This could potentially be big for the future of the Stryker program. If it’s not too late, that is.
Tomorrow Israel will receive three Stryker prototypes to test. If pleased with the results, they may purchase hundreds of the 8-wheeled light armored vehicles.
Toward the middle of 2005, the U.S.-built vehicles will be outfitted with locally developed armor and weapon stations geared toward possible Israeli-specific Stryker missions. Prototype testing of the locally enhanced Strykers is expected to continue through the end of 2005, and could include up to eight different variants of the Stryker, including a version for paratrooper insertion and special operations; an engineering version to detect mines and explosive devices; an anti-tank combat variant; and a version for medical and search-and-rescue operations.
Amos Yaron, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, said the Stryker technology demonstration program will allow Israeli decision-makers to determine how the U.S.-built Stryker can best meet Israeli military requirements. “We anticipate tremendous benefits from this system, especially once it is equipped with Israeli systems and technologies,” Yaron told DefenseNews.com.
If anyone can answer today the questions concerning the Strykers applicability to the Global War On Terror (World War 4), the Israelis should be able to. My question is why are they testing them now, after two American brigades have already transitioned and a third is getting ready to follow suit. Why didn’t this happen in 2000 or 2001, before the final commitment was made?
And as for local Israeli-produced components, we should watch carefully. I imagine that lot of the reasons for using locally-built parts are based on supporting local manufacturers, but I’ll bet the Israelis choose a stabilized weapons mount so the Strykers can fire accurately while on the move. I hope we’re watching carefully what they change and consider it for our use, as well.
Wasn’t Israel’s criticism of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle a major reason why the corruption of our original plans for that vehicle was uncovered? If I recall correctly, they were unhappy with the armor especially, and we eventually changed our plans when our design was proven to be inadequate. Or am I just putting too much stock into the Pentagon Wars legend?
In any event, I hope the IDF’s plans to buy Strykers, if it goes through, doesn’t end up being another give-away on our part.