Monday, February 9, 2015

Misplaced or Misused in Kandahar? $513,000 Artillery Rounds Missing

The Canadian Press released yesterday that during Canada's exit from Kandahar in 2011, not everything was accounted for. While there where many things the Government wrote off, and either gave to the Afghan National Army or destroyed because they where not worth the cost of shipping to return them home; that is not the case with 3 Excalibur GPS Guided Artillery Rounds worth $177,224 each!

Original reports showed that 5 of the rounds were missing, but that was later amended to 3. Unlike single riffle bullets that can easily go missing from miscounting, misfires, and extra firing on ranges or that go unaccounted in combat is easy, as they cost pennies, but 3 large rounds that weigh 48 kilograms and are accurate within 20 meters even when fired from 40 kilometres away - don't just accidentally get fired.

While theft is a possibility - given the size of the rounds, and the fact that they where located in theatre, it is highly unlikely. The issue is, the loss still has major repercussions.  The rounds GPS technology is managed by the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, which meant an awkward report by DND to its Controlled Technology Access Office.

So where they lost, stolen or used without reporting?

One consideration is that they were lent to US forces operating in the same area in 2009. A request was made at the Canadian Munitions depot for several of the rounds for US forces, which was later denied, but were the rounds provided before authorization was given? That is unknown.

The loss of $513,000 was officially put on the books by DND as they have no record of where the Excalibur rounds went.

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