Our tale starts off in 1994, with a Canadian tender for a new APC to replace the aging M113, Grizzly and Bison APCs. General Motors Diesel would enter this tender with a variant of the Piranha 3H designed by the Swiss MOWAG. In 1995 the GMD submission would be chosen and be dubbed the LAV 3. Deliveries of the first batch would start in 1997 and the vehicles would be produced in Canada by General Motors Diesel Division of London, Ontario.
In 1999, under plan “Objective Force”, the United States starts to seriously look into adopting a 8×8 APC to augment their Bradley fleet. This would allow for faster reaction and a smaller logistical footprint. This kicks off the Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) program to adopt a vehicle to fill said role until the Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles comes online and provides a tailor made solution.
General Motors and General Dynamics would team up for the IAV program and submit a variant of the LAV 3. The duo’s bid would win the program in 2000 and they would be awarded a 8 Billion USD contract for 2131 of these LAV 3-based vehicles. The vehicles from this contract would be built at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, USA.
MOWAG would be acquired by General Motors, and later fall under General Motors Defense (GMD), which in turn would be acquired by General Dynamics. GMD would later become part of the General Dynamics Land Systems Division. As a result of these acquisitions, MOWAG’s Intellectual Property (IP) rights for the vehicle would now belong to a non-Swiss company. As such all vehicles produced with the IP outside of Switzerland would no longer be subject to Swiss export restrictions. This means that all Strykers built in the US and LAV 3/6 built in Canada can be exported to Ukraine without the need for Swiss approval. However, Piranha 3 and 5s built in Switzerland are still bound to Swiss export restrictions the same way Gepard ammunition made by Rheinmetall Air Defence AG located in Switzerland is.
Ukraine has received LAV 6.0 and Stryker APCs from Canada and the USA. Canada has pledged 36 new-build LAV 6.0s while the US has pledged 189 Strykers to Ukraine in several variants. Two Ukrainian brigades are known to operate the Stryker. These being the 82nd Air Assault Brigade which is currently involved in fighting for Verbove and the 42nd Mechanized Brigade. There is no information regarding which units received the LAV 6s. However, we know for sure that at least some of the pledged LAV-6s have arrived in Ukraine.