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The IAV Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled, 4+4-wheel-drive, armored combat vehicles produced by General Dynamics Land Systems, in use by the United States Army. The armored vehicle is based on the Canadian LAV III light-armored vehicle, which in turn was based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha III 8x8. The Stryker is the U.S. Army's first new armored vehicle since the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the 1980s.
The Stryker was championed by General Eric Shinseki when he was U.S. Army Chief of Staff. The vehicle is employed in Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, light and mobile units based on the Brigade Combat Team Doctrine that relies on vehicles connected by military C4I networks.
Pneumatic or hydraulic systems drive almost all of the vehicle's mechanical features; for example, a pneumatic system switches between 8X4 and 8X8 drive.
The vehicle comes in several variants with a common engine, transmission, hydraulics, wheels, tires, differentials and transfer case. The M1130 Command Vehicle and M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle have an air conditioning unit mounted on the back. The medical vehicle also has a higher-capacity generator. A recent upgrade program provided a field retrofit kit to add air conditioning units to all variants, and production started in 2005 of the Mobile Gun System mounting an overhead GDLS 105 mm automatic gun.
Power pack and mechanical features
For its power pack the Stryker uses a Caterpillar diesel engine common in U.S. Army medium-lift trucks, eliminating extensive retraining of maintenance crews and allowing the use of common parts.
Designers strove to ease the maintainer's job, equipping most cables, hoses, and mechanical systems with quick-disconnecting mechanisms. The engine and transmission can be removed and reinstalled in approximately two hours, allowing repairs to the turbocharger and many other components to be done outside the vehicle.
Because of obsolescence concerns, the Caterpillar 3126 engine was recently replaced by a Caterpillar C7 engine. The C7 shares a common engine block with the 3126.
Command, control, and targeting
- Extensive computer support helps soldiers fight the enemy while reducing friendly fire incidents. Each vehicle can track friendly vehicles in the field as well as detected enemies.
- A day-night thermal imaging camera allows the vehicle commander to see what the driver sees.
- Soldiers can practice training with the vehicles from computer training modules inside the vehicle.
- The driver and the vehicle commander (who also serves as the gunner) have periscopes that allow them to see outside the vehicle without exposing themselves to outside dangers. The vehicle commander has almost a 360-degree field of vision; the driver, a little more than 90 degrees.
- General Dynamics Land Systems is developing a new Power and Data Management Architecture to handle computer upgrades.
- The armor suite has been made thicker than the MOWAG design to stop 14.5 mm armor-piercing machine-gun rounds and artillery fragments.
- The automatic fire extinguishing system has sensors in the engine and troop compartments that activate one or more halon fire bottles, which can also be activated by the driver.
- "Catchers' mask"-style deflectors known as slat armor detonate explosive rounds at some distance from the hull. This type of armor is cheaper and lighter than spaced appliqué-plate or reactive armor.
- The fuel tanks are externally mounted and designed to blow away from the hull in the event of explosion.
- The CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Warfare system keeps the crew compartment airtight and positively pressurized.
- There are plans to add the Boomerang anti-sniper system and Raytheon Quick Kill anti-RPG system.
U.S. Army and Indian Army
troops with Stryker IFV during a bilateral training exercise
- The vehicle can alter the pressure in all eight tires to suit terrain conditions: highway, cross-country, mud/sand/snow, and emergency. The system warns the driver if the vehicle exceeds the recommended speed for its tire pressure, then automatically inflates the tires to the next higher pressure setting. The system can also warn the driver of a flat tire, although the Stryker is equipped with run-flat tire inserts that also serve as bead-locks, allowing the vehicle to move several miles before the tire completely deteriorates.
- In August 2004, the US Air Force successfully air dropped an up-weighted Stryker Engineering Support Vehicle from a C-17. This test was to determine the feasibility of air dropping a Stryker MGS. Even though this test was a success, none of the Stryker variants have been certified for airdrop.
- The Stryker is too heavy (19–26 tons, depending on variant and add-on features) to be lifted by existing helicopters.
The unit cost to purchase the initial Stryker ICVs (without add-ons, including the cage armor) was US$3 million in April 2002. By May 2003, the regular production cost per vehicle was US$1.42 million.
LAV-H Stryker upgrade
The US Army plans to improve its fleet of Stryker vehicles with the introduction of improved semi-active suspension, modifications reshaping the hull into a shallow V-shaped structure, additional armor for the sides, redesigned hatches to minimize gaps in the armor, blast absorbing mine resistant seats (or BENCHES), non-flammable tires, an upgrade to the remote weapon station that allows it to fire on the go, increased 500 amp power generation, a new solid state power distribution system and data bus, and the automotive and power plant systems improvements to support a 25% Gross Vehicle Weight increase. The upgraded V-hull will be part of the new StrykShield situational awareness kit, which will address many of these upgrades. Allegheny Technologies' ATI 500-MIL armor steel was designated the primary armored plating for the StrykShield package in 2008.
The upgrade incorporating lessons learned from Afghanistan is designated LAV-H and General Dynamics had a technology demonstrator displayed at the 2007 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Exposition. In March 2010, General Dynamics and Army is working to incorporate the V-hull into the Stryker design and as an add-on kit.
Comparison with contemporary vehicles
Below is a comparison of some modern APC's and IFV's including the Stryker:
|| USMC LAV-25
|| Stryker ICV
||18.3 t (20.2 short tons)
||26 t (29 short tons)
||12.8 t (14.1 short tons)
||16.47 t (18.16 short tons)
||20.9 t (23.0 short tons)
||25 t (28 short tons)
||Up to three 7.62 mm (0.300 in) Rheinmetall MG3 machine guns
||25 mm (0.98 in) NATO dual feed cannon
||25 mm (0.98 in) M242 chain gun
||0.50 in (13 mm) M2 Browning machine gun
||30 mm (1.2 in) 2A42 automatic cannon
||25 mm (0.98 in) M242 chain gun, 105mm stabilised turret or RWS
||7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun
||7.62 mm (0.300 in) M240 machine gun x2
||7.62 mm (0.300 in) PKT machine gun, 30 mm automatic grenade launcher
||40 mm (1.6 in) 40mm AGL, 7.62 mm GPMG (twin-weapon RWS)
|Missile armament (Range)
||MILAN (400-2000 meters)
||AT-5 Spandrel (700-4000 meters)
||SPIKE (4000 meters)
||800 km (500 mi)
||750 km (470 mi)
||660 km (410 mi)
||500 km (310 mi)
||800 km (500 mi)
||800 km (500 mi)
|Maximum speed (on road)
||96 km/h (60 mph)
||100 km/h (62 mph)
||100 km/h (62 mph)
||100 km/h (62 mph)
||110 km/h (68 mph)
||110 km/h (68 mph)
||2 crew + 10 passengers
||2 crew + 9 passengers
||3 crew + 6 passengers
||2 crew + 9 passengers
||3 crew + 9 passengers
||2 crew + 12 passengers
The Stryker family of vehicles fill a role in the United States Army that is neither heavy nor light, but rather an attempt to create a force that can move infantry to the battlefield quickly and in relative security. Brigades that have been converted to Strykers have primarily been light, or, in the case of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, unarmored HMMWV-based cavalry scouts. For these units, the addition of Strykers has increased combat power by providing armor protection, a vehicle-borne weapon system to support each dismounted squad (a Protector M151 Remote Weapon Station with .50-cal or Mk-19), and the speed and range to conduct missions far from the operating base.
Stryker units seem to be especially effective in urban areas, where vehicles can establish initial security positions near a building and dismount squads on a doorstep.
The Stryker relies on its speed and communications for the majority of its defense against heavy weapon systems. It is not capable of engaging heavily armored units, relying on communication and other units to control threats outside of its classification. One variant is armed with anti-tank missiles.
However, at the National Training Center (Fort Irwin California) 3rd Brigade 2nd ID proved that, through the use of unconventional tactics and small dismounted teams armed with anti-armor weaponry, a Stryker unit could hold its own against a conventional armored unit, should the need arise. This situation is something that commanders would most likely avoid due to a higher casualty rate.
Brigades equipped with the Stryker are intended to be strategically mobile (i.e., capable of being rapidly deployed over long distances). As such, the Stryker was intentionally designed with a lower level of protection compared to tracked vehicles like the M2 Bradley, but with much lower logistic requirements.
The vehicle is named for two American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor: Pfc Stuart S. Stryker, who died in World War II and Spc4 Robert F. Stryker, who died in the Vietnam War.
The Stryker MGS moved into low-rate initial production in 2005 for evaluation, and entered full production in 2007.
Currently the Stryker is in the research and development phase of being converted to a vehicle capable of Autonomous Navigation. TARDEC has also tested an active Magneto Rheological suspension, developed by MillenWorks for the Stryker, at the Yuma Proving Ground, which resulted in greater vehicle stability.
M1126 Stryker ICV on patrol near Mosul
Iraq War, 2003-present:
- The first Stryker brigades were deployed to Iraq in October 2003. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis was the first to field and deploy the Stryker vehicle to combat in Iraq from Nov 2003 to Nov 2004.
- 3rd Brigade was relieved by 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (SBCT). 1st Brigade served in Iraq from October 2004 to October 2005. Units from this Brigade participated in the Battle of Mosul (2004) and were responsible for the first successful elections in January 2005. The Brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for their tour in Iraq.
- The 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fairbanks, Alaska's Fort Wainwright began its initial deployment in August 2005 to Summer 2006. Their stay was subsequently extended for up to four months and they were reassigned to Baghdad. The Brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for their tour in Iraq.
- The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division re-deployed to Iraq late Spring of 2006 and returned home in September 2007. Like its sister brigades it too was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for operations in Baqubah, Iraq.
- As part of a three way move, upon redeployment from Iraq, the 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment both cased their colors. The former 1st SBCT, 25th ID was redesignated as the new 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany and the former 2nd ACR was redesignated as the new 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. During the same period of time, upon redeployment from Iraq, the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was deactivated and reactivated as the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
- In May 2007, the 4th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division deployed as part of the "surge" in Iraq. This deployment marked the first time the Stryker Mobile Gun System was deployed in Iraq. Also, the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (MANCHU), deployed Land Warrior for the first time in combat.
- In August 2007 the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment deployed to Baghdad for a 15-month tour, relieving 3rd BDE, 2ID.
- In December 2007 the 2nd Brigade 25th Infantry division deployed to Iraq.
- In September 2008, 1-25th Infantry based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska was deployed to Iraq.
- In January 2009, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, was deployed to Iraq. The 56th SBCT is the only National Guard unit in the U.S. Army to field Strykers.
War in Afghanistan (2001-present):
- The 5th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division was the first Stryker unit sent to Afghanistan, deployed in summer 2009 as part of a troop level increase. The brigade's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment has suffered the heaviest losses of any Stryker battalion to date.
It is the U.S. Army's intention that task specific variants of the M113 APC (such as mortar or fire support) be replaced by Stryker, MRAP, and M2 IFV/M3 CFV vehicles starting in 2017.
A: M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle, B: M1130 Command Vehicle, C: M1128 Mobile Gun System, D: M1131 Fire Support Vehicle, E: M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle, F: M1129 Mortar Carrier, G: M1132 Engineer Support Vehicle, H: M1134 Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle, I: M1135 Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Reconnaissance Vehicle, J: M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle
The Stryker chassis' modular design supports a wide range of variants. The main chassis is the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). Additionally, there is the M1128 Mobile Gun System (MGS), a heavier chassis to support a variant of the 105 mm M68A1 rifled cannon (M68A1E4), a lightweight version of the gun system used on the original M1 Abrams main battle tanks and the M60 Patton main battle tank. The M68A1E4 also features a muzzle brake to assist with recoil and an autoloader, a rare feature on US tank guns. There have been no proposals yet for an Air Defense variant along the lines of LAV-25 LAV-AD Blazer turret, M6 Linebacker or AN/TWQ-1 Avenger vehicles.
The Stryker vehicles have the following configurations:
- M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) : Armored personnel carrier provides protected transport for 2 crew and 9 man infantry squad, and supports dismounted infantry. Weighs 19 tons, communications include text and a map network between vehicles. It can be armed with M2 0.50 machine gun, MK19 40 mm grenade launcher or M240 7.62 mm machine gun.
- M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle (RV)used by RSTA Squadrons and battalion scouts, moving throughout the battlefield to gather and transmit real time intelligence/surveillance for situational awareness. The RV's purpose is to anticipate and avert threats, improving the brigade's decisiveness and freedom of manoeuvre.
- M1128 Mobile Gun System (MGS) armed with an M68A1E4 105mm muzzle braked overhead gun (instead of turret), an M2 0.50 calibre commander's machine gun and two M6 smoke grenade launchers. The main gun provides direct fires in support of infantry, engaging stationary and mobile enemy targets such as bunkers etc to create a combined arms effect of overmatched firepower that improves survivability of the combat team. The MGS can fire 18 rounds of 105mm shells, 400 rounds of 0.50 calibre and 3,400 rounds of 7.62mm, and has the same C4ISR communications and driver's vision as the ICV. The MGS vehicle is a strengthened variant of the LAV III compared to the standard variant other Stryker vehicles are based on, but retains commonality across all vehicles in the family.
- M1129 Mortar Carrier (MC) armed with Soltam 120 mm or 81 mm Mortar
- M1130 Command Vehicle (CV) provides commanders with communication, data, and control functions to analyse and prepare information for combat missions; can also link to aircraft antenna/power for planning missions while enroute aboard aircraft. Situational awareness helps commanders to coordinate widely dispersed mobile units against decisive enemy points. Deployed as 3 vehicles per brigade HQ, 2 per battalion HQ and 2 per infantry company.
- M1131 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) is organic to maneuver companies and provides surveillance and communications (4 secure combat radio nets), with target acquisition/identification/tracking/designation being transmitted automatically to the shooting units.
- M1132 Engineer Support Vehicle (ESV)
- M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle (MEV)
- M1134 Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle (ATGM) is armed with TOW missile.
- M1135 Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBC RV)
- Mxxxx Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) This was a prototype vehicle with turret and ammunition developed by Denel Land Systems. Work stopped after the successful Nov. 2005 demonstration of the prototype.
- U.S. Army - Seven Stryker Brigades were initially formed. 2,988 vehicles have been delivered as of 2009: In 2009, it was announced that two Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (equipped with M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys) will be converted to Stryker Brigade Combat Teams by 2013. This will bring the total number of Stryker Brigades to nine.
- 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division - final Stryker Brigade formed, formerly 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
- 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division - first Stryker Brigade formed
- 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division - fourth Brigade formed, reflagged from 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
- 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, fifth Stryker Brigade;
- 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment was the second Stryker unit formed reflagged from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Although they are not officially labeled as a Brigade Combat Team because of their unique Cavalry Regiment force structure they are effectively an independent unit parallel to the regular BCTs.
- 172nd Infantry Brigade; - third Stryker Brigade formed, reflagged as the current 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
- 56th Stryker Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard (the only National Guard unit to field them).
- 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division will begin to convert to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2011.
- 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment will begin to convert to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2012.
- Canadian Forces
- Canada originally purchased 66 Stryker Mobile Gun System vehicles in 2003, which were expected to arrive in 2010. However, in 2006 the Canadian Forces asked its government to cancel the MGS acquisition. The MGS was originally intended to be used in the "Direct Fire Unit" which will include Tow Under Armour (LAV III) and MMEV (ADATS on LAVIII). The MGS was originally intended to provide the direct gun fire capabilities of the retiring Leopard I tanks. However, with the recent demonstrated usefulness of tanks in Iraq and hurried deployment of Canadian Leopard 1 tanks to Afghanistan, combined with political changes in Canada and the Canadian Military, the purchase of more modern tanks occurred with the announcement of the purchase of surplus Leopard 2s from the Netherlands. The MMEV project has also since been canceled, and the TUA requirement cut in half.
- 33 surplus LAV TUA hulls will be converted into LAV ISC (Infantry Section Carrier), fitted with Nanuk RWS and similar to the M1126 ICV.
- Iraq has requested 400 in a 2008 Foreign Military Sale.
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Official U.S. Army websites