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Bison (armoured personnel carrier)

Updated: 2017-07-21T03:12Z
TypeArmoured Personnel Carrier
Place of originCanada
Service history
In service1990-Present
Used bySee: 'Operators'
WarsWar in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Production history
DesignerMOWAG/General Motors Diesel Division
ManufacturerGeneral Motors Diesel Division Canada
Produced1988 (prototype)
1989 (regular production)
Weight13 t (14 short tons)
Length6.5 m (21 ft)
Width2.6 m (8.5 ft)
Height2.6 m (8.5 ft)
Crew2 (driver & commander) + 8 passengers

1 x 7.62mm machine gun
EngineDetroit Diesel 6V53T two-cycle turbo-charged diesel
275 hp
TransmissionAllison 5 speed MT653
650 km (400 mi)
Speed100 km/h (62 mph) (land)
10 km/h (5.4 kn) (water)

The Bison is an armoured personnel carrier based on the 8x8 MOWAG Piranha II platform, and was produced by General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems Canada) in London, Ontario. They were purchased and intended for operation by the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve, but were rapidly appropriated by the regular force of the Canadian Army.[1]


By starting with a basic Piranha II, the Bison design process took only 7 days.[2] The Bison differs from the baseline Piranha II by raising the height of the roof, removing the turret ring, placing a commander's cupola behind the driver, and incorporating a rail mount system in the cargo/passenger compartment to quickly change mission specific equipment. The driver is seated in the front-left of the crew compartment. The commander has a slightly raised position directly behind the driver with access to his own hatch and mounted machine gun. The engine is to the right of the crew compartment.

The Canadian Forces began upgrading the Bison between 2002 and 2008. The upgrades include improved engine power, new torsion bars, fittings for add-on armour, air conditioning, and the VRS respirator system for NBC defence.[3]


The Bison's rail mount system allows it to be adapted to a variety of roles without any major modifications. Bisons used by the Canadian Forces have been adapted for use as armoured personnel carriers (original configuration - mostly replaced in this role by the LAV III), 81mm mortar carriers, ambulances (32), Mobile Repair Team (MRT) vehicles (32), Armoured recovery vehicles (32), Electronic Warfare vehicles (25), and NBC Reconnaissance vehicles (4).


Map of Bison operators in blue

Current operators

See also

  • Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicle - Canadian armoured reconnaissance vehicle also based on the Piranha II platform
  • LAV III - Canadian infantry fighting vehicle. Replaced the Bison in many roles. Based on the Piranha III platform
  • MOWAG Piranha - Vehicle that the Bison originated from


External links

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