Styker Report

A major report on the Styker’s performance in Iraq has surfaced somehow. There are already several very critical stories out in the Legacy Media, but on the surface they appear to have been written either with sympathy to (or guidance from) the very vocal anti-Stryker crowd or maybe just following the rules of the “No Right Answer” game.

As far as Murdoc has been able to tell, the Stryker has been performing its mission effectively, though of course not perfectly. While a bit of a fan of the Stryker concept, Murdoc definitely wants what’s best for our troops and Army, and I haven’t been shy about raising questions concerning the program (here, among other places).

Murdoc’s quite busy at work (real world blah blah blah) but he’s hoping to read the 120-page report tonight and post some thoughts on it over the next couple of days. Check back, and send in anything you’ve got on the Stryker. Good or bad.


  1. It’s the ‘no right answer game’. Of course, any new military vehicle has some ‘teething problems’. You can’t test a vehicle in combat conditions, until it’s in combat. For Crying Out Loud, let the soldiers that ride in it write the whole report. Yeah, I agree that the weapons mount could probably use the stabilized system with better monitors, and faster computers. And yeah, the slat armor may not be ideal, but you got any better ideas?

  2. Buckethead likes it when Murdoc talks about himself in the third person. I have no problem with the stryker as a combat vehicle. Some hav argued that it would have been better to upgrade the M113, or to go with something else entirely. But my major beef is that they spelled it ‘Stryker.’ Why not striker? Are they going to park it next to the Kwiki Mart? It’s a low level annoyance (half a fingernail on a blackboard) everytime I see the name in print. If they had gone whole hog, they could have claimed that we were importing them from Iceland and called it the Stryjkher. Maybe they could have even thrown in a couple umlauts. Umlauts are always cool.

  3. I’d really like to hear what the soldiers in the field have to say about the vehicle. Its politically charged, for sure, but I’ve been hearing anecdotally that the Stryker’s quitness (air-filled rubber tires make a lot less noise than tracks) adds to its effectiveness in urban assault. I think the future holds great promise for such vehicles, if not this particular one, minus some serious re-engineering. There’s a reason the Stryker is the _interim_ armored vehicle, y’know. The bigger issue is whether the air force will admit that the C-130 is too small and begin serious development of a more capable airlifter for forward-basing. Something that can carry an effective vehicle that will probably have to weigh more than the Stryker.

  4. I’d like to see Strykers AND up-armoured M113s AND whatever else is cheap and effective at what the military wants to do. Let ’em speak for themselves. I think we may see this happen once Stryker is ‘proven’ so that if the alternatives make a good showing the media won’t jump up and down saying ‘I told you so’. Other than the worry that it may scare the people they’re trying to protect, I don’t know why they don’t just go nuts bolting/welding as many weapons to the vehicles. After all, a good offence often makes a good defence.

  5. Nicholas: I’ve written before that there’s room in this country’s army for both Strykers AND upgraded M113s. And armored Humvee cavalry, as well, in my opinion, although the 2nd ACR is going to convert to Stryker. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ world out there, and sometimes you just plain need a couple of different options.

  6. Chad: I was calling for deploying the Stryker to Iraq long before it was announced for this exact reason. We would not know these things until they were deployed, whether it was in 2003, 2005, or 2007. I’d just as soon find out sooner rather than later (when there’s time to make adjustments) and in post-invasion Iraq rather than in Syria or Iran or the DPRK when the combat dial is set on 11. BTW, I’m currently reading the report and it really looks like some good stuff. They’re really trying to learn what’s good and what’s bad and make useful recommendations. It’s not at all the ‘bad Stryker’ crap the news stories make it out to be…

  7. Murdoc, yes I know you agree, Nicholas’ point is that while we both think that’s a good idea from a military perspective it might be bad for PR, since it would just lead to more ‘No Right Answer’ articles with headlines like ‘Army spends billions on Stryker and then deployed 40 year old armoured vehicles’. Ugh. Media.

  8. N: Yeah, I was just agreeing out loud with you. And I don’t disagree with your idea that maybe M113-based solutions might be more palatable once the Stryker becomes more accepted. But I look at the media coverage now and wonder what real difference it would make if, instead of just ‘Stryker Sucks’ articles they also ran ’40 year-old M113s Suck Too’ stories. I mean, sure the PR would stink, but it’s not like there’s any good PR right now. Since there’s No Right Answer as far as the media and PR is concerned, why even acknowledge the media and PR? Besides, Murdoc Online will continue to get the real story out there…What else could the military want?

  9. Fox News featured a segment on the Styker report yesterday. FNC stated the report was predicated on confidential interviews with numerous ‘end users’ in northern/central Iraq. If that’s so………I’d have to say there are some significant problems with the vehicle that need to be addressed, and can’t simply be chalked up to ‘anti-Styker’ bias. Particularly troubling was the allegation the vehicle quickly becomes top heavy, and an unwieldy handler with the addition of add on armor or ‘other equipment’, and is suffering from a very high rate of maintenance. Is this thing a poor design from the git go? In true broadcast media fashion………FNC reported only half the story about the Styker’s .50 cal weapon system. Saying it is inaccurate while Styker is moving; without mentioning it’s inherent in non-stabilised systems. FNC contrasted the negativity of this ‘troops in the field’ report against some recent Rah, Rah, Rah, testimony for the Styker, by the Secretary of the Army and Gen. Schoomaker, in front of Congress. Hope these guys aren’t as out of touch as they looked in the FNC report. I have to wonder how many of the highly placed have portions of their careers and reputations irretrieveably wrapped up with the Styker, now that the program has gone on so long, and there is so much more money budgeted for completing this program?

  10. First part of MO’s report coverage here: I didn’t see the FoxNews coverage, but the report isn’t nearly as damning as most of the news stories (especially the headlines) make it out to be. One item I haven’t got to yet: the tires. They’re making a big deal out of how many tires have to be replaced. What the stories I read don’t mention is that most of them are the WRONG TIRES shipped from the US. That’s not an indictment of the Stryker. And they don’t mention the track shortage that’s plagued Bradley’s and M1s, either. I’m all for getting to the bottom of things. I just want it done in an even-handed manner if possible.

  11. MO, I agree with you on most of this. The tire issue is troubling, but mostly it’s the problem with getting the wrong tires. Track shortages are just as serious, and there’s a lot of logistical issues involved. Any new vehicle is going to have these problems. Look at the beloved Sherman of WWII fame. Every paper back home was talking about how wonderful it was that we could produce how many thousand a month. Problem was the Germans knocked them out at a how many to 1 ration? You have to try out a new vehicle, then make the Mk. 1 into the Mk. 2 with the proper mods, until you get it turned into a great fighting vehicle. I’d take a stryker over an up-armored Humvee any mission any time.

  12. The Sherman was pretty crappy. It won the war by sheer numbers. Unfortunately a lot of crew died in the ‘Zippo’ or ‘Ronson’ as it was known. I’m probably misremembering it but a quote from a German tanker went something like this: ‘It took six Shermans to knock out one of our tanks. Problem was, there were always seven.’ Remember, the only reason they could knock out Panthers or Tigers at all was the Sherman ‘Firefly’ which was the Sherman with the British ’17 pounder’ gun mounted. The British offered these to the US but they decided not to adopt it. At least, that’s how the books I’ve read have told the story. Anyway, the point is, I wouldn’t use the Sherman as an example of a great vehicle. Yes, it certainly got a lot better later in its life (water storage for the ammo, better armour, etc.). But the fact is it was never all that great. It won the war but by quantity and through other factors (air dominance, also the Soviet T-34s helped cut down the Panzer divisions to size, plus Hitler was a strategic moron), rather than quality, relatively speaking. I read most of the Stryker support. Most of the hardware problems are with the new computerised systems. I’m not even slightly surprised. Those same systems would have exactly the same problems in any other vehicle. Some of the problems with stuff like the slat armour seems to be because it was rushed into service (e.g. the tyre pressure issue). Slightly worrying, but it seems like the solutions should be relatively straightforward. I’d still like to see what could be done with a tracked vehicle for a few reasons – I’d like the US Army and Marines to see how well some of the systems which have been developed by private ventures, which sound promising, actually work. Murdoc mentioned ride quality – Hydropneumatic suspension is supposed to give tracked vehicles excellent ride quality (double the off-road speed compared to torsion bar and such). It’s been used in a number of armoured, tracked vehicles. I’d love to see what could be done if this was combined with hybrid drive systems and maybe band tracks. It might not work but I think it’d be cool to see. Anyway the report seems to indicate that there are issues but most of them are those which could be easily anticipated, and most of the rest are fairly minor and/or easily fixed, so I wouldn’t be too worried. I agree, it’s going to take some revisions to get it right, that’s ESPECIALLY true of a system which is battle-tested. (Baptism by fire?) But I still don’t think you should be using the Sherman as any kind of yardstick :)

  13. This story was poorly handled by the press, and the reporters lack of knowledge of military affairs and the Stryker specifically gave them the capability to butcher the facts. Just a few points: First, the RWS was never designed to shoot accurately on the move, which has already been pointed out by several others. Next, 11 tires in a BDE with 309 vehicles, each with 8 tires, really isn’t a high rate. IEDs tend to puncture tires, and it was very common to have all four tires on a Stryker blown by a 155mm IED. The effect – soldiers protected by the Stryker’s armor and a Stryker that can still drive 30-40mph on run flats if the situation calls for it. Also, the high summer temperatures cause accelerated wear on every that makes contact with the road surface, whether it is a tire or a track pad. Next, the issues with the ‘commanders displays,’ while annoying, has little impact. The heads up displays worked well, but newly issued vehicle goggles that were larger than previous goggles caused an interface issue with the original bracket, so I decided to stick with the larger goggles. A simple redesign of the bracket by the manufacturer will allow the use of the HUD. The squad leader display, while slower than the actual FBCB2 display, never caused issues. All you have to do is use that display for your larger map area so it doesn’t require as much updating and use the actual FBCB2 display for your close up imagery displays – this arrangement worked perfectly for me when maneuvering my company. Subsequent reports have demonstrated that the slat armor has been very effective in protecting soldiers, a level of protection surpassed only by the reactive armor found on Bradleys on Abrams. There is very little in the actual report about the Stryker that comes as a surprise to me, and solutions to the majority of the issues were already being developed prior to the report. I loved the Stryker vehicle and the capabilities it gave my infantry company. Once the upgrades that solve these problems are completed, just as the Army has updated the Bradley and Abrams, the Stryker will be an even more capable vehicle.

  14. My husband is in a stryker brigade combat team in Iraq. He wouldnt want to be in any other vehicle… He and all the fellow soldiers he is with believe it is a good vehicle… granted nothing is PERFECT- people need to stop finding the wrong in everything.