our customers,” Haryott said.
Etobicoke Centre MP Ted Opitz, a Canadian Armed Forces’ lieutenant-colonel with 33 years as a reservist, who served in Bosnia as a member of NATO’s Stabilization Force, spoke on behalf of Bernard Valcourt, associate minister of national defence and minister of state (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) at the announcement.
“When I was a young corporal and someone gave me one of these vehicles to drive, it was an incredible experience,” Opitz said.
“Those of you who work in this plant making the armour for this vehicle, always know that you hold the lives of Canadian soldiers in your hands. The product you create and build and put on this vehicle will save the lives of Canadian soldiers.”
The Canadian government’s agreement with General Dynamics commits the company to reinvest 100 per cent of the contract value in business activities in the Canadian economy, further extending the procurement’s economic benefits in regions across Canada, said Ajax-Pickering MP Chris Alexander, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence.
“That’s how we get the best equipment. That’s how we ensure we continue to have a vibrant manufacturing sector. That’s how we make sure our national defence moves forward in a way that amplifies the impact on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity at home,” he said.