GM Defence

03 May 2023

In 1996, we were contacted by GM Defence, the predecessor of General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, who had won a contract to supply the Canadian Army with, ultimately, 650 LAV-III vehicles. These were the latest development of the venerable LAV line, but much bigger, and with a hydropneumatic suspension in place of the more traditional coil spring-and-damper arrangement used in previous versions.

The Expectation

Our customer had committed to their customer, the Canadian Army, that a large percentage of the vehicle and its components would be developed and produced in Canada. As a well-known Canadian designer and manufacturer of shock absorbers, GM Defence reached out to us to see if we could develop the internal ability to complete the engineering and produce the hydrostruts for this new vehicle.

The Solution

Having never manufactured a hydrostrut prior to this, we expanded our technical team and delivered a proposal to GM Defence that was on time and within their budget. Our proposal was accepted and we delivered our first products on schedule in 1997. The initial order for 120 vehicles grew to 240, then 360 and finally 650. The vehicles subsequently proved pivotal during Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

Results & Benefits

The product expertise we developed while making hydrostruts for the LAV-III vehicles led to us developing our own line of hydrostruts which are now sold to many customers in many countries for both military and civilian applications.

In 1999, US Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki announced that the US Army would be developing a fleet of wheeled fighting vehicles to compliment their tracked armoured fleet. This proved to be a prophetic decision as wheeled vehicles were particularly suited to the urban conflict that soon developed in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the US Army went looking for the state of the technology as it relates to wheeled fighting vehicles, they borrowed 2 platoons of LAV-III vehicles from the Canadian Army, and liked them so much that the LAV-III became the basis of the Stryker program. As the hydrostrut supplier to General Dynamics, the suspension work came to us, which allowed us to greatly expand our technical resources and deliver superior solutions to our customers.