22 Aug 2018

LAVs get special treatment during patient wait for buyer

8:34 pm on 22 August 2018

Twenty unused light armoured vehicles are getting the red carpet treatment in an old shed in the heart of the Trentham Military Camp.

A New Zealand Defence Force tank driving through the bush.

Photo: NZDF

RNZ was given exclusive access to the shed and a look at the light armoured vehicles that are now surplus to requirements.

The previous Labour government bought 105 light armoured vehicles - known as LAVs - from General Dynamics Land Systems Canada for $653 million.

They entered service in 2003; one was destroyed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan and only some of the remaining 104 are regularly used.

In July, RNZ reported that in 2011 the Defence Force decided it didn't need 20 of them and they've been in storage waiting for a new home.

As you enter the large shed at Trentham, a hum in the background is identified as a dehumidifier to keep the air temperature constant, preventing moisture damage to the LAVs.

It's in stark contrast to the bird poo stains on the rafters when birds used to get into the old shed.

The 20 LAVs are resting slightly above the ground on jacks to protect the suspension.

Colonel Stephen Piercy at Trentham Military Camp

Colonel Stephen Piercy at Trentham Military Camp Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

Colonel Stephen Piercy said a number of other LAVs were currently in use at Linton and remain an important platform for the Defence Force.

"They are essential to the Army being able to carry out its business in terms of protecting its soldiers and being able to rapidly move them from where they are to where they need to be."

He said LAVs were used during the Napier siege and during the Christchurch earthquakes.

The unused vehicles would unlikely be sold to a specific industry, or in bits, but another army may want them, he said.

A foreign delegation came to inspect them in February last year, but that didn't lead to anything.

In the past eight years there's been interest from seven countries.

Colonel Piercy couldn't say how much the Defence Force was trying to sell the vehicles for, but previous statements say as time passes and the vehicles get older the price would likely go down.

For now, the 20 unused LAVs are sitting idle with the engines switched off - a dehumidifier the only sign of life.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs