During the 2020-2021 training year, ten King’s Own Calgary soldiers took part in the part-time Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) Driver Course. The training was conducted over multiple weekends to train leaders and soldiers how to operate the TAPV. Unique challenges were presented during the course due to the COVID19 pandemic. However, given that multiple training events had occurred and many months had past since COVID19 initially appeared, training continued ensuring mask use and health guidelines were followed.
The TAPV is a wheeled armoured combat vehicle that is the main fighting vehicle utilized by the King’s Own. The TAPV is purposed to conduct conduct reconnaissance and able to maintain surveillance, security, transportation of personnel and equipment. The vehicle is highly mobile and provides a very high degree of protection for its crew. The course teaches soldiers basic maintenance of the TAPV and everything they need to be able to operate the Armoured Fighting Vehicle in a combat setting.
Candidates start the course in the classroom, learning the fundamentals of the TAPV such as the technical specifications and what the capabilities and differences between two TAPV variants, the general purpose utility TAPV and the reconnaissance TAPV. The next phase in the course is for candidates to learn and familiarize themselves with the mechanical systems and the required driver maintenance to keep the TAPV operational through a combat environment. These include what kind of field maintenance can be conducted, field versus in-depth inspections, and the various parts and components of the TAPV. Since the TAPV is fundamentally different from the G-Wagon platform, which has been utilized in the years leading up to the TAPV adoption, the candidates were excited to commence operating the TAPV and tried to get used to its size and mechanical complexity. Compared to the G-Wagon, a qualified TAPV driver has much more maintenance to do and more responsibilities in keeping it operational.
During the progression of the course, candidates must drive the TAPV in multiple different conditions including built up areas such as cities or towns, highway driving, and off-road driving in designated training areas before they can be considered qualified. A certain amount of driving hours and mileage is required for each scenario in order for candidates to be certified in driving the TAPV. The candidates must also complete driving at night using a nifty screen that can be placed in front of the driver’s line of sight, called the Drivers Vision Enhancement (DVE). The DVE provides night vision via thermal imaging for the driver so that they are able to see in complete darkness. After each day, the drivers must complete the required driver maintenance learned during the beginning of course so that the Vehicle is ready to continue the next day. Once the drivers have completed the necessary hours and mileage required they are granted the qualification of being certified TAPV drivers.