Todd at Stryker Brigade News sent me a link to a page with some photos of an experimental 105mm howitzer-equipped Stryker. Not the Mobile Gun System, which is armed with a 105mm tank gun, but a indirect-fire artillery system.
The only reference I could find to this beast, which is apparently a pet project of General Dynamics Land Systems, notes that GDLS developed a 105mm howitzer system compatible with its Stryker LAVs in response to United Defense LP, which put a 120mm howitzer onto one of its XM8 Armored Gun System prototypes recently.
In what appears to be a tit-for-tat move, General Dynamics unveiled its own concept for a 20-ton 105 mm howitzer, which would be compatible with the Stryker family. Company officials said the Army has not yet settled on whether the FCS howitzer will be 105 mm or 155 mm, even though UDLP is developing a 155 mm non-line-of-sight cannon for FCS.
As far as FCS requirements are concerned, the Army has been “really vague,” said Dean Lockwood, combat vehicles analyst at Forecast International, a market research firm. For that reason, “contractors are showing what is possible and what is not.”
As far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing. Although this system may have a place in the Stryker Brigades, where the maintenance and general familiarity with the Stryker platform already exist, it doesn’t really seem to address the wants and needs of the Airborne and other lightfighter types looking for mobile firepower. This Stryker solution almost certainly won’t be air-droppable, and although tires do have some advantages over tracks, the lessened cross-country mobility will not help its chances in other circles.
It’s hard to tell from these pics if the howitzer is able to traverse. Given the stability problems that are plaguing the Stryker MGS, I’d be surprised if it moved more than a few degrees in either direction. We’ll see.
Go check the pictures out. They’ve got larger versions in their gallery. Good stuff.
I’m also sure I will hear all about how there are at least seven versions of the M113 that are more than twice as good as this. Let me know.
If anyone has more info or links on this system, by all means pass them on. (And an 8-wheeled, 20-ton, slat armor-protected Hat Tip to Todd at Stryker Brigade News!)
UPDATE: Here’s a Free Republic thread about this. MO is mentioned and quoted. Does that make me more “legit”? Less?