US Military Orders 352 More Strykers
The 8×8 wheeled Stryker armored vehicle is the backbone of the US Army’s 7 medium armored brigades, with an 8th on the way. The base vehicle is also known as the LAV-III (Canada) and Piranha-III (GD MOWAG Switzerland), but American Stryker family APCs are outfitted with a set of communications and electronics equipment that makes them a unique variant. Stryker program’s production contracts began in 2000; to date, General Dynamics Land Systems in Canada and the USA have delivered 2,988 vehicles to the US military. Now, a $647 million order will add another 352 Strykers to the Army.
Consultation with General Dynamics Land systems has yielded the full breakdown of this Stryker order among all variants…
Strykers: From The Program to the Field
Strykers in the field have received mixed reviews. They cannot easily be carried in C-130 Hercules aircraft, per the program’s original objective, but mobility into theater has been adequate. Once there, their fast travel on roads and advanced communications has often worked well in Iraq, though heavier IED land mines began to take their toll later in the war.
Stryker-like vehicles have performed a similar role protecting roads in Afghanistan, in order to foster trade and internal security. Once taken into Afghanistan’s rough and forbidding off-road terrain, however, Canada found that the LAV-III’s mobility limitations created unacceptable difficulties, as well as high maintenance costs. They responded by fielding tracked M113 APCs and Leopard tanks as supplements.
The Strykers’ road-friendliness and relatively cheap $14/mile full sustainment cost does make them very attractive to National Guard units for internal and disaster use. To date, however the US military has fielded all but 1 of its Stryker Brigade Combat Teams with the active-duty Army.
End FY 2009 Contract Breakdown
All Stryker family variants have a high degree of commonality – generally over 80%. Variants and production totals include:
M1126 ICV: 189. The infantry carrier vehicle carries a squad of infantry. Comparatively silent relative to other APCs, which gives it an advantage in urban fights. Rebuilt Strykers are finally beginning to receive a Desert Tan paint scheme for use in theater, instead of the standard Olive Green.
M1127 RV: 26. The Stryker has a relatively high profile compared to dedicated vehicles like ARGE’s Dutch-German Fennek, but its advanced sensors make the M1127 reconnaissance variant a capable and compatible option for a Stryker BCT.
M1129 MC: 30. As the picture up top shows, its 120mm mortar is carried inside, and the top opens up for firing.
M1130 CV: 37. Command and control variant. All Strykers are characterized by their level of communications hardware packed inside, but this one functions as a mobile command post.
M1131 FSV: 7. The Fire Support Vehicle performs a role similar to Bradley FISTs, enabling first-round on target fire from artillery and rockets thanks to its advanced built-in sensors and targeting.
M1132 EV: 6. Wheeled platforms lack the traction required to be really excellent engineering vehicles, but the growing role of combat engineering, and the importance of obstacle clearing in urban fights, creates some role for this Engineering Vehicle’s dozer blade and other attachments.
M1134 ATGM: 17. The Anti-Tank Guided Missile variant fires TOW missiles. This makes them potent tank-killers, but these days their weapons are far more likely to target buildings and key strongpoints.
M1135 NBC: 40. This completes the Army’s LRIP(Low Rate Initial Production) authority for 95 Stryker NBCRV systems approved by the Pentagon’s November 2007 Defense Acquisitions Board. This buy continues Stryker NBCRV production until a Full Rate Production decision is made in Q2 of FY 2011. Specialty chemical defense companies and Army Heavy Brigade Combat Teams will start to get them as a replacement for the M93 Fox/Fuchs and other specialty NBC vehicles in February 2010.