The Canadian military, prompted by global warming to boost its presence in its Arctic territories, is in the market for a "stealth" snowmachine that would let it sneak up on ... um, well, nobody seems to know yet. The Canadian defense department is seeking bids for a hybrid sled prototype with an electric motor that would let the user shut off the noisy gas engine that can be heard miles away in the cold, still winter air.
The vehicle would perhaps be the most unconventional tool in the arsenal of a Conservative government promising to beef up Canada's military might in the North.
The nature of these future clandestine assignments is unclear from the federal tendering document. But one thing is clear: silence is priority No. 1. ...
"To me, it very clearly suggests that someone within the Canadian Forces perceives the need to actually have substantive capabilities, rather than simply acting symbolically in the region," said [Whitney] Lackenbauer, a historian at the University of Waterloo.
"Up to this point, as I see it, the focus has very much been on showing the flag. So it's not about keeping your activities quiet, it's about broadcasting it to the world as loudly as you can."
Still, he has no clue what kind of scenarios National Defence has foreseen for it to want -- or need -- stealth snowmobiles.
"I'd be interested in knowing what the military envisions as being the threats that it's going to encounter with these," he said, speculating they might be useful to stop smugglers or other criminal activities.
"I'm at a loss to know what that is."
If you're interested in the specs the Canadian military would like to see in this machine, read on at CTV.