The Bison armored personnel carrier is a Canadian developed 8×8 variant of the MOWAG Piranha, produced in Canada as the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV). It was developed within the very short time scale of seven days by General Motors of Canada. The first Bison appeared in 1988 with production commencing the following year and first operational vehicles entering service in 1990. It replaced the Grizzly armored personnel carrier. Recently the only operator of the Bison are Canada with 199 vehicles and Australia with 97. About 12 Bisons have been sold to the US National Guard to support anti-drug operations.
The Bison follows the same general lines as the MOWAG Piranha but with many detail differences, the main one being a rail system along the floor which allows entire suites of equipment to be removed or installed within a short time to permit the base vehicle to be used for many roles. Furthermore vehicle has a turret removed and a raised roofline. It is more heavily armored than the LAV.
The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle on the left, with the commander behind him. Engine and transmission is on the right side of the hull. As an APC the Bison can carry 8 troops, but the seating arrangements can slide out through the large power operated ramp at the rear and be replaced with one of several alternatives.
Armament on most Bisons is limited to a 7.62 mm machine gun over the commander’s hatch. All APCs are completed with smoke grenade dischargers. Additional equipment also includes NBC protection system.
Vehicle is powered by Detroit Diesel 6V53T diesel engine, developing 275 hp. The Bison is fully amphibious after about two minutes preparation. In the water it is powered by two waterjets, mounted at the rear of the hull.
At some point all Canadian Bison armored personnel carriers were replaced by the newer LAV III armored vehicles. All 199 surviving Bisons were refurbished and converted into support variants, including ambulances, recovery vehicles, electronic ωαяƒαяє vehicles and so on. The new variants were fitted with upgraded engines, fittings for add-on armor and have some other improvements.
Bison MRT or Mobile Repair Team vehicle.
Bison MRV or Maintenance and Recovery Vehicle, fitted with a dozer blade and a winch.
Buffalo armored recovery vehicle.
Coyote armored reconnaissance vehicle, with a LAV-25 turret.
81 mm mortar carrier.
Electronic ωαяƒαяє vehicle.
NBC reconnaissance vehicle.