Stryker faults

The Stryker has done pretty well in Iraq. All new systems have teething problem's. Here is Stratfor's take on the issue.

Media Report on 'Stryker' Misleading

By Andrew Teekell

On March 31, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Army's Stryker Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), which has been operating in Iraq for a year and a half, is not faring so well in the war zone. The eight-wheeled vehicle is inadequately armored, its computers are too slow and crew accommodations provide inadequate protection during rollovers.

Deficiencies noted, but the media is a bit behind the curve.

The report cites a four-month-old Army report on the LAV's performance in Iraq that did in fact find room for improvement in the Stryker -- improvement that already has been implemented or soon will be. Since first arriving in Iraq in October 2003, the vehicles and their crews have been adapting well to the mission and the environment.

Army personnel at Fort Lewis, Wash., home to the units that deploy the Stryker, tell Stratfor the LAV is experiencing many of the same problems that new weapon systems often do during their shakedown cruise in combat.

One problem, which most likely will be addressed on the assembly line, is that the tire pressure has to be checked too frequently because of the weight of the extra armor that protects the crew from insurgent rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The armor is a field modification installed when the vehicles arrive in Kuwait and before they cross the border into Iraq. Although the armor is saving lives, the Stryker's suspension and tires were not designed to handle the extra weight.

The Army report also cites problems with the Stryker's computer systems. The commander's display fails to function properly and the computers slow down or freeze up when processing large amounts of data. Sources at General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., the Stryker's manufacturer, say the computer issues have been addressed with software upgrades. The data processing and command and control equipment in the Strykers are completely new systems that had never been used in combat vehicles before the Strykers went to Iraq.

In addition, the vehicle's grenade launcher has proven to be difficult to operate under combat conditions. This is a problem that can be remedied with interim field modifications or improvements on the assembly line.

The Stryker is deployed with the 3rd Brigade of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq. Since February 2004, when the "Stryker Brigade" deployed to Kirkuk and Mosul, two vehicles have been lost to RPG fire. Other vehicles have been totaled by landmines and improvised explosive devices. Casualties have been sustained in most cases, but few Stryker crewmembers have been killed.

The first version of a weapon system often requires refinement after being used operationally. During World War II, the M4 Sherman tank was plagued by inadequate firepower and thin armor and was shot full of holes by the powerful German tanks it encountered in Normandy. To give themselves a better chance of surviving encounters with the Panzers, Sherman crews took to bolting scrap armor plate to the front and sides and tying sandbags to the front.

An even more notable example of military field expediency is the rapid "up-armoring" of the Army's "Humvee" fleet in Iraq, which was introduced into a combat environment that it was not designed for. There have been dozens of modifications to the F-16 fighter and
M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle since these systems were first deployed. Even the mighty
F-117 Stealth fighter performed poorly when first used in combat in Panama in 1989.

These problems are not exclusive to the U.S. military. The suspensions of Soviet T-72 tanks used in Afghanistan were found to be inadequate for the country's rough terrain, so the T-72 was replaced by the older T-62. During Russia's involvement in Chechnya, the gas turbine engines on their T-80 tanks proved to be problematic and were replaced with diesel engines in later models. The British army's Challenger tank was completely redesigned to address problems noted during gunnery exercises and the 1991 Gulf War.

The Stryker was developed for the emerging doctrine of a lighter and more rapidly deployable force. It was a controversial shift from an Army based on heavy divisions meant to engage massed Soviet formations to a force more suited to low-intensity conflict and intervention.

When it was introduced, the Stryker was derided by critics of the new, lighter Army. So far, however -- despite some teething troubles -- the Stryker has proven itself in combat. Experience in Iraq has shown that the Main Battle Tank still has a place on the urban battlefield -- U.S. troops like the firepower and psychological advantage that the 70-ton
M-1 gives them. And, from all accounts, they like the Stryker too.
Hmmm...anyone want to suggest we just buy whatever the DoD buy in respponse to the FRES OR?
You get what you pay for - a light vehicle like Stryker cannot survive the incoming that heavy metal such as Warrior, Bradley, Abrams and CR2 can. Not having to armour to survive the direct fire battle saves the weight that gives mobility. But only a complete moron - and messrs Hoon and Rumsfeld - would expect different.

Once you have to add-on a whole pile of armour the mobility disappears and the result is never as good as a vehicle with that level of protection designed in. Stryker's slat armour is a good example. The mesh stops RPG's (usually) from penetrating the armoured compartment but it doesn't stop the bits from a premature detonation from carrying on to hit anyone topside. The extra weight then gives you rollover, speed, fuel consumption and axle/tyre wear problems. Just dump half a ton of sand in the boot of your car to get a feel for the issues.

But none of this should come as a surprise. Apart (seemingly) from the US, no other country is daft enough to think that this class of vehicle is remotely suitable for the urban direct fire battle. The Israelis and Russians lean very firmly towards a tank chassis for this sort of work.
Its still better than snatch saxon or a wolf which are being exposed to exactly same threat . Warrior and challenger are great but take weeks to get
any where near a battle field. wmik can travel in the back of the c130 looks cool but has no armour so even a mob throwing stones is a problem
(as crowd control with a gpmg is frowned on :( ) There must be a 3rd option
Its still better than snatch saxon or a wolf which are being exposed to exactly same threat . Warrior and challenger are great but take weeks to get
any where near a battle field. wmik can travel in the back of the c130 looks cool but has no armour so even a mob throwing stones is a problem
(as crowd control with a gpmg is frowned on :( ) There must be a 3rd option
Or they could buy the tank carrying airship I remeber from my
spotterish youth airship industries tried to sell it too mod guess it died
due to budget.
"Ye canna change the laws of physics Captain" to quote Mr Scott. Protection is heavy. Turn up early or turn up in armour, choose one or the other. And if neither achieves the mission then face facts and buy lots more airlift. But I digress.

If you're in a convertible (what is the proper military term ?) the you can see what's going on and bale out quickly. If you're under armour you can survive a lot. The worst choice of all is a hardtop soft skinned vehicle - no protection, no vision and no way to bale out over the side. Now, what are we in again ?

In reality you need to deploy in both. Light vehicles to drive around in and wave at the locals, heavy waiting to crush anyone who kicks off into the ground.
April 11, 2005

Stryker upgrades aimed at mobility, lethality
Report cites concerns from 1st combat tour

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

After serving more than a year in Iraq, the Army’s Stryker vehicle is in need of upgrades, according to a report from the Center for Army Lessons Learned.

Several key systems on the eight-wheeled armored vehicle are being redesigned to give future Strykers better mobility, increased protection and greater killing power, officials said.

The changes stem from soldier complaints outlined in “Initial Impressions Report-Operations in Mosul, Iraq,” which focused on the performance of the Army’s first Stryker brigade during its maiden combat tour in Iraq.

The confidential report recommends a number of solutions to problems ranging from armor shortcomings to tire inflation problems.

By 2007, according to the report, Stryker brigades will be able to shoot on the move with greater accuracy day and night. They’ll also have armored shields protecting vulnerable hatches on several variants and an improved tire inflation system that can better handle the vehicle’s weight in combat.

The Center for Army Lessons Learned routinely conducts systematic reports to assess how units and systems can be improved to better meet soldiers’ needs.

Army officials on the Stryker program, however, point out that the improvements were in the works long before the report was completed in December, a couple months after 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (SBCT), had come home from its yearlong tour to Fort Lewis, Wash.

“There wasn’t a single surprise in there; in every case, they are being worked,” said Steven Campbell, Stryker systems coordinator for the assistant Army secretary for acquisitions, logistics and technology.

Campbell and other officials said the problems outlined in the report have come up during the constant dialogue they keep with Stryker brigade leaders throughout each deployment. “Brigade commanders aren’t shy — if he’s got a problem, he’s going to let the world know about it,” Campbell said.

Stryker brigades began in late 1999, when then-Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki set out to create highly mobile combat brigades equipped with armor and firepower. The brigades serve as the model for the Army’s Transformation effort to create a lighter, more agile Future Force.

Within months of Shinseki’s announcement, the first Stryker brigade, 3-2, was put through a stringent training and evaluation schedule, filled with back-to-back live-fire and force-on-force operations. After testing numerous vehicles, the Army selected a version of the 8-by-8 wheeled Light Armored Vehicle-3 in November 2000 to become the new Stryker combat vehicle.

Stryker carries a full nine-man squad and a two-man crew, comes equipped with armor designed to protect against 14.5mm projectiles and can deploy on C-130 transport aircraft.

Since then, the Army has fielded and deployed two of the seven Stryker brigades it plans to field by summer of 2008. With each brigade taking with it more than 300 vehicles, those seven brigades cost the Army an estimated $7.6 billion.

The Army’s second Stryker brigade, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (SBCT), completed its certification in May and relieved 3-2 in Iraq last fall.

No one in 3-2 has said the Stryker couldn’t be improved, but soldiers in every rank, from colonel down to private, have praised the vehicle during numerous interviews with Army Times in Iraq, describing it as the only vehicle they would want to take into combat.

Slat armor criticized

One of the major criticisms in the report deals with Slat armor, the cagelike system intended as an interim solution to protect against rocket-propelled grenade threats until the Army perfects the special add-on armor package designed for Stryker and slated for fielding to the fourth Stryker brigade.

In addition to being too heavy and interfering with certain Stryker features, the report said the Slat armor performance “is less than expected against certain types of rocket-propelled grenades.” Slat armor cannot defeat the penetrator on the warhead of an anti-tank RPG in most cases, according to the report.

Soldiers operating out of the four hatches atop the Stryker are also vulnerable to anti-personnel RPGs, the report states.

Stryker program officials say Slat armor, overall, has been highly effective against threats in Iraq.

Out of the 345 documented hostile acts against Stryker vehicles and their crews in Iraq to date, there have been 17 deaths, said Lt. Col. Perry Caskey, a Stryker systems officer in the Army G-8.

Two of those deaths were caused from shrapnel hitting the soldiers out of the hatches and one from a 190-pound improvised explosive device exploding underneath a Stryker. The details surrounding the other 14 combat-related deaths were not available, Caskey said.

Of the 345 attacks, 168 of them were from IEDs and 58 were from RPGs, Caskey said.

More than 90 other attacks included everything from mortars to grenades, he said.

These attacks have resulted in 28 “vehicle losses,” said Caskey, who explained that a loss is any vehicle that cannot be repaired in theater within 30 days. Nineteen of the 28 are repairable, Caskey said. Four are still being evaluated, and five have been labeled total losses.

“If you look at the report, it sounds like Slat armor is a dog, but you talk to the soldiers, and they love it,” Campbell said.

Despite the report’s criticisms, it recommends to continue fielding Slat armor on all Stryker variants. But Stryker officials also say improvements are in the works that will supplement Slat armor’s effectiveness and help make the Stryker more mobile under the weight of the additional armor.

They are developing a ballistic shield to protect soldiers who must stand up, partially exposed in the Stryker’s top hatches, Campbell said, adding that the shield is being considered for several variants.

The shield is designed to replace the practice of placing sandbags and other makeshift protection around the hatches.

“We are trying to take advantage of better technology to do more than just sandbags,” said Campbell, adding that the hatch shields should first appear on the fourth Stryker brigade slated to be certified in December 2006.

Maintaining the correct tire pressure under the increased weight of the Slat armor has been another challenge for soldiers in Iraq, according to the report.

The Slat armor adds about 5,000 pounds to the Stryker, requiring the tire pressure to be at 95 pounds per square inch for most short missions. The Central Tire Inflation System was designed to keep tire pressure at a maximum of 87 psi, so soldiers have to increase the pressure to 95 psi with an air hose.

Soldiers also have to check the tire pressure several times a day because it tends to vary between 75 psi and 110 psi, the report states.

Stryker program officials contend that they knew that tire pressure would have to be increased manually when they issued the Slat armor, but there was no time to develop an improved tire inflation system before 3-2 deployed to Iraq, Campbell said.

An improved inflation system is slated to be fielded with the fourth Stryker brigade.

Another criticism in the report that Stryker program officials have given a high priority is upgrading the Remote Weapon Station to make it capable of shooting on the move and to improve its effectiveness at night.

The Stryker is equipped with either an M2 .50-caliber machine gun or MK19 automatic grenade launcher. The Remote Weapon Station is designed to let the gunner sight in on a target and fire from inside the Stryker.

The system was not originally designed with a stabilized, shoot-on-the-move capability because there was no requirement at the time, Campbell said. Combat operations in Iraq have prompted the Army to replace that with a stabilized version, so Stryker crews will be able to engage targets accurately while moving up to 25 mph, he said.

Program officials also are redesigning the Remote Weapon Station’s targeting system to make it more effective at night. That will include an infrared system to help the gunner work with squads using infrared pointers and floodlights to identify targets for the RWS. In addition, the improved system would be able to zoom in on targets more effectively.

Campbell said that the goal is to have the changes to the weapon station in place when the fifth Stryker brigade is certified in May 2007.

Air conditioning recommended

The report included several other recommendations for improvements, such as adding air-conditioning to keep the computers loaded with Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below from overheating in temperatures that can reach 130 degrees.

Program officials said they are considering anything that will make Stryker more effective in combat, but some recommendations won’t receive as much priority as others, Campbell said.

Certain Stryker variants, such as the medical evacuation vehicle, need air conditioning, but it may be some time before other Stryker variants receive it.

“If it is 130 degrees outside, it doesn’t matter which vehicle you have. Things are going to operate a little slow,” Campbell said. “The issue is priority. What is more important? ... It’s on the table but not a top priority.”

Campbell went on to say that the M1 Abrams tank is 30 years old, and the Army is still improving on the design.

“There is never going to be a perfect organization or system out there,” he said.

“The goal is to continue to improve over time,” Campbell said.


Kit Reviewer
There is a movement to replace stryker in the 'front line' with the old M113 Gavin APC, which is truly C130 portable (<14 tonnes), Chinook underslingable, has better tactical mobility and better intrinsic protection (and can be easily uparmoured with slightly modified Gen. 1 Bradley applique armour). All at a cost of thousands (thousands of them sat in hangars already) rather than millions.
There are those in and out of the army that do favor an upgraded M-113, but its not going to happen. The Stryker warts and all are here to stay.
napier said:
There is a movement to replace stryker in the 'front line' with the old M113 Gavin APC, which is truly C130 portable (<14 tonnes), Chinook underslingable, has better tactical mobility and better intrinsic protection (and can be easily uparmoured with slightly modified Gen. 1 Bradley applique armour). All at a cost of thousands (thousands of them sat in hangars already) rather than millions.
Looks like you've been reading Mike Sparks' website - bit of a loon (seriously, that man has a huge chip on his shoulder), and the only person to ever refer to the M113 as the "Gavin". Referring to himself as the "1st Airborne Advisory superduper Tactical Advisory Group" or somesuch is a hint :roll:

...saw an article by him on how wonderful it would be to paradrop mountain bikes with the troops, and how much more mobile the US Paras would be as a result......
Please all remember that Styker was purchased to equip the Interim Brigade Combat Teams before the introduction of FCS.

Styker's in-service life is therefore very limited.

Compare this to the UK's Interim Medium capability, CVR and Saxon, and I'd tell you where I'll rather be.
oh does that mean I will be able to buy one surplus soon . Want one because project x wouldnt let me join with a war stock saxon said it wasent wary enough even though i painted it black :)

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