General Dynamics Land Systems recently announced that the U.S. Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command has awarded them a contract for 615 Stryker wheeled armored personnel carriers (APCs). Initial funding in the amount of $599 million was provided with the award, and GDLS says that the contract has a total potential value of $1.2 billion. Work will be performed in Anniston, AL; Sterling Heights, MI; Lima, OH; and London, Ontario, Canada. Work is expected to be complete by May 2011.
The Stryker program’s production contracts began in 2000; to date, 2,550 vehicles have been fielded. 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. That uniqueness will increase, as a set of modifications including a slightly-sloped v-hull add on, possible addition of Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other changes are currently being studied and proposed as part of a “LAV-H” variant.
Strykers in the field have received mixed reviews. Their mobility on roads and advanced communications has often worked well in Iraq, though heavier IEDs began to take their toll later in the war. It also makes them very attractive to National Guard units for internal and disaster use, but the Army has fielded most of its Strykers with the active-duty Army instead. In Afghanistan’s rough terrain, on the other hand, Canada found that the LAV-III’s mobility limitations created unacceptable difficulties; they responded by fielding M113 tracked APCs and Leopard tanks as supplements, and canceling a planned buy of the M1128 Stryker AGS assault gun for their forces.