The LAV III (Light Armoured Vehicle) is the third generation of lightweight wheeled armored armed, which were designed and built by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada and in 1999 took up the operational service. The vehicles are based on the Swiss MOWAG IIIH 8x8 vehicle. It is the primary fighting vehicle of infantry of the Canadian and the New Zealand Army. The U.S. uses the same vehicles of the type in something different feature sets and lighter weight but under the name Stryker.
In July 1991, the Canadian Forces have the need for new lightweight armed combat vehicles found in order to replace the previously older models from the sixties and seventies years. The result was a $ 2.8 billion expensive procurement project, the then Conservative government, for a series of Multi-Role Combat Vehicle ( MRCV ) which the old M113 armored vehicles, the Lynx reconnaissance vehicle, Grizzly armored personnel carrier and the Bison armored personnel carrier should replace. The project was considered too expensive and 1992 permanently deleted.
In 1994, a Liberal Party formed the government, the Canadian Army still need new vehicles. The project was to meet the demand of the Army divided into several phases. The first phase provided for the replacement of the Lynx armored with the Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicle.
On August 16, 1995, it was announced that General Motors Diesel Division and later in GM Defense and later acquired by General Dynamics Land Systems of Ontario, was awarded the contract to build vehicles of the type LAV III. These cars will replace the old Grizzly and also mostly the M113 armored.
The vehicles have been used in the following military operations:
- United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
- United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
- Stabilization forces NATO force in Bosnia and Herzegovina ( SFOR)
- War in Afghanistan ( ISAF)
- United Nations Mission in Haiti
- Iraq Iraq
- Iraqi forces
- Canada Canada
- Canadian Army - 651 vehicles
- New Zealand New Zealand
- New Zealand Defence Force - 105 vehicles
- Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabian National Guard - 19 vehicles