Canada's public works minister announced Friday a $1 billion upgrade of 550 light armored vehicles used to transport Canadian troops on battlefields in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

General Dynamics Land Systems has been contracted to improve the protection of the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) IIIs against mines and improvised explosive devices, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement.

She said the upgrades will also improve their mobility, and incorporate ergonomic and data management improvements. The contract, worth $1.064 billion (US$1.054 billion), is expected to extend their lifespan to 2035.