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The first year of service for the 1,587-strong fleet of Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) trucks has been extremely busy, with deployments both at home and overseas, according to a 19 January statement by designer/manufacturer Arquus.

MSVS was designed to provide Canada with a fleet of mid-sized, multi-purpose logistics vehicles to replace their aging Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW) fleet, which had been in service since the 1980s. It also included the acquisition of armoured protection systems and trailers – all of which had to provide a complete transport capacity (particularly in terms of loading/unloading) in domestic and foreign theatres of operation. The Arquus statement suggests that customer feedback vis-à-vis quality and capability has been very positive.

Under Phase 4 of the programme, which included the provision of Standard Military Pattern (SMP) trucks – including their trailers, crane systems, armoured cabins and protective equipment, and vehicle support – Arquus teams led parts of the militarisation for all five variants. This wholesale militarisation was aimed at ensuring the vehicle met the authentic capabilities of a truck designed for military use.

Arquus has a solid and long experience in the design and production of logistics and tactical military carriers, either specifically designed or transformed military use. In France, this partnership with the Army continues today with the GBC8KT, GBC180, TRM10000, TRM 2000, VLRA, and SHERPA MEDIUM trucks. In total, more than 10,000 trucks now used daily in the French Army alone are Arquus-made.

As part of the MSVS programme, the rolling chassis arrived from two former Renault Trucks plants, Bourg-en-Bresse (bare chassis) and Blainville (cab) and were delivered to Marolles-en-Hurepoix, where a production line was specifically established to advance assembly by adding specific enhancements such as cold weather start kits, crane and supporting hydraulic system installations among key activities.

A total of five variants were manufactured:

• Load Handling System (LHS): designed to embark, transport and deliver containers with a payload of up to 9.5t. It represents 47% of the whole fleet;

• Troop Carrying Cargo (TCV): the ‘standard’ cargo version, constituting about 38% of the fleet. It features a rear platform, side rails, a tailgate, folding seats and a tarpaulin. Versatile, it can embark 24 soldiers or equipment;

• Material Handling Crane (MHC): 3% of the fleet, it is a specialised version, similar to the ‘basic’ but with hydraulic systems and a crane on the open rear deck;

• Mobile Repair Team (MRT): 10% of the fleet, this is an MHC specially modified to embark a workshop-configured shelter;

• Gun Tractor (GT): an MHC modified to handle towed artillery – 2% of the total fleet.

The Arquus site in Limoges, which specialises in new-build vehicles, also assembled the kits for 161 Armoured Protection Systems (APS), as well as supporting the Marolles plant in final assembly in order to meet programme timelines. Some 311 MSVS were delivered in 2018, and 1,276 in 2019, illustrating the company's ability to produce efficiently a large number of vehicles in a constrained timeframe and to adapt to different rates for different configurations.

 A column of MSVS seen during their first operational deployment, on a NATO exercise. (Photo courtesy: Canadian Army Today)

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