Op Steele Torque

By: Cpl A.K. Dunphy

12 Sept 2008

With another serial of the Combat Team Commander’s Course on the horizon, and the lacklustre state of the Leopard fleet; Operation STEELE TORQUE was born. Its ultimate goal was to complete all overdue F3’s on the tank fleet in order to provide the best possible vehicles for use during training throughout the fall. This lofty goal is still being worked toward with it being a key focus of the Regiment at this time. What has been accomplished however is a reaffirmation of the Regiment’s ability to always demonstrate a vital characteristic of tank warfare - Team Work. 

As with anything that is near and dear to the heart, a lot of tender loving care is needed, and the Leopard is no different. It entered service around the late seventies and with any machine with a 105mm Main Armament and a V-10 producing over 800hp it has a very demanding maintenance schedule. Over the past thirty years, this schedule has not become any less demanding. Just imagine trying to keep your vehicle running for thirty years. With an incredibly high operational tempo, the Regiment quickly became aware of the growing maintenance situation and decided that a Regimental effort was needed.

So throughout the much deserved rest in August, there were some busy squirrels in the think tank (RHQ) which were developing a plan to ensure that all F3’s would be completed by Christmas.  This included a stand type maintenance plan that was similar to working in an assembly line, except with tanks.

Members from C Sqn, A Sqn, HQ Sqn, and maintainers were out in full force after block leave; even the CO and RSM were out pounding track. Traditionally an F3 inspection could take up to two weeks and this is just for the hull portion of an inspection on a single tank.  Everything is looked at from the weapon system to suspension. Even the LCIS techs were out getting their hands dirty and testing the radio units. The FCS personal were even impressing people by removing TRP’s in seconds for inspection and repairs. 

With the bulk of these tanks being built well before most of soldiers working on them were even born, the time and effort by all crewman, techs and Cpl Steve Rasmussen, certainly paid off.  With everyone working together the goal of producing a higher state of readiness within the Canadian Forces Leopard fleet was achieved.