On paper, at least, Canada has more than 90 Leopard tanks, he noted. But Mr. Leslie said he’s been told only about 20 are functioning. “The rest are either in storage or they are waiting for spare parts to be fixed.”
He said the Canadian Army needs a minimum of 30 to 35 tanks for training. He said this scarcity means Canada has no tanks to spare.
Defence Minister Anita Anand made the announcement Wednesday during a visit to Kyiv
The high altitude view would seem to support both of the staff papers situational analysis.
The 2019 paper is an accurate description of the problems plaguing our three Leo 2 fleets through the past decade.
I note that Major Timms, in the 2022 paper cited the author of the 2019 paper in his later role
12.... Additionally, existing facilities are not up to code in terms of operator safety.11 In some cases, such as the Force Mobility
Enhancement building, these deficiencies are less substantial. Nonetheless, multiple
agencies, including Director Land Infrastructure, have identified notable risks....
11 Matthew D. C. Johns, Tank Life Extension Survey (Ottawa: Director Land Infrastructure, Canadian
Army Headquarters, )
I don't think that the analysis of either of the authors can be dismissed out of hand.
I think that Major Johns, at the time of writing, was expressing an opinion that the CA, in 2005, might as well have stuck with the proposed System of Systems for the RCAC. The Tanks have not delivered the capability expected of them. They have been inadequately resourced and lacking those resources they can not deliver. "Something must be done!"
I further think that Major Timms takes up the challenge of "What can be done?"
My take from Major Timms is that major shifts are required
1 levelling off the fleet to a uniform standard - a decade long project involving the OEM
2 changing expectations of the fleet in terms of numbers available and on what notice
3 centralized facilities that tie individual tanks to a specific crew and a specific set of technicians - perhaps a mixture of RCAC, RCEME and OEM
4 tie the centralized training grounds and the centrralized maintenance.
All of which suggests to me that this footnote from Major Johns's paper is the critical observation
16 Dossev, “Leo 2 FoV CAFDWG”. The complexity and maintenance schedule of the Leo 2 makes it akin to a helicopter and it should be considered in that light. Similar logic to the concept of “3 to get 1” for airframes should be applied. CA acknowledges that to achieve a level of “general expertise” requires a minimum of 6 squadrons (three complete regiments).
In accordance with the Leo 2 FoV Implementation Order “all 1st and 2nd line maintenance was to be conducted by CAF personnel as per the Leo 1 C2”.19 Historical data demonstrates that this was a significant underestimation which has left the fleet in dire straits.20 The C2 required on average 296 hours/year of preventative and corrective maintenance (PM/CM), whereas the Leo 2 requires 1795, (per Johns 2019)
So perhaps the RCAC should be reviewing RCAF practices? What does it need to do to work towards that standard?
Does 427 at Edmonton serve as a sufficient model?
How do the OEMs tie in?
Should Wainwright become the RCAC's Cold Lake - with tanks and anti-tank forces collocated with OEMs for Line 3 and 4 maintenance and managing upgrades?
Having had considerable experience with Preventative Maintenance in civilian industry, both as a perpetrator (supplier) and a victim (user) I have a lot of sympathy for Major Timms position on teardown inspections. They do indeed create more problems than they solve. And in nobody's book is a 90 hour teardown a Level 1 operator function. If such a teardown is required it needs to be done in an OEM shop. As infrequently as possible.
This observation came from an article about the prospect of Stryker's in Ukraine by a Stryker veteran
The key, said Duplessis, is to maintain a stockpile of common spare parts and develop a system to provide situational awareness of the condition of vehicles and what parts are needed.
The biggest challenge may not be maintaining the vehicle itself, but the digital systems on the vehicle said Duplessis. There are also parts of the weapons station that frequently broke.
“The digital components and the remote weapon station would be more of a challenge for somebody who's never operated the system,” he said.
Strykers, even with their known limitations, could provide Ukraine with a host of desperately needed capabilities, especially when combined with other forces.
That would seem to me to jibe with the observed increase in maintenance requirements of Leo 1 (296 hours) vs Leo 2 (1795 hours) and the further observation that the tank is becoming more like a helicopter (and less like a simple bulldozer with a field gun).
If the tank is worth saving - and public opinion notwithstanding I believe it is - then some of the suggestions bear adopting.
I would go a bit further and put an Anti-Tank Regiment under the command of the RCAC and collocate it with the Tanks. (Just as I would put an Anti-Aircraft Regiment under command of the RCAF and collocate it with the fighters at Cold Lake). I would also push Rheinmetall to establish a workshop at Wainwright or Edmonton.
If the tank were anchored to its bay in its hangar, with its dedicated team of RCEME and OEM techs, and its RCAC crew, it strikes me that that makes for a great opportunity to bring Reservists into the Mix as well. Instead of a tank having a crew of 4 why not allocate a crew of 12 with 4 regs and 8 reservists from the RCAC? And maybe some RCEME reservists as well?
With this though the RCAC might have to put a bit of water in its wine.
The RCAC wants 19 tank squadrons (with 5 field spares apparently - what about AEV and ARV spares?).
They also apparently need 6 tank squadrons to be able to reliably field one at NTM.
Major Johns suggested that with the current assumptions the Canadian Army needed three times as many tanks.
Can we set aside current assumptions? Can we reduce the doctrinal squadrons and create 6 smaller squadrons?
We have sufficient tanks to create 6 Russo-Ukrainian sub-units of 10 vehicles, or 6 Swedish sub-units of 11, or (just about) 6 American sub-units of 14.
Why not one single Regiment with all the tanks, with OEM maintenance, manned by a mix of Regs and Reserves, tasked to keep one small sub-unit (a half-squadron?) at notice to move and the ability to surge three more small sub-units?
By the way a full complement of tank transporters - one trailer assigned to each vehicle bay - would be a legitimate additional expense if we want the tanks to be deployable with the LAVs.
At bottom the RCAC would be required to generate one Heavy Mobile Protected Fires Regiment and two "Cavalry" Regiments with a combined total of three or four anti-tank sub-units.
Edit: WRT the maintenance load of electronics - current generations put less weight on repair and more on self-diagnostics and plug'n'play replacements. Another OEM upgrade issue along with replacing hydraulics with electrics and upgrading FCSs.