The Army is going to up-armor some additional M113 armored personnel carriers to be used in Iraq.
These vehicles, both veteran warhorses, are the M113/A3 armored personnel carrier and the M577 command post carrier. Both will be tougher and safer than newly armored Humvees.
Army officials who pushed hard over the last two years for getting the M113 into duty in Iraq said it was more useful, cheaper and easier to transport than the Army’s new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle, which also is in use in Iraq.
The Army and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found themselves at the center of a firestorm last month over the pace of adding armor to the Humvee, a small transport vehicle that’s been pressed into service in Iraq as a combat vehicle. Critics have charged that even with armor the Humvee is too easily destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
An Army representative, who didn’t want to be identified, said Monday that $84 million was being spent to add armor to 734 M113/A3s and M577s.
This comes out to about $114,000 per vehicle. That’s pretty cheap, but remember that it’s to UPGRADE exisitng used vehicles, not to purchase new ones. Still, seems like a pretty good deal.
The US Army will be relieved to know that Murdoc Online fully endorses this move. In fact, back in April I wrote
Between the shortage of armored vehicles to face the recent insurgency and the fact that the Humvees that have had armor added are breaking down too frequently, maybe we could use some of those M113s we keep hearing about? The anti-Stryker folks are happy to point out that we’ve got tons of the things sitting around unused. Maybe we could use some of them for patrols in tough areas, at least until armored Humvee production catches up with the requirements. Most soldiers must have at least a passing familiarity with the M113, so I think it would be able to be fielded rather quickly. Sure, the armor isn’t what we’d like, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a Humvee.
Of course, M113 success in Iraq might make the expensive Stryker look bad. By all accounts the Stryker is performing very well, though, and I’ve said before that there’s room in this Army for both.
We need M113s. We need Strykers. We need up-armored Humvees. We need unarmored Humvees.
The mission and the environment will determine which vehicle or vehicles should be used.
Also, the San Jose Mercury News article I link to includes a pic of an M113 with a big turret and a main gun. That’s NOT what we’re talking about here. A propoganda victory for the anti-Stryker crowd?