Army Rolls Out New Stryker

Army Rolls Out New Stryker

The Army is working on a new and improved version of its Stryker wheeled vehicle, given the designation Stryker A1, intended to boost its performance with a more powerful engine, beefier transmission and suspension, better brakes as well as adding a new sensor suite, high-tech shot detection and location system, an upgraded communications network and an improved remotely operated weapons turret.

The Army plans to spend $134 million on the upgraded eight-wheeled vehicle in 2011, according to service budget documents, and nearly $880 million over the next five years. The designation A1 is typically added to Army vehicle names as they go through various iterations and improvement packages such as the M1A1 Abrams, the M1A2, etc.

One of the major enhancements to the Stryker A1 will be to lift the vehicle higher off the ground so that it’s better protected against IED blasts. The Stryker has gained a lot of weight since its initial rollout when it was realized that its thin armor, intended to provide protection only up to 12.7mm machine gun rounds and high-explosive fragments, did not provide sufficient protection against the two most omnipresent anti-armor weapons in irregular wars: the IED and the rocket propelled grenade.


To protect against RPGs, the Army added “steel cage” bolt-on slat armor (and then aluminum) around the Stryker’s hull. The cage either deflects or prematurely detonates the rocket’s warhead before it can punch a hole through the hull and into the crew compartment. As IEDs became the insurgent weapon of choice in Iraq, the Army added a 2 inch think belly plate to the Stryker.

The armor packages added nearly 2 ½ tons to the 20 ton Stryker’s weight, severely taxing the engine and transmission and weighing it down. Ground clearance was much reduced. Battlefield experience has shown the importance of getting as much clearance as possible between a vehicle’s belly and the IED or mine blast so that blast effects are absorbed by the suspension and drive train rather than the crew compartment. The vehicle’s off-road mobility was also challenged as it added weight.

These serious teething problems with the relatively new Stryker led retired Army Maj. Gen. Bob Scales to write in Armed Forces Journal that it’s the wrong vehicle for Afghanistan. “The vehicles have proven to be too thinly armored to survive the very large explosive power of Taliban IEDs and too immobile to maneuver off road to avoid them.”

Nevertheless, and despite the fact that the Stryker brigade operating in southern Afghanistan has been pulled off its original mission of clearing an insurgent infested rural area and instead relegated to patrolling hard top roadways, there are plans to convert two of the Army’s heavy brigades to Stryker brigades. Army budget documents say the A1 variant will be designed to solve “current and evolving survivability concerns.”

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“…a platform which doesn’t fit the battle so they’re coming up with kludge work-arounds will still leave the Stryker as a less than optimal fit for almost any role.”

It wouldn’t be the first time. Remember how they dealt with bocage? And the first few iterations of Wild Weasel were “let the SAM radar lock onto you and try to blow it up before the missile gets you”.

UH — there is nothing new to this kind of roadside warfare as they describe in this article. many of you know for a fact that the Germans, Koreans, Viet Cong & NVA used these same tactics previously and we trained the Taliban how to do this against the Russians. But in the past we looked for ways to avoid them and looked for ways to lighten vehicles to make them more off road capable. Now we are doing a 180. Making the strykers heavier and with higher ground clearance is just going to make them more prone to rolling over even easier. Troop transports/carriers are only supposed to get you to the fight and not give you a safe place to hide during the fight. The brass and govt. are only adding to the problems with thier logic and solutions.

They still aren’t addressing the mobility and flip-ability they currently have. Instead while they add all this nice (and somewhat needed) tech. It only makes the vehicle even more likely to flip.

Ok if the Stryker is wrong for Afghanistan, what about a novel concept, one that SOF troops used in the initial invasion , HORSES, they cost much less, carry more, move faster than on foot.

Shot-detection? nice. Remote weapon station? sweet! Beefier engine? fantastic!

I do however have one question:

With all these upgrades that are being added, aren’t we looking at a 25 tonne vehicle? It seems to me that having something along the lines of 3 tonnes resting on each wheel might make this vehicle violently allergic to one of the biggest obstacles combat vehicles have to face: mud.

I am curious to see how the issue of off-road mobility is going to be adressed by these upgrades or whether the Striker A1 is going to be reduced to road-only operations, which will result in more IED & mine strikes.

Horses object to strap on armor weight, dont have the power system for shot detection, laser ied detonater and troops do get attached to them.

The one thing good about a horse or mule is that they taste better than a MRE and carry themself to the slaughter as an improvised ration.

The real problem is that all the good saddle makers have moved off shore. No body makes military buggy whips except for United Technologies and congress wont let another sole source contract go thru.

IIRC, the Stryker was designed to be light and compact enough to roll into a C-130 and zip it over to the battlefield in short order and roll off the C-130 ready to fight. It was supposed to be capable of functioning in all terrains and bring lots of firepower to a highly mobile battlefield.

Now, as WarScientist and the author state/imply you’ve got a vehicle pretty much limited in mobility and I’m pretty sure no one would even dream of loading the thing into a C-130 without at least hours and maybe days of prep — and it certainly wouldn’t be configured for battle when it rolled off the plane…

Please correct me if I’m wrong (I don’t claim to be a guru on such things) but to me the Stryker increasingly looks like hardware in search of a mission — or a platform which doesn’t fit the battle so they’re coming up with kludge work-arounds will still leave the Stryker as a less than optimal fit for almost any role.

“The one thing good about a horse or mule is that they taste better than a MRE and carry themself to the slaughter as an improvised ration. ”

Indeed, a herd of thousand-pound buffalo solves many problems. They’re self-propelled, all-terrain, and whenever they find an IED they automatically prepare themselves for consumption by troops (although I guess we better learn to like Sloppy Joes.)

The Duck has it right here, a poster child for mission creep is the Hummer. Started out as a Jeep replacement — got guns — got armor — got shot at — got more armor. Now it is as heavy as an Abrams and as mobile as a statue.

And one RPG can still ruin its day. The Stryker is building a poor record in Afghanistan…

Why the frack didn’t they go with the LAV III? Anybody?

Stryker is a variant of LAV III. The primary difference is that without the big turret, there’s room for three more troops and more electronics.

There appears to be a significant amount of misinformation on what a Stryker is and is not. It is part of the LAV family of vehicles. The same basic chassis as the Canadian LAV III, New Zealand LAV, except it has a more robust suspension to carry a heavier GVW. It does not have a history of “flipping” over unless drivers try to do more than the automotive characteristics are designed to do (not an unusual thing for Soldiers to do). There is significant growth capacity if the C-130 transportability envelope is waived, i.e. up to 60K lb GVW capacity, partial 30mm protection, 450 — 600 hp engine, etc. The Army has to decide if there will be a two configuration fleet, one the is an early entry force design (current) and one for a more lethal environment (A2). The more robust configuration would make an excellent M-113 replacement in the heavy brigades. By the way, someone needs to check Scales industry connection because last year he wrote several articles and gave a speach that I heard, singing the praises of Stryker.

The new stryker fixes many of the issues of the first generation. Yes we have lost alot of strykers in Afghanistan, but those soldiers weren’t KIA. I have taken the Stryker to Iraq and dealt with IEDS and RPGs. RPGs really aren’t an issue with the slat armor. They get shredded before they even reach the hull. IED pose a bigger concern as they will ruin your day. Though with all the IED strikes we took in Iraq, no soldier was killed in the vehicle. They are a lot more surviable than the HMMWV, and the M1113 series and about on Par with the Bradley. I like to just mention that SOCOM has used Strykers in Afghanistan since 2003.

Shot Detection: If the horse bleeds from its right flank look for a shooter to the right, if it bleeds from the left, look left…

The stryker is better with missile luncher with multiple reload.

The Stryker was overweight and underpowered when the Army got done hanging crap on the original Canadian chassis. Only a handful of variants ever came close to honestly meeting the intent of the requirement to be C130-transportable AND combat-capable. The vehicle has to be stripped to the bone to meet the size and weight limits for a C130 (then you need another C130 to carry the stuff you had to take off). The worst farce in the Stryker family is the so-called Mobile Gun System which requires removal of major critical components before it goes into a C130 — but yes you can drive a stripped Stryker into a C130 (under ideal conditions), manage to get the bird in the air (at sea level), circle the airfield once, then land and drive the stripped Stryker back off the aircraft as a Photo Op for the press. Just don’t ask any questions about ammo, fuel, mission equipment, or crew when the vehicle rolls of the aircraft.

All complaints aside, the Stryker is a vast improvement over the “Up Armored” HMMWV — for any mission where you would otherwise use a HMMWV, the Stryker is the way to go — but if you are looking at a mission that you wouldn’t consider using a HMMWV, you probably shouldn’t consider using a Stryker either.

Why don’t they spend the money on a medium tank that can take a beating and give out better than it gets, something that go into cities and towns. I f the stryker runs into heavy armor, they will give a good account, but they will burn and bleed. Deke.

Good to hear that no one got hurt. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

If the horse jumps two hundred feet into the air and scatters itself over a wide area, you have detected a mine.

Yeah! And the Stryker isn’t much good against tactical nuclear weapons, either! CLEARLY it’s a TOTAL waste of money. A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY. Anything that can’t stand up to a 31-kt shaped-detonation charge has NO BUSINESS being in the modern Army! That’s why you should always buy Mark III instead of HVY.

Understand, I think the Stryker is a cool vehicle and all that. My concern is that we may be slowly creeping into certain configurations and technologies without sitting back and asking how we really should be fighting. I’m not sure I have the answer but I’m not sure our leadership does either.

One quick note on the rollover risk with the increased ride height? That actually may not be any worse after the planned changes. Key here is the idea that they will also be increasing the belly armor. The weight of the belly armor will tend to decrease the Center of Gravity such that even after the increased ride height you might have a lower CG and lower risk of rollover than you had before the modifications.

I have difficulty comparing the Stryker to the M113. I’ve only been in the 113 on one occasion and I didn’t much like it — but its ability to turn in its own length can be very valuable in constricted spaces such as narrow streets — and I don’t think the Stryker will ever be able to compete in that regard. But then, the Stryker should do much better on the freeway…

Anyway, I appreciate the education I get here.

And DD? Are you proposing the use of the Bolos of Sci-Fi? I think they might be able to manage your criteria! And yes, I do occasionally recognize satire.

The value of the Stryker in Iraq was you could send an Armoured vehicle that could carry troops to the fight and then support them during the fight. It isn’t an Infantry Fighting Vehicle such as the LAV III or the Bradley. And it is far better than the “Up-Armoured” Humvees I rolled in. I wish we would have had Strykers because I know some friends that would still be alive right now.

The Stryker is valuable in that if you need to send them somewhere they can just go. THey can carry themselves to the fight. Unlike the Bradley or the Abrams which you have to load onto a Hemet truck which is then very vunerable to IED’s. As far as Afghanistan goes Bradley’s and M-113’s aren’t all that great either. Because of the terrain it is a light infantry fight. As far as going up against tanks goes if you have infantry with Javelins or Brad’s or Strykers with TOW’s they will jack up twice their number of T-72’s any day of the week.

They can easily just add an angled under belly with higher clearance to counter IED and that would make a huge difference.

No way, man, Bolos are silly! I prefer Ogres.

I think one person had the right idea… Why not turn the Stryker into a infantry carrier with limited heavy weapons to help with weight for air transport and instead create a medium M1 type tank? Something smaller than the M1 but based on the same technology?

we need to nuke the place…all this $ we spending on the field is ridiculous. we can use all that $ to re-built it… AFTER WE ARE DONE NUKING IT! PROBLEM SOLVED.. NO MORE TALIBAN!!

The Stryker is good if you look at it for what it is. A series of rapidly deployable light armored vehicles, that can serve as the basis for a whole brigade. Yet naturally once the Stryker is in the combat zone, we are looking for ways to improve it’s armor protection.

The Stryker was designed to have a combat weight of some 19 tons and it is rather critical to expect the vehicle to be as well protected as upgraded Bradleys (30 tons) or the Abrams (65+ tons). Adding all sorts of extra armor and equipment to the Stryker can degrade it’s mobility and cause other problems which upgrades will help address.

There is plenty of disinformation about the Stryker out there, and people like Mike Sparks don’t help matters. But the Stryker has overcome most of it’s early problems and provided excellent service in Iraq. In Afghanistan the terrain is less suitable for Stryker and many other vehicles but it is a far better option than being in a truck or HMMWV.

What are you looking for exactly? The M1128 Stryker MGS is basically a 105mm cannon on the Stryker chassis designed to provide fire support, however it’s armor is nowhere near that of the M1 Abrams. Back in the 1990s there was a M8 Buford light tank designed to be airdrop capable, but this was canceled during the cutbacks of the day. Yet even with the level III armor package it won’t shrug off AT weapons like the M1 can.

The best bet for a new “medium” tank would probably be something like the CV90120, or some variant of the GCV program.

WRT vehicle weights, the more recent variants of the Piranha family of vehicles (all of MOWAG being under the General Dynamics roof) can support weights of up to 28–30 tons on the 8-wheel chassis.
I’m guessing a lot of the tech refined into the Piranha IV and V concept vehicles will find their way into the Stryker upgrades.
The actual MOWAG/GD ELS website doesn’t list the IV and V, but any of the more recent Jane’s Armour and Artillery books do.

Wow.

There have been several catastrophic IED kills of Strykers in Afghanistan, usually involving huge IEDs. In one, involving an estimated 1800 lb huge IED, an entire squad was lost. Then again, 1800 lbs of IED will destroy anything including an Abrams.

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