General Dynamics’ Land Systems unit (GDLS) in Canada has won a C$1.06 billion ($1.05 billion) contract to make the country’s combat vehicles mine-resistant, the Canadian government said on Friday.

The contract involves upgrading 550 light armored vehicles (LAV) to better protect them against land mines and improvised explosive devices, extending their lifespan to 2035.

The vehicles, which were used in Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan, will become safer for soldiers to ride in and have greater mobility, the government said in a statement.

“They are state-of-the-art combat vehicles used to transport infantry on the battlefield while providing defensive protection and firepower,” it said.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay first announced the upgrade project in July 2009 and named GDLS as the prime contractor at that time. The announcement on Friday further defines the scope of the work and its value.

As part of the contract, GDLS agreed to reinvest 100 percent of the contract value in Canada. The project is expected to maintain more than 2,000 jobs.

Louise Egan