01/18/2012 01:47 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Ice road tankers? Army to take armour to tundra for first time in decades

They were Canada's armoured workhorse in the dust and heat of Afghanistan, and now the military is taking its LAVs to the tundra.

A massive military exercise next month in the Western Arctic will involve light armoured vehicles — the first time in more than a generation that mechanized units will operate in the North.

Lt.-Col. Bill Fletcher says the manoeuvres will give the army a chance to see how the desert-tested vehicles will perform under Arctic conditions.

It will also allow the army to test its weaponry against defensive positions made out of ice, which can be almost as hard as steel.

Exercise Arctic Ram will involve more than 1,500 soldiers — from the Canadian Rangers to the battle-hardened soldiers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Fletcher says the army hasn't mounted an Arctic effort on this scale for decades.