Sunday, June 20, 2010

US Army Moves Ahead with Stryker Hull Modification

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 5th Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis, WA was the first Stryker unit sent to Afghanistan, deployed in the summer of 2009 as part of a troop level increase. The brigade was equipped with 350 Stryker vehicles. In the first few months of deployment, the Stryker brigade lost 21 soldiers, with 40 more wounded, as a result of IED explosions. The losses prompted the Army to examine modifications to the Stryker vehicles to make them more resistant to IED explosions. One result is the Stryker hull redesign…

LAV-III stuck
LAV-III: stuck

In truth,this is not a new idea. The US military has been considering a LAV-III/Stryker upgrade for some time, and General Dynamics Land Systems has responded with concepts of a heavier “LAV-H” system. What the Afghan experience did, is change the urgency of one aspect for the proposed new design.

The Strykers have come under criticism for their performance in Afghanistan since the first Stryker brigade was deployed there in the summer of 2009. The Stryker vehicles have been faulted for their lack of maneuverability on rough terrain, a problem that Canada’s similar LAV-IIIs have also experienced. That creates an associated vulnerability to IED land mines planted in the road. 

Unsurprisingly, related up-armoring efforts are underway for Australia’s ASLAVs, and in Canada via the near-term LAV LORIT program, and their longer-term LAV-III upgrade. Since they’re based on a common core platform, American Stryker modifications could affect that longer-term Canadian project.

Contracts & Key Events

M1126 ICV Mosul Traffic Jam
M1126 Stryker ICV

Under the contract, General Dynamics Land Systems will provide design and integration engineering services, test articles/prototypes, and procurement of materials, including long-lead materials, to support the modified hull design with related integrated system changes. The US Army says the contract objectives are an integrated solution that will provide improved protection levels to support operations in Afghanistan. 

June 1/10: The GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC in Sterling Heights, MI recently received a $29.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contractbuys 14 Stryker Double-V Hull prototype vehicles for government ballistic, performance/durability, and logistics testing and demonstration. 

Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (41%); and London, ON, Canada (59%), with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/11. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by TACOM, CCTA-AI in Warren, MI (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

April 9/10: General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, MI receives a $58.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a modified hull design for the US Army’s Stryker vehicles to improve performance and survivability in Afghanistan. 

Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (41%), and London, Ontario, Canda (59%), with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/11. The Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI manages the contract (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

March 11/2010: During US Senate testimony in early 2010, Gen. George Casey said that the US Army was planning to modify the Stryker vehicle with a double V-shaped hull designed to deflect land mine blasts from below. 

The Stryker M1135 NBC reconnaissance and M1128 MGS assault gun variants would reportedly not be modified under the current plan. That could create field issues, since the M1128 is meant to act as firepower support in Stryker brigades.

This article can be found in its entirety here.

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