The wet weather was a bonus when it came to real-life training for the Canadian Armed Forces’ British Columbia Dragoons.
The team was in Lake Country for a 13-day military circuit training course to get soldiers familiar with new tactical armoured patrol vehicles (TAP-Vs)
“Interior Heavy Equipment School (IHE) has been more than kind to set up an obstacle course again for us this year, so that we can bring out our drivers,” course officer, Capt. Joshua Trowsse-Freeman said. “So they’re able to run the vehicle through a little harder paces than they could in a field or on the general roads themselves.”
A TAP-V weighs about 17 tons without additional equipment and ammunition, and it can reach speeds of 110 km/h. This means it can be quite bumpy on muddy and hilly terrain like the one found at IHE.
“The vehicle has all the latest generation of a lot of different type of systems,” Trowsse-Freeman said. “For example, the driver is able to inflate/deflate the tires on command. They have the ability to drive at night using thermal vision.”
And speaking of tires, just like regular folks, even armoured vehicles get a flat — an unexpected, but necessary learning tool.
“It’s a bit more involved than changing a regular tire because the spare tire is on the roof and it weighs approximately 700 pounds,” said Sgt. Graeme Barber, who is participating in the training for the first time. “Changing tires, getting vehicles stuck, that is all good training and the sorts of things that happen in real life.”
With TAP-V training, part-time soldiers may be eligible for domestic or foreign deployment.
“As a primary reserve regiment, most of the guys are part-time. However, the TAP-V has now brought a capability for the reserves to augment the regular force directly,” Trowsse-Freeman said. “In the past, they would have to get trained up on specific equipment before they would go overseas. Now they’re able to step right into their role without having to get new qualifications.”
The TAP-V isn’t a bad way to get a bit of new recruit interest.
“People see this driving down the road and they definitely want to know more about it,” Trowsse-Freeman said. “We’re just looking for anyone who is looking for an adventure and wants to be part of a brother/sisterhood and get some skills that they might not normally get in a civilian marketplace.”
Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the Canadian Armed Forces website for hiring information.