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Stryker:The Mighty V!

June 10, 2010

The Stryker IAV is already pretty survivable. It is getting better.

Solomon at SNAFU Blog writes concerning the Army’s plans for a future Ground Combat Vehicles:

This is more proof that the Stryker concept is dead.

Except when it’s not. Strategypage details something New Wars reported on earlier, an off-the-shelf update that will make the 10-yr old Stryker “interim” armored vehicle a force to be reckoned with continually on the battlefield:

The U.S. Army has ordered 14 Stryker Double-V Hull prototypes. These will cost about $2.1 million each. This new design is intended to improve resistance to mines (more common in Afghanistan than Iraq) by adding a V shaped bottom. This is one of the key elements of the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) design. The current plan is to eventually modify a hundred or so Strykers with the V shape hull, ship them off to Afghanistan as soon as possible, and see if it makes a significant difference in lowering troops casualties.

The price will double, plus about a ton of weight will be added, along with about 100 extra horsepower. Many of the add-ons learned from years of experience in Iraq and Afghanistan will be incorporated into the new-builds.

In contrast, New Wars has likened the future GCV as the Army’s Next Procurement Disaster, and if history is any guide, recalling the mercifully canceled  $160 billion Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, this is a near-certainty. The R&D allocated just to research the vehicle, $934 million, easily dwarfs the $58 million used to study the V-shaped Stryker concept. Even the total modifications costs is less than this price at $800 million.

Here is a proven weapon ready to go, whose enemy nowhere matches the 1990s tech of the Stryker, so there is no need for a replacement, an upgrade being more than adequate and ready now for today’s wars and future ones too. Not to say there isn’t a Stryker replacement out there somewhere, only the GCV isn’t it. To think of the precious funding already wasted on this future canceled Pentagon Pork Project is heart-breaking.


16 Comments leave one →
  1. michael permalink
    June 13, 2010 12:08 pm

    Yes, Boxer and VCBI both of which were eliminated by the UK during the assessment phase for a FRES 8×8.
    Then again one never knows how the minds of these procurement people work,as initially the UK was a partner in the Boxer venture and then decided against proceeding and pulled out of the venture.
    Which begs the question as to why it was then later short listed in the first place.
    As for giving reasons such as Stryker being capable of a long road march and not tearing up roads, surely the major reason for having a tracked vehicle is that it is more suitable for off road ops therefore less vulnerable to IED’s.
    As the first variants of FRES will be the recce version presumably it will be expected to spend a majority of its time off road.
    I quite agree that it would be ideal to have a mixed track and 8×8 force to field and the only way I can see this ever happening is if the Warrior upgrade is scrapped.
    The cash for that could then be used to at least start the procurement of and 8×8, unfortunately in the UK money saved on one project never seems to be reinvested so in actuall fact it turns out to be another programme that is cut.
    At the moment everything is in limbo and everyone in the defence sector are waiting for the outcome of the SDR,which is due in November and for good or bad at least we should know? what the future holds.
    Unless of course it is another expensive fudge and compromise.

  2. B.Smitty permalink
    June 12, 2010 10:48 am

    European nations are buying 8x8s too, not just tracked vehicles. Germany has Boxer. France has VCBI.

    They each have benefits and drawbacks. One isn’t categorically better than the other. Stryker gets 6 mpg to Ascod’s 2 mpg. Stryker can make a long road march without breaking down, tearing up the roads, or requiring extensive maintenance.

    Ascod carries weight better without reducing cross country mobility. This means more armor and heavier combat systems.

  3. michael permalink
    June 11, 2010 1:23 pm

    Why does it appear that the more forward looking country’s in Europe are then tending to favour the tracked option.
    Yes and I include Britain amongst them, the dispute over the intellectual rights to build Piranha and its subsequent disqualification from the UK’s FRES programme was a godsend.
    Although the decision to award GD the contract for a demonstrator vehicle based on Ascod raised some eyebrows I think it was the right one.
    This vehicle if GD come up with the goods, has far more capability and room for future upgrade than BAE’s CV90 offering.
    Yes it is far more expensive to procure and in todays financial climate that is restrictive, but if the UK government wishes to give our troops the best vehicle then I believe this is the one.
    For a country like the USA who can procure masses of vehicles of varying forms this may not be of consequence,but for a country with limited resources like the UK then we need the very best vehicle we can afford, be it in smaller numbers.
    We in the UK do not seem to have any cohesive policy in regards to these vehicles,rather we seem to have a knee jerk reaction to whatever threat is current.
    We are fielding vehicles that are absolutely unfit for purpose Vector,Jackal and Snatch and they are still out there.
    The only decent thing we have bought recently is from the USA Mastiff, the only vehicle the troops trust and willingly travel in.
    Stryker,ask the Canadians what the next vehicle they are looking at and it will not be an 8×8
    but rather I think something tracked.

  4. June 11, 2010 10:02 am

    Hi Mat

    I found it when I was looking into band tracks

    The whole wheels v tracks argument is a bit nonsensical really, they are complimentary and you make your choice accordingly.

    Another link to have a look at

  5. Distiller permalink
    June 11, 2010 2:49 am

    It’s just a funny looking truck that worked ok when it was 12 tonnes. Now it’s heading towards 25, and it didn’t work since it passed 18.

  6. MatR permalink
    June 10, 2010 8:16 pm

    @ ThinkDefence

    The Iveco Trakker Hovertrack is an interesting find in particular. How did you find out about that?

  7. MatR permalink
    June 10, 2010 8:13 pm

    @ tangosix – yerr, because the two programmes are sooo different… it’s like saying the Stryker has nowt to do with the MOWAG Piranha or the LAV III. They may weigh vastly different amounts and have different kit etc, but the systems and technology and ideas all progress from model to model. Pound to a penny will get you a GCV that carries over a world of content or ideas from the FCS manned ground vehicles. I don’t think anyone considers the GCV isn’t a ‘rightsizing’ of the FCS manned ground vehicles.

  8. June 10, 2010 4:24 pm

    Hello MatR,

    Ground Combat Vehicle is not in that video.
    It is a completely different programme which only started in 2009.
    That video you posted is a Future Combat Systems video dated 2006.
    The vehicles in it are Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles variants.
    Nobody even knows what it Ground Combat Vehicle is going to look like as it is currently in the earliest stages of project definition.


  9. June 10, 2010 3:42 pm


    The point is that after 10 years you’re looking at incremental upgrades. This is damn near a vehicle re-design.

    You’re changing the hull, adding weight, changing the suspension, upgrading the engine…that’s not an upgrade.

    That’s a darn new class of Stryker.

    Everyone lauds the vehicle’s network but that’s software…if you had money to waste you could jam that stuff into my truck.

    I agree to disagree with you but in my opinion the Stryker is a classic failure. Want even more proof of how right I am? The Brits are building a version of the ASCOD and are upgrading the Warrior.

    The days of wheeled vehicles dominating is over. Oh and as a gift I leave you with this prediction. The JLTV will not be procured and the Humvee will be upgraded. The reason? The JLTV was seen as a quasi combat vehicle. Iraq and Afghanistan proved how crazy that type thinking is.

  10. MatR permalink
    June 10, 2010 3:09 pm

    @ tangosix – watch for a few minutes, the GCV is the AFV that our heroes ride to battle in from about 3:30 onwards in the movie.

  11. Hudson permalink
    June 10, 2010 3:03 pm

    As I watched the video referenced by MatR (North Korea 2014), I began thinking about North Korea 1950: the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. Video gamer meets history. From the NY Post. I’ve read different figures for the forces, small matter. Above and beyond…

    This month marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, a three-year conflict that claimed 4 million lives, 36,000 of them American. It’s been dubbed “The Forgotten War” — US military historians focus more on Vietnam, World War II and even the Civil War. But one battle will never be forgotten: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign.

    In the winter of 1950, the 12,000 Marines and 3,000 soldiers of the 1st Marine Division were surrounded by 120,000 Chinese soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir. Trapped 78 miles behind enemy lines and battered by sub-zero temperatures, the American troops fought their way out, taking their dead and wounded with them.

    ‘Hold fast’ they did: Retired Marine Howard Mason (inset), showed how he chose to mark his experience in the Chosin campaign, as outnumbered Marines fought their way to the sea, then held on to save civilians.

    As the men reached the coastline, 98,000 civilians followed them, desperate to escape Communist rule in North Korea. The Marines, soldiers and sailors volunteered to stay for three more days, under fire, until all of the refugees were loaded onto ships and brought safely to South Korea.

    Seventeen Medals of Honor, 73 Navy Crosses and 23 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded, making Chosin one of the most decorated battles in American history.

    Read more:

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 10, 2010 1:41 pm

    Solomon wrote “Mike…tell me how this is a winning concept when during its first deployment it had to have slat armor applied to it.”

    Even the MBT’s have to have slat or cage armor applied to them, so I only see this on Strykers as logical. Perhaps more so, because the tanks already have heavy armor supposedly to protect it. But active and reactive armor to LAVs is logical concerning the missile threat against them.

    And 10 years, most of that in major combat before it needed major modifications? I call that a plus not a minus!

  13. June 10, 2010 1:31 pm

    Hello MatR,

    nice video but that is not Ground Combat Vehicle.
    It is a video of Future Combat Systems,the American equivalent of Britains equally badly thought out Future Rapid Effects System.
    Ground Combat Vehicle is the replacement for the Future Combat Systems vehicles.


  14. MatR permalink
    June 10, 2010 1:22 pm

    Mike, Mike, Mike. How can the Ground Combat Vehicle have been a waste of money when it produced such fantastic movies as *this* (‘North Korea 2014’) –

    I’d pay $934 mil for that movie alone. It could only have been improved if they’d got Steven Segal, but then it’d have cost a few million more.

  15. June 10, 2010 12:58 pm

    Mike…tell me how this is a winning concept when during its first deployment it had to have slat armor applied to it. During its first deployment to Afghanistan its been found to be vulnerable to roadside bombs and the network that it relies on to be the capable fighting vehicle that you love is degraded in primitive locales….

    Probably the most damning modification is that its having to be modified…it basic hull is being modified in order to keep it viable into the future and the 100hp upgrade will hardly allow it to keep up with tracked vehicles off road.

    If you’re fighting a war in a civilized country with plenty of pavement then a Stryker is great. If not then you’re screwed.

    Doesn’t that sound like planning for fighting wars that you want, not the wars you end up with?

    But the most damning thing of all is that the army is doing the GCV thing. If the Stryker is an Interim Fighting Vehicle and the GCV is the future then we can say with confidence that the wheeled craze is over. Thank God!

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