Shells not needed, Ukrainian terrain breaks Canadian Roshel APC

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Imagine seeing a robust, Canadian-built Roshel Senator Armored Personnel Carrier [APC] sidelined, not by enemy fire, but by the challenging Ukrainian landscape. An intriguing video has surfaced on social media showcasing the APC’s front tires in a state of disarray, a testament to the rough terrain it tried to conquer.

Meet Roshel Inc., the Canadian defense titan that crafts the robust vehicles entrusted by the Canadian government to the Ukrainian army. These multipurpose machines are designed for light tactical support, transport, and logistics operations. 

At the helm of Roshel is a businessman with deep Ukrainian roots. His personal connection to Ukraine extends to the company’s workforce, which boasts several dozen talented Ukrainian nationals in key technical and manufacturing roles.

Twitter has recently become a battleground, with critics questioning the robustness of the vehicle’s design. However, a closer look at the Senator series of vehicles and the company’s website reveals they aren’t intended for heavy-duty frontline warfare. 

Let’s delve a bit deeper: these APCs are essentially revamped cars, boasting armored bodies mounted on the chassis of Ford’s renowned off-road beast – the Sports Utility Vehicle [SUV]. Quite a transformation, isn’t it

Video screenshot

When Wheels Cry “Surrender”

Picture this: A Rochel Senator APC, rugged and imposing, is stranded on an unpaved road, its front wheels splayed out in an almost comedic fashion. A Ukrainian soldier, leaning nonchalantly against the hood, adds to the humor of the situation. A lonely towing hook lying in front of the vehicle tells a silent tale of a rescue mission in progress.  

In the brief 15-second snippet, there’s no sign of other damage to the vehicle or of any craters in the surrounding area. This suggests that the Senator wasn’t the victim of a fierce firefight – no artillery or small arms fire here. Instead, it seems the wheels have capitulated solely due to the challenging terrain. 

The most plausible explanation for this mishap? Perhaps the wheel assembly simply couldn’t withstand the impact when the APC’s front hit the muddy road a little too hard. Or maybe, this was the inevitable result of weeks of intense wear and tear. Regardless, it’s clear that this robust APC was bested by the unforgiving Ukrainian terrain.

Created by a Ukrainian immigrant

Adding a fascinating twist to the tale, the Roshel APC’s Ukrainian connections run deep. The brainchild of its founder, Roman Shimonov, an Israeli immigrant with Ukrainian lineage, this vehicle is more than just Canadian in make. 

In a heartwarming move, Roshel Inc. has been providing employment opportunities to displaced Ukrainian citizens for the past seven to eight months. These new workers are making their mark at the company’s manufacturing plant located in Mississauga, Ontario, as per a CBC News report.

Imagine a Ford F-550 pick-up truck, renowned for its durability and power. Imagine it as a strong armored personnel carrier [APC], made from ballistic steel with mine-protected seats. This is the handiwork of Roshel, who purchases the chassis and engine of this iconic model and outfits it with their own specialized safety features. 

Photo credit: YouTube

These beefed-up machines have become a familiar sight on Ukrainian battlegrounds as soldiers grapple with the ongoing conflict against Russia. However, there’s a lingering question mark over whether these APCs have been deployed correctly since the war erupted in February 2022.

Meet Shimov

Meet Shimonov, an Israeli immigrant who made Canada his new home a decade ago. After a stint in the Israeli military, he uniquely found his calling. 

His Ukrainian wife, with her deep-rooted ties to her homeland, planted the idea. Why not contribute to the war effort? Why not send Senators to Ukraine? It was an idea that resonated with Shimonov and set him on an unexpected path.

As we bid adieu to 2022, nearly 200 Senators had rolled off the production line, as mentioned in a riveting Global News expose featuring the dynamic company, Shimonov, and its vibrant Ukrainian workforce. 

Photo credit: Reddit

According to a fascinating CBC report, the Ukrainian contingent in the plant stands strong at 80. This talented group, comprising a significant portion of the 300-strong team, spearheads critical technical operations such as wiring, metal cutting and shaping, and masterful welding of the plates.

Roshel has already set up a base in Ukraine, serving as a beacon of after-sales support. But Shimonov, the visionary behind the company, has grander plans. Post-war, he envisions opening a state-of-the-art factory right here in Ukraine. 

This isn’t just about business expansion. It’s about giving back to the community, providing jobs, and supporting the rehabilitation of Ukrainians. As part of the plan, the same hardworking individuals who’ve been displaced by the conflict will be welcomed back into the workforce.

Into homegrown innovation

Located in Ontario, Roshel sets itself apart from the typical ‘upfitter’ firms. Instead of simply sourcing parts from different vendors and putting them together, Roshel takes a unique approach. 

The Canadian company follows the ‘vertical integration’ model. This means all elements – from design and production to manufacturing of parts and software – are created in-house.

Photo credit; Twitter

Interestingly, this foresight helped the company dodge the infamous supply chain disruptions that followed the Covid pandemic. Many subcontracting firms found their productions at a standstill, unable to meet production targets and deadlines. Roshel, however, was not among them. 

While the vehicle boasts military-grade armor and safety standards, a CBC report hints at the limitations of civilian vehicles repurposed for military use. This could be the key to understanding the breakdown captured in the video. The report states, “It’s not designed for frontline combat, but it has become an essential asset for Ukrainian troop transports, medical evacuations, aid delivery, and prisoner exchanges.”

Imagine the ruggedness of a military-grade vehicle like the HUMVEE, Oshkosh, or the Russian Tigr [Tiger]. Now, picture this – the vehicle’s suspension and wheel assembly may not quite match up to their robustness. Intriguing, isn’t it?

Reputation in both Ukraine and the US

Did you know that Roshel doesn’t just build armored vehicles for the battlefield? They also cater to the needs of government and commercial organizations. Even big names like the US State Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] are part of their clientele. 

Photo credit: Reddit

Let’s take a trip back to November 2022. The Canadian government had just added eight Senators to their fleet for Ukraine. But wait, that’s not all! Other Western allies, including NATO, were also on a shopping spree, purchasing dozens of these armored beasts since the onset of the conflict. 

Fast forward to the present, and you’ll find a staggering hundred Senators serving dutifully in the Ukrainian military and law enforcement agencies. That’s a lot of armored might!

In January, Shimonov announced his company’s plan to send 200 Senators to Ukraine by May. This followed a visit to Kyiv by Canada’s Defense Minister, Anita Anand. This visit resulted in a $90 million contract for the procurement and transport of these Senators. 

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