OTTAWA – That armoured tank in your rear-view mirror may be about to pop a wheelie.
The Canadian military plans to train more of its soldiers in rally sport driving, to help them chase bad guys.
“Canadian Forces personnel are required to operate both military and civilian vehicles in a variety of environments in Canada and abroad,” says a notice posted this week, calling for at least five top instructors from the private sector.
“Risks include not just hazardous road and traffic conditions, but local criminal and insurgent elements as well.”
National Defence wants to rent a training facility with a minimum four-kilometre track with gravel, dirt and paved sections, featuring blind corners, crests, tight turns, ditches and logs. Some training will also be conducted at military bases.
The instructor will engage soldiers in the art of “high speed obstacle avoidance,” among other techniques, in the equivalent of a Subaru Impreza STI or similar 300-horsepower vehicles in year-round weather conditions. The cars provided must be front-wheel and all-wheel drive.
The notice says “high speed” is defined as more than 60 kilometres an hour.
Maximum cost for the two-year contract is $100,000, and trainers need to have at least $2 million of insurance for each accident.
The tender also stipulates the instructors need to be affiliated with the Canadian Association of Rallysport or with Rally America, the national bodies that run championships in the high-speed sport. They must also have raced at least once in the last year in sanctioned events.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces was not available for comment Tuesday. But last year the military said it planned to spend about $2.7 million training soldiers, including the elite JTF2 group and the Special Operations Regiment.
Militaries in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom also provide rally driver training, and similar courses have been offered in Canada in recent years.
Bidding closes Nov. 13.
Canadian soldiers have had a series of accidents in the past with the light armoured vehicle known as a LAV III, which has a high centre of gravity and has been known to flip in rough road conditions.
Rollovers have occurred in Afghanistan and Bosnia, resulting in injuries and at least one death blamed on speed and driver inexperience.
National Defence in 2011 ordered improved LAV IIIs, which include improved brake and steering systems. The first 66 were delivered in February this year.