The Stryker hits its 10th year of service

The Stryker hits its 10th year of service

The Army may have more than its share of acquisition horror stories, but sometimes, it gets it right: Service officials last week celebrated a decade in service for the workhorse Stryker vehicle, which was developed and fielded in the blink of an eye compared to the time the service has needed for other programs — many of which never panned out. But as this week’s announcement makes clear, the Stryker story shows that when the Army has its act together, it can work quickly to field a vehicle it can both use and upgrade even as soldiers fight from it every day.

From the Army’s announcement:

“The Army needed a force that was versatile, flexible, digitally capable and networked. The force needed to be packaged on a platform that increased mobility and could be rapidly deployed. The end result of this vision was the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team,” Maj. Gen. Robert Brown told an enthusiastic crowd. “This vision saved hundreds of my soldiers’ lives in combat,” Brown added, referring to his years as a Stryker Brigade Combat Team commander. Brown said the Stryker vehicles under his command withstood a full range of enemy attacks to include rockets, small arms fire and improvised explosive devices.


Stryker project manager Col. Robert Schumitz told the crowd that 10 years of continuous evolution and improvement within the Stryker program has resulted in the successful manifestation of the original vision for the vehicle: “In October 1999, a challenge was laid out to the Army which stated, ‘We must provide early-entry forces that can operate jointly without access to fixed forward bases, but we still need the power to slug it out and win decisively. Today, our heavy forces are too heavy and our light forces lack staying power,’” Schumitz said. “The Stryker Brigade, a dynamic, agile, lethal force structure, proved to be the solution to those mismatches.”

The Stryker has “27 million combat miles with operational readiness rates greater than 96 percent,” according to the Army, and it just fielded a new version with a double-V hull, which the brass says will give its occupants even greater protection from roadside bombs.

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There are plenty of Stryker horror stories, too, but atleast we got useful combat capability out of the program. Note that the Stryker was derived from existing systems. Smart move. If we had started from the ground up with Lockheed Martin, or worse yet, Boeing, we would have had another failure on our hands.

Great observation — Do you think the Army and the other services may have missed a lesson about the value of starting from an existing platform, given some of the other frustrations they’ve had with the big programs they’ve tried to develop?

I’m not sure what horror stories you refer to, but the basic vehicle performed better than either the Army or the manufaturer could have ever envisioned. There were some hugely overmatched mine/IED’s that caused catastrophic damage to Stryker, but those same blasts would have had similar effects on Bradley or Abrams. I understand that the new designed hull will provide protection on the level of the most survivable MRAP.

it’s a lesson DoD has to painfully keep re-learning. they quickly forget. we need to develop technology smartly. in our Major Defense Acquisition Programs, we need to develop incremental improvements to proven systems. with other development “high risk” dollars we can pursue high risk technology, developing commodity items that can be integrated into proven systems. we need to keep production lines open for as long as possible, producing at minimum sustaining rates. you never want to lose any capability as you implement new capability.

to “sell” the Stryker the Army bragged about its C-130 deployability. Sure, as long as the laws of physics do not apply and USAF is willing to break every safety rule about carrying cargo and the laws of physics. This is how the Army, and DoD as well, operates — promise to deliver the latest and greatest, and then under-deliver late and overbudget. Taxpayers end up paying more for less capability (same budget). DoD embarasses itself, enrages Congress, and takes its lumps. Wait until the storm blows over, then get suckered by the latest Industry pitches. Repeat Cycle.

Except the Stryker has proven itself a useful asset. Yeah it couldn’t live up to the C-130 requirements once they started adding weight to the vehicle, but it’s service record has been quite successful. The Stryker was originally the Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) program anyway, pending the introduction of the Future Combat Systems MGV family of vehicles. It didn’t promise too much but what it did promise was realistic.

Of course improving on current, existing systems is a smart strategy, but sometimes you need to start with a clean sheet of paper. Yet in doing so we shouldn’t have unrealistic requirements or expect a vehicle that can do everything from day one. Compare the MBT-70 and M1 Abrams programs.

The capabilities we wanted out of the FCS vehicles were a step too far, or at least expecting all of those capabilities initially was.

You don’t necesarily have to go back to a clean sheet of paper. Take M-1 Abrams for example. You could go back to its functional requirements, determine what feasible technology could result in an incremental increase in functionality, and then pursue a replacement that is BETTER without sacrificing what is already good about it. OR we could buy Boeing’s pitch hook, line, and sinker, and let Boeing tell us what our performance requirements should be and then trust them to deliver. Then micromanage them, and screw them up even worse then they could screw themselves up.

And now they are considering a 105 mm howitzer variant.

The Army’ s inability to make capability/tradeoff decisions drives me nuts. They want their cake and eat it too. They start off their programs claiming strategic mobility (C-130) as a key requirement, then reality hits and they want armor, then they say strategic mobility isn’t so essential (C-17). They load more and more requirements on successful programs, until they break them too. It’s pathetic. Here’s a great article in federal times describing military officers inability to manage acquisition programs. Atleast USAF has an officer career field for program management, if not successful results (doesn’t matter how smart a PM is if they are being micromanaged by a fighter jock): http://​www​.federaltimes​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​0​1​1​0​5​0​2​/​D​EPA

they already have it

They’ve been trying to get rid of it and replace it with a “normal” cost overrun ever since.

The Stryker became useful by mistake, it was designed for the last fad — network centric warfare — that never panned out. How were the contractors to know that it could be used for other things.

What Bill is saying if you want massive contractor profits you do.

Contractor profits are based on repeatedly resetting the learning curve — and thus overcharging. It’s much harder for them to do that with existing systems.

A clean sheet with mediocre performance requirements is what the contractors are looking for.

The thing is, contractor’s could make more money if we had more incrementalism in our acquisition strategy, because we would have more systems in O&M that they can provide support for. But their current business model is to create new technology fads and sell the most expensive, exotic technology, regardless of whether it is operationally suitable or not, and then lobby Congress endlessly to keep everything alive, regardless of how stupid our course of action takes us. The Defense Acquisition corps is often helpless bystander victims unable to influence the decision making process, which happens behind closed doors.

Nice to think that but ripping of the taxpayer has much lower costs and much higher profits. Even when you trow in a couple million to buy a congressmen.

Organized crime does pay quite handsomely if you own the police.

And if they had just bought the Piranha without adding the Rube Goldberg drive system it would have been C130 transportable, cost less and been fielded faster. Instead, thanks to General Beret, we have a vehicle that’s just as air transportable as a Brad. With a lot less armor, a lot lower cross country mobility, and vastly lighter armament. But it has wheels, and wheels were what General Beret demanded, because all the cool kids had wheeled APCs.

If only I could become a project manager just out of spite for you comrade Oblatski.

Interesting. Are you seeing a down side to this?

It seems to that the M-777, despite it’s strengths in other areas, is too vulnerable to counter battery fire. The mobility offered by mounting a 105mm on a Stryker chassis would go a long way toward mitigating this. With further development of the 105mm round — which may be more likely to take place with the Strykers also using them in addition to the light units — the range and lethality issues with a 105mm vs a 155mm might also be mitigated.

The lesson here is that ground vehicles have peaked. What more can really be done? The Stryker is, at best. The M-47 or M-48 of IFV’s. Sure, against lightly armed insurgents it’s good. Against a determined enemy, or an actual army it’s lunch meat.

The DOD needs to focus on improving the vehicles we have. Not some fantasy “Ground Combat Vehicle” that fits in a C-130 (like the Stryker was supposed to).

I don’t know where you get this idea that ground vehicles have peaked. Active defense systems, advanced composite materials, hybrid-electric engines, new sensors, and all sorts of other things are in development or have been fielded in recent years.

There was a good reason why FCS was canceled!! Active protection system is a waste of time & money. It is impossible to engineer an APS that is operationally suitable. First fratricide and it’s game over.

I’ll have to disagree with you there. With continued development I think they will become viable, although everybody has different ideas of what the “kill mechanism” should be. “Soft kill” systems which can jam or mislead an ATGM are also useful.

However the FCS approach where the APS was a vital and central part of the vehicles defensive scheme was a major mistake. Perhaps in the long-term we will continue to move towards the FCS approach of lighter vehicles relying more on stealth, situational awareness, and countermeasures. Yet for the foreseeable future we need heavy armor for our main battle tanks and such. You don’t have to worry about a thick layer of Chobham armor failing like a sensor for an active protection system might.

It is one thing to get a “low intensity battle taxi” from an existing platform, it is something else when you are developing ‘next generation capabilities’ that far exceed those of existing platforms… Note that there WAS some ‘next generation capabilities’ but the basic vehicle requirements were nothing new.

No need to refer to everyone as comrade Bill. We know you are pissed off that the west won the cold war but you just need to get used to it.

form what I have seen of ex-contractor employees such as yourself I’d train up in flipping burgers.

Bills objective as ever is pouring more money down the rat hole.
In every single one of his posts you will see more money for the contractors — just take a look.

The AGS (105MM) version had to chopped to fit a C-130, the crew has to wear “cool suits” to be able to man the vehicle because GD had to strip the vehicle of the firewalls to meet the weight requirements and which caused the interior vehicle temperature to be 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite of these failings it was still funded just like the EFV program. I tip my hat off to the lobbyist employed by General Dynamics for efforts to put aside what is best for our troops and push what is best for those who profit from such programs.

You readers of DOD BUZZ just don’t get it. A topic is brought up and it evolves into tangential arguments of the original topic. “Stay on Course” or quit offering BS like someone we all know (ALLONS) . The Army is still looking for the “Swiss Knife” armor or infantry vehicle and its not going to be. We the taxpayer may pay for what is proposed to be “The Vehicle” but time will tell, time will tell.

My objective is wanting to see the US military with the best equipment possible, thus having the technological and qualitative edge over any opponent. I want the US to have a strong technological and industrial base. If that pisses off lefties like yourself it is an added benefit.

The M1128 MGS seems like it was thrown together as an after-thought and thus suffers from a number of compromises. Supposedly the turret is the same as that used on a ‘80s era expeditionary light tank offered by some company. Yet there is barely enough room for all of the electronics in there so it can be quite cramped within the vehicle. There were probably some better proposals for the turret to use on the Stryker MGS.

It is still some useful 105mm direct fire support, but could have been better designed for sure.

the fault in your logic is that there is no such thing as the “best” solution. we have learned time and time again that when we try to have it all, we end up painting ourselves into a corner — a hopelessly constrained situation. meanwhile we are passing up on “satisfactory” solutions (there is always residual risk). you also are not taking into account systemic/enterprise impacts. what you may think is the “best” technology does not matter if it is logistically unsustainable and operationally unsuitable. APS is a spending black hole. you would have to design, develop, test, and verify the system for an infinite number of possible states (different vehicle velocities, different threats, different angles, etc.) i also question the magnitude of this threat vs other threats (IEDs) in terms of which threat deserves the most resources to which solutions for overall mission accomplishment can be found. there are many solutions to the threat of the dismounted enemy with an RPG prior to the last line of defense of an APS.

Luckily for Bill he has a very low requirement for best. Name a failing procurement, a poor design or catastrophic disaster and Bill will be there to tell us over and over again that it’s the best.

When you point out to Bill that pouring money into a rat hole still makes it a rat hole — Bill will say that he likes rat holes its a very nice rat hole in fact it’s THE BEST RAT HOLE.

Definitely better designs exist.
The current MGS autoloader was basically a re-launch of the old Teledyne system used in a tracked AGS system demonstrator from the 1980s.

Current systems available that are far superior to the current 1980s mash-up 105 are indeed the Denel Leo 105 turret that is being “re-offered”, which can achieve almost 47km range with VLAP enhanced shells that can soon fit those precision guidance fuzes into the nose of the shell,
and there is the CT-CV 105 from CMI Dfence of Belgium (used to be called Cocerill back in the day, and they made many lightweight 90mm guns).

Either of these guns adapts perfectly to the Piranha/Stryker chassis, and offers more rounds of ammo per load out than the measily 19 a Stryker MGS has.
They also shoot farther, and can quickly adopt tank-fired precision shells already.

And you Oblat are shouting the same “B-2 melts in the rain” sort of nonsense that has been disproved over and over. The only thing I ever see you do is criticize everything the United States does and say we should have bought Airbus.

Of course, the M-1 was built on the lessons of a cancelled program, the MBT-70. The army actually bent metal to build a prototype, which was converted to a monument that sat on Eisenhower Avenue on Fort Knox. FCS came from an entirely different legacy — really its first iteration was the Armored Familty of Vehicles Task Force Study that General Sunnell headed up in the late 1980s. That study, of course, went nowhere, as has every developmental ground vehicle program since then. The Army made hay while the sun shined and money was plentiful after 9/11 to get Stryker fielded. Nobody was quite sure what platform the MGV would have at the beginning of FCS — but TARDEC (IMO) pretty mucy scotched the idea of a wheeled vehicle solution. Does one really imagine that the Boeing Company carried one wy or the other whether the common vehicle chassis had tracks or wheels ? Give me a break…I do remember a JFCOM Colonel who was in charge of the Fort Lewis fielding team saying that THIS (the Stryker) was the real FCS. That’s the kind of damn-the-process, get-out-of-my-way cowboy behavior that got us where we are today.

Okay, let’s breathe here. One thing the United States Army does NOT do is to commission second lieutenants with no functional or field experience and put them in the Acquisition Corps. Nor should they. While I have a fairly high respect for most — key word here — of the Army acquisition corps officers I have known, the simple truth is that they were all good enough to get branch qualified and promoted to O-4 (at one time, this was a significant hurdle), but in all probability, they knew they were not going to be on the command track and the acquisition corps provided an alternate route to the stars — or at least a rewarding retirement at the rank of Colonel. A lot of these folks had a passion for materiel — the kind of people who excelled as battalion motor officers and company executive officers — and found a niche there. The fact that most of them saw extensive service as line officers in their first ten years is a credit to them and the Army in which they served.

Oh, yes, because all those Infantry & Armor officers’ functional and field experience led them to the brilliant conclusion that FCS was the only acceptable course of action for Army modernization. Heaven forbid we should actually have someone with depth of experience as a systems engineer manage a major acquisition program.

If a career systems engineer became a Gen Officer PM of an MDAP, they’d probably expose all the failures of the prime contractors, interrupting the flow of cash from victimized taxpayers to the lining of contractor’s pockets.

That’s the problem. The Program office keeps with the “pie in the sky” thinking. There is no “Swiss Army Knife” on wheels. Want a tank? Buy a tank. Want an APC, buy an APC. Stop re-inventing the wheel.

“…celebrated a decade in service for the workhorse Stryker vehicle…”

During that decade, it was Tanks and Brads that drove from Kuwait to Baghdad. The MRAP was developed for Afghanistan. The Stryker has always been, and will always be a niche vehicle. It is not a “workhorse”.

Your definiition of systems engineering may not be the same as mine — virtually all combat arms officers are exposed to systems thinking through the Army’s training process, which decomposes missions into tasks, then subtasks and so on. In the old days we had CBRS and now there is this unpronounceable DOTMLPF acronym — but the point is the same — at the core of the Army’s development process is the notion that material systems are part of a larger system, and that there are inherent trades between doctrine, training, organizational and material solutions to force development problems. The downside — this broader approach leads Army guys to be a bit fickle with respect to material solutions. The advantage — we do not wait on material solutions to institute change — and the changes are frequent and often far-reaching. What the Army does NOT do is slave its force development to material solutions and programs, Proper force design looks at unit capabilities to do the mission, not (just) the physical capabilities of platform level systems. Since most Army PMs actually do have engineering degrees, they know how to do their own translation into engineering-speak.

No, they have a 105mm direct fire cannon, MGS. Forrest is refering to a 105mm howitzer.

Tell that to the guys that put 27 Million Combat miles in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t think they would agree with you.

VetOpsAnalyst sounds like the lobbyist that sold Strykers and EFV program. I’m surprised your keeping contact.
I figured you would be sipping “Pinacoladas” off in some Caribbean island not giving a s*&$t (about the “soldiers in the trenches”) just the profit you made selling useless programs that don’t protect the soldier or marine.. Remember there are those of us that know different. maybe one of these days you will pay, here or in Heaven.

Too funny, my last comment wasn’t publieshed since I was on one of the operational test teams for a Stryker variant. Makes you go “Hmmm”.

Facepalm. There were, I can assure you, some interesting wrinkles in the Stryker BCT TO&E — those have NOTHING to do with the Stryker battalions’ organization. They still think and fight like mechanized infantry. Here is a picture of the LAV-25. http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​F​i​l​e​:​0​2​1​0​0​2​-​M​-​2​7​06G–
Even though the Stryker is chassis is a variant of the LAV, it carries three more infantrymen — the LAV has the following advantages:
1. It weighs 4 tons less than the Stryker.
2. It has a 25 mm chain gun that can defend light armored vehicles, firing from under armor.
3. It has two more machinguns than the Styker, mounted coxially with the chain gun.
Now, the soldiers in both vehicles can carry and use dismountable wire and RF guided missiles, so there is antiarmor capability — basically a wash. Nonetheless — this is what happens when the policy the US Army gets panicked into overoptimizing systems for COIN operations. You get less capability, not more. I wait with no particular expectation for the day when the Army mods its Stryker fleet by putting turrets and chain guns on these vehicles.

Slight amendment. of the two 7.62 machinguns on the LAV, one is on the turret roof the other is coaxially mounted..

You probably belonged to the EFV operational test team that allowed it to go for 13 YEARS & $3 BILLION DOLLARS so your already used to going to sleep at night without a guilty conscience.

You probably belonged to the EFV operational test team that allowed it to go for 13 YEARS & $3 BILLION DOLLARS so your already used to going to sleep at night without a guilty conscience

Read more: http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​5​/​1​0​/​t​h​e​-​s​t​r​y​k​e​r​-​hit
DoDBuzz​.com

compared to M3 Bradley IFV, this is much better option for counter-insurgency warfare that we are fighting in AFGHN and IRAQ. i have fought in both M3 in Desert Storm and Stryker in IRAQ and AFGHN and i prefer Stryker over M3 any day. Boots on the ground.

warrior6 you took my thunder. i was going to say to those knuckleheads, if they talk to the soldiers of a Stryker Brigade most would tell you they lover their vehicle and are darn glad they have it.

amen brother!

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