Purchased By NASA, Canadian Roshel Senator Armored Vehicles ‘Bite The Dust’ In Russia-Ukraine War: Media

Canadian-made Roshel Senator Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), donated to Ukraine as part of international aid, have faced significant operational challenges on the battlefield, raising concerns about their suitability for combat conditions.

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The Canadian company Roshel has delivered 1,140 Senator vehicles to Ukraine’s defense forces, establishing them as one of the most widely used armored vehicle models in the Russo-Ukrainian war. 

However, reports from the frontline indicate that these vehicles are struggling to meet the demands of active combat, with several already damaged or destroyed in the conflict.

A Ukrainian military officer stationed in the eastern region of Ukraine recently told CBC News that the Canadian-donated Senators have proven less effective near the frontlines. 

The officer, Yuriy Fedorenko, commander of the Achilles drone unit in the 92nd Brigade, highlighted that the Roshel-manufactured APCs are not built for rugged, off-road conditions. 

The 1,000th Roshel vehicle for Ukraine

Fedorenko described the vehicles as better suited for law enforcement rather than active combat, noting their frequent breakdowns and limited off-road capabilities.

“It is not designed to drive off-road,” Fedorenko stated. “The Senators seem more appropriate for police work, such as maintaining public order, rather than military operations.”

Despite their shortcomings, Fedorenko acknowledged the critical role these vehicles play when no alternatives are available. The Senators, described as resembling “SUVs on steroids,” have experienced issues such as broken springs when used on rough terrain. 

Fedorenko stressed that while the vehicles have their limitations, Ukrainian technicians have been able to make necessary repairs to keep them operational.

Last year, EurAsian Times also reported that the Senator Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) has faced reliability issues, including damage to its tires due to rough and challenging terrain. 

In response to these issues, Andrée-Anne Poulin, a spokesperson for the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), confirmed that the Ukrainian military had not formally expressed concerns about the Senator APCs but conceded that their utility in frontline conditions is constrained. 

Poulin noted that Ukraine had previously acquired several Senators before Canada’s additional donation and that the Ukrainian government specifically requested the vehicles.

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Challenges & Developments Surrounding Roshel Senator Armored Vehicles

The Roshel Senator armored vehicle has unique origins linked to Ukraine, thanks to its creator, Roman Shimonov, an Israeli immigrant to Canada with Ukrainian heritage. 

Built on the civilian Ford F550 chassis, the Senator is designed as a military armored vehicle, though it retains some features from its civilian base.

Experts have expressed concerns about the vehicle’s off-road reliability, a challenge not surprising given its relatively recent introduction and the harsh conditions it faces in Ukraine. 

The Senators are newcomers to the armored personnel carrier market. According to Roshel Defence Solutions, the company behind the vehicle, they are marketed as lightweight and maneuverable. 

These vehicles offer protection against small arms fire and some mines and are also utilized by police SWAT teams. Despite their advantages, the Senators are not deemed suitable for frontline combat. 

The Senator’s Armoured Capsule Remained Intact After Being Hit. Photo: Army-technology.com

Experts have pointed out that the vehicles are better suited for roles away from the front lines, such as troop transport in safer areas or civilian evacuation. 

David Fraser, a retired major general with experience leading Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, echoed this sentiment, noting that while the Senators are useful in certain situations, they fall short for military operations compared to more robust armored vehicles.

David Perry from the Canadian Global Affairs Institute noted that while the Senators offer less protection compared to the General Motors LAV and other armored vehicles used by the Canadian army, they still represent an improvement over civilian vehicles like pickup trucks. These armored vehicles provide a valuable alternative, given the high casualty rates in the frontline areas.

Roshel has responded to the challenges by actively working with the Ukrainian military to address any issues. The company, based in Brampton, Ontario, has stated that its vehicles are designed to withstand severe battleground conditions. 

Roshel Armoured Vehicles Were Even Purchased By NASA Photo: Defensearchives.de

They have been on-site since the war’s onset, making continuous improvements to critical components such as axles and suspension systems to better handle the demanding terrain.

In addition to these efforts, Roshel is setting up a new plant in Ukraine, planning to invest tens of millions of dollars and create hundreds of new jobs. Details about this facility are still forthcoming.

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Last year, Roshel faced allegations of illegal acts and corruption in securing a $92-million contract with the Canadian government for vehicles destined for Ukraine. However, a subsequent audit by Canadian authorities found no violations, and Roshel has filed a defamation counterclaim against the accuser, Sestritsyn.

Roshel’s client base extends beyond Ukraine, including American organizations such as the Texas Police, the Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, and NASA. 

Interestingly, armored vehicles are also essential for space agencies to safeguard astronauts and protect valuable technology worth hundreds of millions of dollars.