Since they run on rubber tires, not metal tracks, the Strykers are a lot quieter, and faster. This has proven scary for hostile Iraqis, and very useful for American troops out on night operations. U.S. soldiers prefer to operate at night, mainly because of very effective night vision devices, because it’s cooler, and the very quiet Strykers allow American troops to literally sneak up on the enemy.
This isn’t a surprise. This is one of the reasons long pointed out by Stryker supporters during the long tires-vs-tracks debate. There are certainly many disadvantages with tires in some cases, but that goes both ways. Given the environment that the Stryker was designed for, tires seem to be doing the trick. One thing that track people like to bring up is non-metal tracks like you see on some farm equipment. I’m more than a bit skeptical about using them in a combat environment, but I think they should be seriously looked at.
The Strykers have another advantage, which has little to do with the vehicle itself. The Stryker brigades are being used to try out new communications gear, and some new weapons. The Stryker troops like this, because the new stuff works. As a result, communications between the Stryker vehicles is better than in other units.
This argument, of course, would also apply to M113-equipped troops if they were given the same communications gear and other gadgets that the Strykers have. But all that gear usually isn’t included in the dollar amounts given by M113 fans when they point out how much cheaper an M113 is.
Despite criticism that the Stryker would be vulnerable in combat, quite the opposite has been the result. RPGs have done little damage, and one Stryker survived a 500 pound roadside bomb. The vehicle flipped and slid 30 feet, but the crew was unhurt and the vehicle could still move under its own power once it was upright again. There’s nothing troops like more than equipment that leads to successful operations, and keeps them alive. So far, the Stryker is working in both departments.
For a pic of the Stryker that survived the 500-lb bomb blast, check here. You’ll see that “survived” may be technically accurate, but the vehicle is certainly totaled. Even though it “could move under it’s own power”, you can see what appears to be some sort of recovery vehicle in front of the Stryker, indicating that it was probably towed back to base after the hit. But the men made it through okay, and that’s what matters.
It’s an Anti-Tank Guided Missile model of the Stryker. You can see the twin TOW missile launcher raised. I simply point it out because I believe this is the first pic of one in Iraq that I’ve come across.