The Canadian military is secretly—or not so secretively, as it turns out—testing the viability of a stealth snowmobile designed to deliver troops on clandestine operations in the Arctic.
The price tag of this all-important covert tool called "Loki" (after the mythological Norse shape-shifting god) is a whooping $620,000, according to The Globe and Mail.
Troops have put the hybrid-electric snowmobile prototype on trial runs to test speed, noise level, battery endurance, and acceleration.
From The Globe and Mail:
The project kicked off [two years ago] at a time when the Conservative government was laying out promises to boost Canada's military muscle in the Far North, in a once-vaunted package of Canadian Forces upgrades the feds have largely failed to implement.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to arrive in the Arctic on Sunday for a six-day tour of the region, where his government's main focus has gradually moved from improving the country's northern military capabilities to promoting economic development.
The stealth-snowmobiles project has withstood that political shift.
National Defence has made it clear it does not intend to spend any more money on Arctic mobility for eight years, but its research branch says the evaluation of the silent snowmobile, though still in its early stages, will continue.
Of course, the $620,000 question is … why?
Michael Byers, a former New Democratic Party candidate who teaches international law at the University of British Columbia, did the honors in pointing out the obvious:
"I don't see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada's North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them. I can't help but wonder whether they've been watching too many [James] Bond movies."