Stryker Talk

There’s a great discussion going on in the comments section of a recent post on the Stryker LAV. Here’s the most recent entry, by Shek in response to a series of questions and comments by Random Bulldog. I’m simply going to post the whole thing here for everyone to see:

Here’s my reply to the loads of questions that you have presented.

1. Shek, you asking for the Army to provide actual criticism of its golden cow is a non sequiter.

James claimed that the Army has said that it is undergunned. I’ve never heard that and so all I am asking for is something in writing that shows this statement is true. As far the Army criticizing the Stryker, if it didn’t take improving the Stryker serious and providing a capable vehicle, then it would conduct Initial Impression Reports and assign responsibility to various agencies to follow up that you can find on the CALL website (SIPR version now that classified material has been released from the AKO accessible site), conduct extensive testing at APG in order to approve material releases, or delay fielding of vehicles (MGS) that don’t meet operational specifications.

2. I have worked besides Strykers from 2nd ID for over a month and I have had friends endure the misfortune of being PCS’d to Stryker units. The answer I have unanimously heard is “They have problems” – serious ones. How about these questions?

What are these “serious problems” that your friends are telling you. If you are worried about OPSEC, then I can contact you via AKO and address them. I fielded the first battalion set of Strykers as the BN S-4 and spent 18 months commanding Strykers, to include 3 of those months in Iraq, so I I’ll be happy to address them as fact, fiction, or myth (don’t get me wrong here, I thought that the CALL report was generally on target and concured with most of the problems, but the context and general knowledge of the follow on reporting was atrocious and inflammatory in nature).

3. If the current Stryker is the IFV version of it, what’s the rationale in bringing down main armament from 25mm to .50?

The Stryker is an ICV, not IFV. If the Army wanted another IFV, it would have fielded an IFV and not an ICV, and you would find a 25mm cannon on it.

4. Where is the Mobile Gun System variant and why is it 3000lbs overweight to begin with?

Since I never owned a MGS for obvious reasons, I can’t account for all the weight of the vehicle. However, the ATGM has been fielded in its place and is performing its role very capably using the TOW BB as its primary round. Also, since you asked for some information on it’s use (or more correctly, where are the TOWs?), here’s some information on the ATGM and three examples of its performance in my old battalion (I provided links when the article was still available online or else I cut and paste the text version that was available on www.strykernews.com).

There are 36 ATGMs operating in each SBCT (27 are filling as interim vehicles until the MGS is fielded, using TOW BB rounds as surrogates for 105mm rounds). My former MGS section sergeant fired a TOW missile at an insurgent vehicle between the Mosul City Hall and what was Strike Main on 10 April last year, destroying the vehicle, killing all 12 insurgents and ending their attempted assault on the city hall (MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – “A patrol from 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment was engaged by 12 assailants in a truck with a rocket-propelled grenade near Al Thubat,” a U.S. statement said. “The patrol returned fire with a missile, destroying the truck and killing all 12 assailants.”)

Two months later in June, my sister company used several TOW BB fired from their ATGM Strykers during their assault to retake a police station that had been captured by insurgents (http://www.strykernews.com/archives/2004/06/25/isf_and_first_responders_perform_well.html).

These are two examples of the work being performed by the ATGMs. Additionally, the thermals on the MITAS are an incredible observation asset (same ITAS system that would be in your Delta Company gun jeeps) and helped to identify a terrorist safe house just outside of Samarra that had AQ materials, ready made IEDs, and other weapons in a huge cache (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/12/30/sprj.irq.alqaeda.weapons/index.html)

5. If the platform is so survivable, why the add-on birdcage armor and the problems with rollovers and tires blasting out?

The slat armor is an interim solution. I provide more details in a later question. As far as the rollovers, there has not be a correlation established between the birdcage and an increased amount of rollovers (http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/4617218p-4288984c.html). Also, the rate of tires being replaced is not that high. 11 tires a day for the brigade averages to about a tire being replaced once every 200 days. Was there a reason that your division’s SOP was to carry an additional tire on all of your wheeled vehicles? Of course, the extreme heat of the pavement during the summer, having to drive over curbs, and overall harsh environment means that you’re going to eat up tires much faster than in the back forty at your home post.

6. IFVs should have the capability to engage other light-skinned vehicles in conjunction with MBTs; that was the rationale for replacing M113s with Bradleys. Where are the TOWs on the Strykers? Where is the anti-tank capability? And if Strykers were such a hot deal, why weren’t they used during March-May 2003 in the real invasion of Iraq, and in the subsequent fights for Fallujah, Ar Ramadi, Najaf?

Once again, ICV, not IFV. TOWs on Strykers addressed above. TOWs = dead tank. I’ve addressed the initial phase of OIF below. As far as the Stryker being used during subsequent full spectrum operations, a Stryker battalion was assigned to the April 2004 Najaf task force and had the main effort mission until it was pulled to reopen the theater’s main supply route. As Murdoc mentioned already, it was part of the November 2004 Fallujah mission until it was pulled back to Mosul to stomp the insurgent uprising there. You didn’t mention Tal Afar in September 2004, where the Strykers stomped the insurgents that seized the town.

7. You’re talking about how the Stryker Brigades have Javelins, TOWs, 105s, 120s, and 155s on call? So where are the Strykers with the 105s? Where are the Strykers with the TOWs? 19Ks with HMMVVs can pack Javelins and engage targets faster than a Stryker unit by virtue of speed and mobility. And 120 and 155s? Please. You were there when it took Corps level release for us to use indirect in late 2003 perhaps, rendering our 60s and 81s immaterial?

Shek’s first post — “(105mm once the MGS is fielded)”
Shek’s second post — “105mm assault gun (when fielded)”
I will state this a third time. The 105mm assault gun will be available when the MGS is fielded.

In Samarra in December 2003, the BDE CDR had release authority for lethal indirect fires and the BN CDR had release authority for non-lethal (illum) indirect fires. That would put the release authority at the DIV CDR level (which had been further released in 4ID), which is where it was at when we first arrived in Mosul in your division’s AO. Of course, if you were conducting high-intensity operations, then the commander that owned the asset would have the release authority for indirect assets except against protected buildings such as mosques. Also, the 155mm has a GPS guided round now that will make it’s use increase in a low-intensity environment since you can guarantee its accuracy with high precision, and the 120mm GPS guided round is around the corner as well.

8. If the Stryker was never meant to be effective against the most common antiarmor weapon out there, what’s the point of fielding it?

The only vehicle in the Army inventory whose standard design that is protected from RPG fire is the M1 Abrams, and even it has some vulnerable points where upgraded protection will be installed using a combination of ERA panels and slat armor through the TUSK upgrade. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle requires additional protection in the form of ERA panels. The Stryker also requires additional protection, and there has always been plans to field ERA panels for the Stryker, whose performance just recently met testing specifications and will be fielded by October ’06 according to the contract. Thus, the decision was made that an interim RPG solution was required to allow the Stryker Brigade deploy to Iraq, and that is why the Strykers are currently using slat armor, which has proven to be effective in either defeating RPG warheads or preventing catastrophic damage to the Strykers and minimizing casualties.

9. What’s the point of having TOW-equipped Strykers when one with a 25mm gun can punch through the mud huts we see out in Iraq and the Third World with greater efficiency and less collateral damage? Where’s the enemy armor threat?

First you argue that the Stryker Brigade should have the capability to destroy MBTs in an early post and then now you state here why do they have TOWs? I’m not following your argument. If you want to punch through mud huts, .50 cal will do just fine. If you want to limit risk from ricochets or rounds that pass through, MK-19 will do just fine on a mud hut. Want a little more bang, a TOW BB will definitely do the trick and minimize collateral damage (hint, precision guided munition). Worried about missing the hut — the RWS system provides first round/burst accuracy from a stationary position, with the moving capability being added by next summer.

10. I know there were no Stryker units ready at kickoff in March 2003; my question was more rhetorical: Why wasn’t the program accelerated in the wake of the opening shots in OEF to meet deployment in OIF?

The program was accelerated after September 11, and there were several courses of action proposed at the senior levels of the Army leadership that included deployment of the Brigade without some of the variants and deployment by asking the SecDef to waive the Congressional certification requirement. The CSA decided on a compressed fielding and certification timeline after weighing the risks and requirements. Even after certification, our deployment was based on meeting some material requirements and retrofits. However, the major reason that the first SBCT wasn’t ready for the opening phase of OIF I was the long halt to the production schedule as the GAO waded through UDLP’s (M113) protest of the decision of the IBCT contract being awarded to GM-GDLS to produce the Stryker. A final decision, which denied UDLP’s protest, wasn’t awarded until 9 April 2001. However, as Murdoc stated already, there were other forces available and if the SecDef really wanted us, he could have waived the certification requirement.

10. Considering the majority of our engagements are MOUT scenarios, what’s the point of having a light-skinned vehicle you yourself wouldn’t use in an urban assault being in place? What’s an IFV that can’t follow its dismounts because it has anemic armament and is too thin-skinned to survive?

Once again, you can continue to call the Stryker an IFV, even though it is an ICV (“carrier”, not “fighting”). Are you trying to confuse that issue? However, I wouldn’t call the Stryker a light-skinned vehicle. It is a medium armored vehicle (MAV) that can withstand any small arms put up against it up to 14.5mm and has proven itself very survivable in urban combat during operations in Tal Afar, Samarra, and Mosul against IEDs and VBIEDs. That isn’t saying that there haven’t been some destroyed, but you can also point to Bradleys and Abrams that have been destroyed by IEDs and VBIEDs as well, and the fact is that only a tiny fraction of IEDs and VBIEDs have been big enough to seriously damage a Stryker and the soldiers inside.

11. If the Strykers aren’t capable of engaging a reasonable spectrum of threats even in concert with aviation and artillery assets, how do you expect them to accomplish their missions when such supporting assets are unavailable?

The SBCT has an organic 155mm battalion, not attached, organic. With the current fielding of the Excalibur GPS PGM 155mm round, it has become even more lethal (and more likely to be used even in restrictive urban environments). As far as aviation assets, SBCT 5 will be fielded with an aviation squadron and the lessons learned from that will be used to field the AV SQDN for SBCT 6 and retrofit the design of SBCTs 1-4. In the interim, aviation units will be assigned for deployments IAW the IBCT O&O and demonstrated by the 3/2 ID (SBCT)’s and 1/25 ID (SBCT)’s deployments to Iraq. If it is a follow-on mission to forced entry forces, then I’m pretty sure that an aviation attachment will be available since the SBCT would be the first large force in the country. However, you could be correct that an aviation force might not be available if the entire active and reserve components were all deployed and the theater commander(s) decided that the SBCT mission was lower priority.

12. If the Stryker was never meant to replace the Bradley, why are units like 2nd ACR kicking theirs to the curb in their Transformation?

Murdoc already covered this earlier, but here’s the rollup of SBCTs:
3/2 ID — downsize from Bradleys to Strykers
1/25 ID — go large from light to Strykers
172nd BDE– go large from light Strykers
2 ACR — upsize from light vehicles to Strykers
2/25 ID — go large from light to Strykers
56th BDE (PA ARNG) — downsize from Bradleys to Strykers

Overall, the SBCT transformations have actually made the Army heavier. As far as having two mechanized units turn in their Bradleys, I can’t answer specifically why the Army leadership didn’t choose all light battalions, but choosing a National Guard Brigade and an Active Duty Brigade that had never deployed on a real world mission while assigned Bradleys and were separate brigades that wouldn’t upset divisional structures probably had a lot to do with it. Also, choosing an active duty brigade that had a major C17 hub 5 miles down the road and a major sea port 15 miles down the road probably factored into the equation as well.

13. If a given platform is able to accomplish the mission better and has greater survivability, why replace it with a thin-skinned sardine can that has bits and pieces of the Land Warrior program and nothing more really to talk about?

What vehicle is the Stryker replacing? We have already established that it doesn’t replace the Bradley or the Abrams. You’re knocking down a strawman here, again.

14. For me to say that I won’t be on the boat until Strykers are proven in offensive ops is merely a deliberately sarcastic comment. You already know these things won’t survive in a serious MOUT scenario like an Ar Ramadi or an An Najaf thick with RPG-7s; so what are they good for? Screening actions? Interdiction of roads? Holding up soda pop stands alongside Route Tampa? Where’s the MGS and all the firepower that’s supposed to be on the table to compensate? I really want to ride into an engagement in this thing only to be dropped off ten clicks from the objective because it doesn’t have the firepower or the armor to follow me in? I might as well be riding on a deuce-and-a-half then. I know there’s a .50 or a MK19 on that. Equivalency to Stryker IFV armament? 100%. How pathetic is that?

Look at the facts — the Stryker has performed very well and has participated in the majority of major combat operations since the fall of the regime. The survivability of the vehicle has exceeded expectations and for the record, the furthest I ever had to walk to an OBJ was 50m, maybe 100m. Duece-and-a-half protection equivalency to Stryker ICV (not IFV)? 0%

15. However, the Stryker is intended to fill far more roles than it is adequate for, in anticipation of the FCS. We’re paying for Clinton-era peacekeeping doctrine and procurement with a platform that can’t slug it out with traditional militaries like the PLA, and with our totally inadequate manpower we’re stripping away heavy armor when we need it the most to keep it alive for a slugfest in Korea or someplace else.

The Stryker is intended to fill the gap between the capability of light forces and heavy forces. It is a medium weight force that was designed to excel in mid- to low-intensity scenarios and have the capability to fight and win in a high-intensity scenario as well. However, it is not the optimal force for a high-intensity battle and was never billed as such, so your PLA example is another strawman.

16. Digitization of the battlefield is only a force multiplier to a certain extent. There’s not much point in being “the firstest with the mostest” when what we can drag to the fight is a lot of a weak fighting platform. We can’t always depend on attack aviation and indirect to save our asses either. Tomorrow, DIVARTY for the 101st gets officially inactivated as part of the “Transformation” … there goes part of the proven formula that won us Gulf One, OEF, and OIF.

Artillery didn’t play during in OEF through at least Operation Anaconda, so it wasn’t part of the formula there. Also, while artillery will continue to be important, higher level divisional assets won’t be as necessary as PGMs and UCAVs continue to proliferate, and BDEs will continue to have their own organic artillery battalions to support their maneuver. Mass is being replaced by precision. Also, digitization is a great thing and does provide an incredible advantage, especially now that UAVs are finding their way down to the company level so that the soldiers that will act on UAV intel are the ones flying the UAV. However, I am with you that it will never eliminate having to react to contact at the company level and below, although the Stryker is not the weak platform you like to claim.

17. As for what does not make “sense” to you? If I see a Stryker Brigade, fully equipped, with the MGS and everything else take on an entrenched enemy like in An Najaf or take out a Syrian Division? Then I’m a believer. All I see is something running around getting blasted by RPGs and IEDs/VBIEDs over and over again like a mere guntruck. Strykers haven’t bled the enemy enough to tell me they are a viable future.

Hundreds of insurgents have been killed by Stryker forces in Tal Afar, Mosul, Samarra, along MSR Tampa throughout Iraq, and elsewhere. However, that is only one metric to measure success. And yes, you are correct that the Strykers have been attacked frequently, and just as frequently, they drive through the ambush, dismount and kill or capture enemy personnel that are still presented, and then continue on with their mission.

Great stuff.

Comments

  1. Bravo, sir. Didn’t know you were an officer until you stated you were the former BN S-4 for your unit. When we reclaim our sector later this year (or wherever we’re stuck in) I’ll no doubt see the evidence firsthand. In real life, I make it a point to never argue any point with officers, regardless of subject. I am not changing that just because this is a blog and I can remain anonymous. Now that I know you are one, I defer to all your statements and my participation in this discussion, as well as any future threads on this blog, is over. You are free to consider this vindication of every point you have made, sir. I contest nothing. Have a good day.

  2. RD: I salute your attitude toward officers. Being a clueless civvie, I’ll debate anything with anyone. And I’m sure my ignorance shows more often than not. I would hope that you would consider tossing in a thought or two on this site, though, in the future. Your experience, knowledge, and insightful commentary is a great help to those of us just trying to figure things out.

  3. My opinion on stryker armament is that it is in fact an ICV as pointed out above. In the future (hopfully soon) the xm307 will be fully operational and it should be a very capable 25mm airburst weapon that will readily interchange with ma deuce.If this weapon lives up to it’s potential it will give the stryker ICV the fang’s we want our brothers to have in combat. God Bless America! God Bless our TROOP’S!

  4. I have a hard time buying the ‘it’s an ICV not an IFV’ argument. If the vehicle is capable of handling all the extra requirments of a larger caliber, technically more sophisticated, 2 plane stabilized remote controlled weapon system as opposed to the current M2 .50…………then why isn’t it equipped with it? What difference does it make what troop moving variant of it’s base chassis it is? There is no acceptable rationale for equipping our vehicles or troops with less than the most lethal, technically sophisticated systems and gear we can give them. Period! If there are technical reasons Stryker can’t accept a more powerful & sophisticated weapons system, then I can accept arguments based on that. Beyond that…..if Strker is not capable of handling anything more sophisticated and lethal than a weapon system designed in the latter stages of WW I……..I have to wonder why the vehicle wasn’t designed from the ground up to handle the newer, more sophisticated & lethal weapon system. Now I’m not saying Stryker is junk; it clearly isn’t. It appear’s to have become somewhat of a sacred cow within elements of the Army though; causing some obvious improvments, modifications, or fixes to not be implemented as forthwithly (sheesh, is that a word? as they should be. But that’s just me.

  5. Flanker: I think we all agree that any vehicle should ‘be all it can be’ regardless of its designation. The IFV/ICV distinction was made because a commenter was constantly comparing the ‘Stryker IFV’ to the ‘Bradley IFV’ when the Stryker is obviously not designed for the same role as the Bradley and that criticism of the Stryker because it can’t do what the Bradley can do is not really constructive. I’ve long thought that the lack of stabilization in the weapons mount was just plain stupid. In today’s Iraq environment, that .50 cal is pretty powerful. The 40mm grenade launcher, as well. But the need to fire accurately on the move is critical, as stopping makes a juicy target. As I’ve mentioned many times, I see value in a 25mm gun variant. As Rich notes above, the XM307 will be a step up from today’s options. But not all that significant. I’d like to see the options that that GMC Suburban has available, for Cripe’s sake. See here: http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/002352.html

  6. Bulldog, I’m sure that you have your reasons for not wanting to argue points with officers, but I have absolutely no issues with you arguing points with me as this is an intellectual forum where thoughts and opinions matter, not rank, and in the end, we are still on the same team. Also, even if you were one of my soldiers and we were in the company area or out in the field, I would definitely have no issues with discussing/arguing over topics, whether it was who was going to win the Superbowl or the finer points of military equipment/doctrine. Obviously, if you were trying to argue over executing a legal order or tasking and the window for any discussion had passed, that would be another matter, but that certainly doesn’t apply here. In any case, best of luck to you and your unit as you prepare for OIF4 and deploy to Iraq.

  7. If Shek is who I think he is, I’ve been to IOBC and IOAC alongside him. To argue with Shek is generally to lose the argument-he’s excrutiatingly thorough and detail oriented, and always has the facts he needs to plow you under. As you’ve just seen demonstrated. As for why the Stryker doesn’t have a 25mm variant, there’s two reasons. The first is that the turret basket occupies too much space. The requirement for the ICV version was to be able to carry a full 9 man infantry squad. The LAV-III, which the Stryker is based on, and has a turretted 25mm, can’t do that. Second, IIRC, the 25mm turret makes the vehicle too tall to fit inside a C-130, which was another of the original requirements. I was the Battalion Maintenance Officer in a different battalion in 3/2 ID at the same time Shek was there. When OIF kicked off, we were at Ft Irwin, doing our final brigade EXEVAL before going to Ft Polk for certification. Rumors were flying that we were going to deploy straight from NTC to Iraq. The troops were ready, but the vehicles hadn’t received internal armor upgrades or the slat armor. Following the SETAF troups who dropped into northern Iraq would have been a textbook mission, but the vehicles weren’t ready to go.

  8. In an ideal weapons free environment, the Styrker units can be effective. The networking allows for full use of the combined arms firepower. The Army states: ‘the Stryker BCTs rely on information superiority to conduct operations – often outwitting and outmaneuvering opponents to save lives.’ The problem is, short of all out war, you are not always going to be able to use all the bells and whistles. A likely problem. Serbian rebels rise up and start ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Serbian ‘volunteers’ commando units from Serbia join the frey. The rebels are armed with a dozen or so T-55’s and a couple of dozen BMP’s. The bulk of the force are irregulars armed with AK-47’s & RPG-7’s. There some regular units There are just enough SA2’s & SA3’s to keep the airforce honest. The rules of engagement restrict use of artillery in urban areas. The airforce, keeps its planes above 10k feet. JSTAR’s effectiveness is limited by the complex terrain. The Army restricts helocopter operations until air supremancy is established. Into this mess, the Stryker unit goes. With heavier units, the ROE restrictions, limit thier effectiveness, but there is enough overmatch to bull through it. A stryker unit, does not have that excess overmatch. In a restricted ROE environment with restricted recon due to terrain or enemy countermeasures, the stryker vehicle does not have the firepower to extract itself. With repect to the C-130 requirement, at some point someone is going to have to face the music and make a decision. What are you going to leave behind in order to meet this requirement. While the base Stryker was advertised as having armor protection to 14.7mm. That was not the case, so they had to uparmor the vehicle. The armor upgrades are resulting in a vehicle not transportable in a C-130. So either drop the armor or upgrade the transport. Personally I vote for upgrading the transport. IMO the Styker at 4 million a copy, it is not cost effective. I guess I am stuck on, that there is no outstanding quality of the Stryker that meets a need that is not covered by existing vehicles that would justify this expense. I understand the key point is the electronics, but the electronics do not have to be in this vehicle. Electronic capability & military combat power are not the same thing. We are spending 8.2 billion dollars for a battlefield taxi that does not materially provide any more capability then our existing vehicles. Especially since we all ready have a force of battlefield taxi’s sitting in warehouses.

  9. I enjoyed this discussion. Only complaint – Army officers love their acronym alphabet soup. I thought we had a lot of acronyms in the Marines – the Army’s jargon can be totally baffling! I’m in a unit that may be assigned Strykers to use in a scouting role (if the money materializes). I would curious to know Shek’s opinion of the vehicle in that role. I like the idea of speed and better gas mileage / range that comes with a wheeled vehicle. Like others above, I would prefer a heavier gun – in the scouting role it would be used to break contact: bigger gun = better breaking. I’ve witnessed LAV’s being used very effectively and have high hopes.

  10. Sorry for another lengthy response, but once again, there were a lot of points out there to address, so here it goes. Heartless Libertarian, Thanks for the kind words, although I hope that you haven’t raised the bar too high for me to reach it now. James, You’ve thrown a lot of information out on the table. Here are my responses. 1. The Army states: ‘the Stryker BCTs rely on information superiority to conduct operations – often outwitting and outmaneuvering opponents to save lives.’ The problem is, short of all out war, you are not always going to be able to use all the bells and whistles. A likely problem. Serbian rebels rise up and start ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Serbian ‘volunteers’ commando units from Serbia join the frey. The rebels are armed with a dozen or so T-55’s and a couple of dozen BMP’s. The bulk of the force are irregulars armed with AK-47’s & RPG-7’s. There some regular units There are just enough SA2’s & SA3’s to keep the airforce honest. The rules of engagement restrict use of artillery in urban areas. The airforce, keeps its planes above 10k feet. JSTAR’s effectiveness is limited by the complex terrain. The Army restricts helocopter operations until air supremancy is established. Into this mess, the Stryker unit goes. With heavier units, the ROE restrictions, limit thier effectiveness, but there is enough overmatch to bull through it. A stryker unit, does not have that excess overmatch. In a restricted ROE environment with restricted recon due to terrain or enemy countermeasures, the stryker vehicle does not have the firepower to extract itself. Your Kosovo scenario is interesting and actually was one of the arguments for a medium force – the Army didn’t have any units that it could deploy quickly and with enough force to fight the Serbian Army. M1s couldn’t be used because they would have been destroyed as they fell into ravines along with the bridges they collapsed, stopping any American advance (11 of 12 bridges along the routes from Albania into Kosovo couldn’t support the weight of the Abrams and would have required four heavy engineer construction battalions four months to reinforce these bridges with enough support to allow M1 traffic). Next, the issue with traveling the routes into Kosovo is that the restrictive terrain (large defiles) required large amounts of infantry to secure the high ground overlooking the defiles, a task that the large infantry formations found in the Stryker Brigade could handle. Bradley units could also handle this task, although their deployability is less, their support requirements greater, and their infantry formations smaller. In the end, with the US Army’s heavy-light force structure in place at the time of Kosovo, no ground troops were deployed and instead, you had a 78 day air war conducted that had marginal effectiveness and destroyed only a small percentage of the Serbian capabilities. While there were political considerations as well as tactical and operational considerations, in the end, it was the lack of ground formations to force the Serbians to expose themselves contributed greatly to the tactical ineffectiveness of the air campaign. While a medium force certainly doesn’t have the combat power to overmatch and overwhelm an enemy like an Abrams equipped force or even a Bradley force, it can still bring a tremendous amount to bear to destroy enemy formations successfully. As far as ROE restrictions for artillery, these restrictions will no longer be as limiting with the fielding of the Excalibur 155mm GPS precision guided round next year: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m982-155.htm http://www.raytheon.com/products/stellent/groups/public/documents/content/cms01_054624.pdf Also, the 120mm precision guided mortar munition is on schedule to be fielded within the next three years: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/pgmm.htm http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/1401.pdf Both of these rounds will provide ground commanders with an organic precision guided munition capability that can be used when the situation dictates that dumb munitions cannot be used due to the potential of collateral damage to civilians or other infrastructure. Instead of having to call on the Air Force for a 500lb JDAM, you can now use your own assets much more quickly and in poor weather that could ground your air cover. Next, you are correct that JSTARS is not the most effective platform for the urban fight. However, it is still an effective platform for your approach march to Pristina or whatever built up areas are your objective. It can complement your other collection platforms from Predators at the national level to Shadows at the brigade level to Ravens at the company level. These are just the UAV platforms. You can also use plenty of other assets to collect SIGINT, HUMINT, ELINT, etc. 2. With repect to the C-130 requirement, at some point someone is going to have to face the music and make a decision. What are you going to leave behind in order to meet this requirement. You’re absolutely correct that the Stryker vehicle doesn’t meet the requirements for flying a fully combat loaded Stryker 1000 miles using a C130H. However, the C130 transportability capability still exists, albeit at a reduced range or reduced combat load, and it still provides a theater commander with an operational capability. I know that there are still design changes that are being implemented to shave weight from the vehicle, but since I’m no longer with a SBCT, I’m not smart on how much weight will be shed with these changes. Additionally, in many cases, the C130 is not the only aircraft that can be used during operations against many of our adversaries. Most of the airfields that we are using in Iraq and Afghanistan were already C17 or C5 capable, and given our air superiority, we could have landed the Strykers using our strategic air assets instead of transloading to C130s for the intratheater movement. Finally, don’t forget that you will often have the option to sealift your force, and with 50% of the equipment found in a heavy brigade, the SBCT does enjoy a significant advantage in deployability and supportability over the heavy formations. While this advantage will be reduced as helicopters are added to the formation, the trade off in lethality and collection capabilities will far offset the added footprint of the brigade. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03801.pdf, ‘Realistic Deployment Timelines Needed for Army Stryker Brigades’ 3. While the base Stryker was advertised as having armor protection to 14.7mm. That was not the case, so they had to uparmor the vehicle. The armor upgrades are resulting in a vehicle not transportable in a C-130. So either drop the armor or upgrade the transport. Personally I vote for upgrading the transport. While I agree with your idea that the next generation transport aircraft should be built around the platforms it needs to transport, your story about the Stryker’s armor is wrong. The standard armor for the Stryker does provide protection up to 14.5mm as advertised – there was no need to uparmor the base Stryker. However, there were certain ceramic plates that didn’t meet the performance specification due to a manufacturing process change that affected the size of the ceramic coupons within certain plates. In order to speed production to meet deadlines that were moved up after 9/11, the armor subcontractor made the ceramic coupons larger without notifying GM-GDLS of the change. When the plates underwent standard testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the testers discovered that certain plates didn’t meet the 14.5mm protection standard. They were able to isolate this problem to the armor subcontractor and only those plates that used the larger ceramic coupons that were part of the manufacturing process described in the contract. Once these plates were all identified by serial number, the decision was made to add a very thin steel plate (3mm, or just under 1/8′, which is the thickness of your average cracker) beneath these plates to bring the protection up to 14.5mm for 3/2 ID (SBCT)’s deployment to Iraq. Only 14% of over 40,000 armor plates had to have the thin steel added. The net effect of weight on the vehicle was minimal, although these plates either have been replaced already or will be immediately when the Strykers return from Iraq this fall (the current set of Strykers are the same ones that deployed in November 2003 from Fort Lewis) to shave that weight. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030916-103656-1762r.htm, ‘New armor plates ordered for Stryker’ 4. IMO the Styker at 4 million a copy, it is not cost effective. I guess I am stuck on, that there is no outstanding quality of the Stryker that meets a need that is not covered by existing vehicles that would justify this expense. I understand the key point is the electronics, but the electronics do not have to be in this vehicle. Electronic capability & military combat power are not the same thing. We are spending 8.2 billion dollars for a battlefield taxi that does not materially provide any more capability then our existing vehicles. Especially since we all ready have a force of battlefield taxi’s sitting in warehouses. ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.’ Mark Twain I have often seen the $4M figure thrown around for each Stryker and know that that includes the cost for building/upgrading the infrastructure for the SBCTs, the exact same infrastructure that would have been built for a M113A3 equipped IBCT (range upgrades, shoothouses, combined arms collective training facilities, simulation centers, C4ISR install facilities, etc.). To include these costs into the price of a Stryker for a comparison between Strykers and M113s does fit Mark Twain’s thought that statistics are often lies and is like comparing apples to oranges. The only figures that I have found that isolates the true cost per vehicle place it at $1.42 million and $1.5 million per copy, respectively. Also, the article about 2/25 ID’s transformation gives you a great idea on some of the construction costs that are factored into the acquisition cost per vehicle that places the cost at over $4M. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03671.pdf, ‘Army’s Evaluation of Stryker and M-113A3 Infantry Carrier Vehicles Provided Sufficient Data for Statutorily Mandated Comparison’ http://starbulletin.com/2005/05/01/news/story12.html, ‘Stryker projects on – $164.5 million in Army construction begins soon on Oahu and the Big Island’ Here’s some more information on program costs that are factored into any figures that place the cost per vehicle at $4M: ‘Estimated total costs for the Stryker vehicle program increased about 22 percent, from the original November 2000 estimate, in then-year dollars, of $7.1 billion to the December 2003 estimate of $8.7 billion. The average acquisition cost per vehicle increased from $3.34 million to $4.13 million during the same time period. The largest increase in the Stryker program’s cost estimate resulted from the cost of military construction, such as the cost of upgrading vehicle maintenance facilities for Strykers.’ These increased costs also reflected difficulties in designing the ERA panels for the Stryker (referred to as add on armor) as well as increasing the number of sets from 4 brigade sets to a full 6 brigade sets. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04925.pdf ‘Fielding of Army’s Stryker Vehicles Is Well Under Way, but Expectations for Their Transportability by C-130 Aircraft Need to Be Clarified’ As far providing a capability that doesn’t exist in a current vehicle, your reference is to the large numbers of M113A2s that are mothballed, so I’ll go there and provide capabilities that the Stryker has and address the unmentioned costs for using these mothballed vehicles. Capabilities: a. A quiet vehicle that allows you to approach an objective without being heard. b. A vehicle that has a degraded mobility capability (blown tires vs. thrown track – 35mph vs. driving circles). c. A vehicle that can drive at ungoverned ‘sprint’ speeds in excess of 70mph when the situation and conditions dictate (high risk of rollover at high speeds in tracked vehicles). d. A vehicle that can average greater than 40mph sustained speed. e. A vehicle with a common engine in the Army (LMTV/FMTV) to reduce types of spare parts carried by the brigade. f. A vehicle with up to twice the fuel economy to reduce the number of fuelers required in the brigade by half. g. A vehicle that reduces soldier fatigue through a smooth ride (due to both tires and suspension). h. A vehicle that requires less maintenance than currently fielded medium and heavy vehicles. Unmentioned costs: The M113s in storage will require numerous upgrades to bring them to a level of capability comparable to the Stryker. This is not a zero cost option. a. Conduct the A3 RISE upgrade ($370K). b. Integrate and install a remote weapon station ($200K +). c. Install all the C4ISR – ASIPS, EPLRS, PLGR, FBCB2, NTDR, ABCS, HF, SATCOM, etc. (???). d. Upgrade from 7.62mm protection to 14.5mm protection ($73K). e. RPG protection (???). f. Greater maintenance, fuel, and training costs ($200K over 20 years). g. Add fuelers to the SBCT structure (???). h. Add mechanics to the SBCT structure (???). So, while the M113 does cost less than the Stryker, it is nowhere near the zero cost option that is often laid out by M113 proponents. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03671.pdf, ‘Army’s Evaluation of Stryker and M-113A3 Infantry Carrier Vehicles Provided Sufficient Data for Statutorily Mandated Comparison’ Bram, Sorry, but I don’t have the expertise to talk smartly about the advantages of the Stryker specifically in a reconnaissance role since I was an infantry company commander and don’t have experience with your LAV25. I can tell you that the LRAS3 is an awesome system, but that isn’t a platform specific item. Same goes with the capabilities of the FBCB2 system. Besides the fact that the Stryker is a quiet platform, I don’t have any ‘war’ stories to highlight why the Stryker would make a better reconnaissance platform than the LAV-25. However, one thing within the SBCT RSTA that definitely compensates for not having a 25mm cannon is having Javelin systems that can kill enemy armor from your OP locations without having to compromise your vehicle hide sites. Also, the LRAS3 will give you a 10 digit grid from a target laze – information that can be feed directly into your FBCB2 to produce an icon (neutral, friendly, enemy). As the FBCB2 system matures, this could be used in the future for an immediate digital call for fire using GPS guided 155mm rounds or standard indirect fire munitions as the target dictates – an awesome potential that reduces your FM communications to next to nothing. I’ll leave anything further to the battalion reconnaissance platoon guys and the RSTA squadron troopers who have actually used the Stryker in a recon role. Also, if you need any specific acronyms translated, let me know. Flanker, The RWS will be upgraded to include stabilization, and if the press actually dug deep enough into the CALL report, they would have discovered that, and many did in articles in the days following the initial Washington Post article. http://www.pogo.org/m/dp/dp-StrykerBrigade-12212004.pdf ‘Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). Remote Weapons Station (RWS) requires weapon and optical stabilization and laser designation. RWS modifications are programmed for the Stryker Block II upgrades and will be fielded to SBCT’s 5 and 6, and provide retrofits to SBCT’s 1 thru 4.’

  11. Shek On the Kosovo scenario. You are correct, the M1 would never of made it there and Kosovo demonstrated that the army needs a more deployable force. My issue, is that yes the Stryker could most likely get there I am not certain that it could survive there. My answer to your other points will highlight my concerns. With respect to the Excalibur. From what I hear, it is a fine weapon and one that the army has needed since artillery was invented. Personally I would like to add the ability update the GPS info so the round can target mobile targets. The only issue is its possible vulnerability to jamming.issues. The rounds space, weight, and extreme stresses pose issues for addressing this problem. (Office of Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). Annual Report 2003) As to the 120mm mortar, assuming everything works, go for it. I would hope that by the time it is fielded, the Stryker will be able to fire the weapon from within the vehicle instead of the current dismount only option. Mobility is a major plus for the vehicle, and I sure the dismounts would prefer not lugging 120mm mortar while attempting to avoid counterbattery fire. With respect to air cover. A B2 overhead with 160 or so small diameter bombs with mobile targeting ability & anti-gps hardware installed is a fine thing most likely it would be a B-52 with 200 or so, but the point is the same. Weather is supposed to be a non-factor for these weapons. With respect to intelligence, the problem is not obtaining data. The TR-1 with side looking radar & near real time data links will tell you more then JSTARS ever could. River Joint, and other platforms can give you enormous advantages. This issue is providing that data to the guy with the gun, and having that data presented in a way that is helpful to that guy with the gun. This problem relates to all units, not just the Strykers and is one of the reasons the army is pushing for UCAV’s. With respect to airlift. Once you start, allowing for the use of C-17’s and C5’s the advantages of the Stryker start to fall off. A M2/M3 are only 10 to 15 thousand pounds heaver then a Stryker, so the C-17/C-5 transportability comparisons vs capability gained start looking bad for the Stryker. That said, C-5 access is questionable in most instances. Not many places have a 10,000 foot runway and while it is claimed you can use a C-5 on poor and unimproved runways, I really would not like to bet my life on it. With respect to deployability, I have read the Rand study on Stryker deployability. ‘Speed and Power: Toward an Expeditionary Army.’ Its fairly clear, that the stated goal of 96 hour deployment is not going to happen. On the Armor issue: It was my understanding that the vehicles affected were for the 1st & 2nd Stryker brigades. (Source DOT &E).Next, it is my understanding that the term 14.7 armor protection is relative. The Stryker is armored vs 14.7 mm in certain quadrants and that armor is only qualified at ranges greater then a certain distance. Additionally, the composition of the armor is at issue. While ceramic based armors, pound for pound provide for better 1st round protection then steel based armors, the armors ability to withstand multiple closely spaced hits, is suspect. .On the 4 million cost issue. Yes, you can statically prove that winter does not exist, so in that respect, the 4 million cost can be dammed. The real value of the figure is to show, the development and research cost of the vehicle. I have no issue going with the 1.42 million cost figure. With respect to report comparing the Stryker to the M113, just as you are justified in pointing out the 4 million figure is unfair, IMO the report comparing the Stryker to M113 is unfair, If you want a report to read a certain way, all you have to do is set up your data points to enhance your point of view. ‘a. A quiet vehicle that allows you to approach an objective without being heard. ‘Stryker wins hands down. No much you can do with tracks. They make noise. ‘b. A vehicle that has a degraded mobility capability (blown tires vs. thrown track – 35mph vs. driving circles).’ Stryker wins hands down. No much you can do with blown track. Now if the report took into account the vulnerability of tracks vs wheels to enemy fire or a comparison of traction ability. The term ‘General Mud’ comes to mind. The result might be a tad different. ‘c. A vehicle that can drive at ungoverned ‘sprint’ speeds in excess of 70mph when the situation and conditions dictate (high risk of rollover at high speeds in tracked vehicles). ‘ Stryker again wins hands down. Wheeled vehicles are inherently faster then tracked (though I understand that you can get an M1 to do 60 mph if you are feeling lucky). Now, I am not sure if the army would approve of troops removing engine governors, but one issue, is what is the Stryker running from and why? ` ‘d. A vehicle that can average greater than 40mph sustained speed. ‘ This comparison just baffled me but who am I to blow against the wind. Yes both wheeled and tracked vehicles can meet this one, though wheeled vehicles are better at it. The issue is how do-you define sustained speed and for what purpose. Against opposition, an army is not going to do 100 or 200 mile daily moves. If an army is having, to move large distances, that is what planes, trains and ships are for. ‘e. A vehicle with a common engine in the Army (LMTV/FMTV) to reduce types of spare parts carried by the brigade.’ This is a straw man argument and really has little to do with the capabilities of either vehicle. The ideal engine an army uses in a rapid introduction force with limited resupply, should be a modular engine that can be easily modified to produce a range power outputs, be multi-fuel capable, have a limited number of moving parts, and can be easily repaired in the field. ‘f. A vehicle with up to twice the fuel economy to reduce the number of fuelers required in the brigade by half. ‘ This is actually a significant issue. One that I fully concede, that the Stryker wins on. It’s the nature of wheeled vs track. ‘g. A vehicle that reduces soldier fatigue through a smooth ride (due to both tires and suspension).’ Now this is an interesting issue. The Stryker has a smoother ride, but a M113 has a larger interior. One complaint of the Styker, is that 9 combat loaded infantry can fit only with difficulty. If ride smoothness is a real issue, you can fit a M113 with ride compensation seats. ‘h. A vehicle that requires less maintenance than currently fielded medium and heavy vehicles.’ The jury is still out on this one. It is my understanding is that there is not enough data to determine the Stryker maintenance cost/time requirements. ‘Unmentioned costs: The M113s in storage will require numerous upgrades to bring them to a level of capability comparable to the Stryker. This is not a zero cost option. a. Conduct the A3 RISE upgrade ($370K).’ Ok it is a cost, but then again what is the cost of converting the existing Stryker’s to block 30/ block 40 upgrades?? It is a given that any vehicle is going to have an upgrade cost factor. ‘b. Integrate and install a remote weapon station ($200K +).’ This one really made me laugh. It takes real chutzpah, to say that a Stryker is better then an M113 because of the remote weapon station. A) The greater interior space of a M113 makes it inherently easier to upgrade with new weapon systems. B) The M113 due to using tracks is inherently shorter then a Stryker, thus you can put a turret on a M113 and still have it fit in a C-130 (unlike a turret equipment Stryker) C) The army went out and spent 200K on a remote weapon station, that it admits needs upgrades (stabilization)? D) Putting a CROWS on a Stryker is going to run 250K. E) So be it Stryker or M113, the army will be out 250K each. (well actually 450K for the Stryker) ‘c. Install all the C4ISR – ASIPS, EPLRS, PLGR, FBCB2, NTDR, ABCS, HF, SATCOM, etc. (???).’ So what? see reply to A ‘d. Upgrade from 7.62mm protection to 14.5mm protection ($73K). e. RPG protection (???).’ Yes, and the M113 has an advantage the Stryker does not. The M113 is one of the most widely fielded armored vehicle in the world. As such, the army can get ‘off the Shelf’ M113 armor and weapon upgrades that are already tested and proven. ‘f. Greater maintenance, fuel, and training costs ($200K over 20 years).’ This figure is pure guess work as the true costs of the Stryker have not been determined ‘g. Add fuelers to the SBCT structure (???). h. Add mechanics to the SBCT structure (???).’ To be honest, I am really not qualified to respond the fueler/mechanic issue. The logistic footprint of the SCBT is all over the board. The answer to this issue will depend on the supply access and some realistic studies on the Stryker suspension maintenance needs. ‘So, while the M113 does cost less than the Stryker, it is nowhere near the zero cost option that is often laid out by M113 proponents.’ You are absolutely correct. Assuming worst case scenario, the upgrade cost each M113 is 1 million per copy, the M113 is cheaper then the Stryker. Even if the upgrade cost is same unit cost of the Stryker the M113 is cheaper the Stryker, as most of the development costs into upgrade options, have already be done by other countries. Furthermore, from an accounting & funding standpoint, the upgrade of the M113 would enable the army to focus more of its attention on the FCS. Remember the Stryker is supposed to be a filler vehicle until the FCS can be fielded.

  12. Update. On a couple of points, I made the mistake of assumption. Apparently there has been some significant advances in the art of Tracked vehicles. Band Tracks. The Army is using them on prototype FCS vehicles. http://www.udlp.com/media/NLOS_C_press_kit/word/demonstrator.pdf Looking around, it appears that many of the advantages of wheeled vs tracks, are mitigated to great extent. Canada is currently fielding Band Track M113 in Afganistan. It would be interesting to see how well they work in a combat environment. If these tracks work as advertised, the strongest argument for Strykers is blown out of water. Of course, its a tad late now, as weapon systems once they reach the troops have a knack of living well past the expire date. (ie. The Dragon medium anti-tank missile system, took years to die. )

  13. I’m looking for insights from soldiers regarding engine maintenance policies in the SBCT. Specifically the Stryker and the MTV have the same CAT engine but have different maintence policies. Can anyone comment on what engine maintenance is done on the vehicle, Stryker vs. MTV? Other insights?

  14. John, I took command two months after my battalion received its Strykers, and so I don’t have much insight on specific policies since I was on the way out as the S-4. What I do know is that maintenance policies on what you can and can’t touch can depend on whether the engine is still under warranty based on the terms of the contract. For example, while I was the S-4, we still had the engines on our FMTVs under warranty and so there were some repairs that our mechanics were capable of but Catepillar would do them instead at their expense due to the contract. If we had done the repairs, it could have voided the contract. To facilitate this process, Cat had a POC located at Fort Lewis so that these questions/repairs could be dealt with quickly and effectively. However, I don’t have the knowledge to answer whether this would explain the differing policies that you refer to.

  15. Shek, Thanks for the info. I am a former Marine – now Army National Guard. I hope we are assigned Strykers for Recon work as currently planned. I believe it would be a big upgrade in protection over the HMMV’s and in electronics over the few M-113’s my unit still has. Lots of complaining and second-guessing here. It is still the quality the soldiers and their leaders that will decide battles.

  16. Bram You are entirely correct, the quality of the troops determines the truth, not the quality of the toys. (with the exception of French machine gun technology and doctrine) That said, this little debate has opened my eyes and gave me a chance to review a lot of the changes to the army structure that are being developed. I can now see the rationale for the Stryker, and while I disagree on the choice of the Stryker vehicle, I can see the logic behind the concept of scalable military force.

  17. I am sorry, but I am new to this discussion and so I have a few basic questions. On addressing the costs between retrofiting/upgrading M113s vs the outright purchase of a new Stryker, was the higher troop and cargo capacity of the M113 taken into consideration? In the fuel comparison, I believe that the Detroit Diesel Engines used in the M113 upgrade have improved mileage compared to the original engines, how does that compare with the mileago of the Stryker, is it still 1/2 the mileage per fuel? Is the Stryker taller and longer, giving a larger target than the M113? While, a destroyed tire, could still offer limited mobility in a car, I am not certain, how well a destroyed set of tires (high profile, small rim by comparison to a regular vehicle) would perform on a Stryker in a similar situation. I am sure the inflation control system could assist in minor incidents (is that still active in cases of the added armor?), but how easy is it to destroy those tires, as opposed to disabling the M113s tracks? While, I cannot vouche for the lateral stability of the Stryker, I have seen M113s perform medium speed 30+ mph off road, with incredible agility for a vehicle of their size and weight (I would not have attempted any of those in my pickup on road, let alone off road), though granted, the maneuvers were performed by an experienced operator, whose jump was to give the final ok on the upgraded vehicles. While, I do see the need for a 70mph sprint, I think, the pivot maneuver that a track vehicle can perform, can be at least equally important in closed quarters to that top speed. Can the Stryker be parachute-dropped as compared to an M113? Which one is more easily/readily transportable in a C-130? Finally I believe that the M113 variants compared here, are dated. I am not sure that the M113 could ever be as quiet as a Stryker might be, but adding rubber pads to the tracks, along with some other sensible mods could go a long ways towards reducing noise. We are comparing a recently, and constantly modified product (the Stryker) to something that has not been updated (for whatever reason) in quite a while (M113). Sometimes, newer technologies, can offer better (and sometimes cheaper) upgrades to an existing system. Thanks to those that might provide answer to my probably simplistic questions.

  18. Thinker With respect to Troop capasity/ cargo capasity. I doubt it, as the army set up its base line comparision with the Strykers capasity as the minimum requirement. Thus the added M113 was a bonus, but not one given much weight. Fuel Comparison. A real comparision would be a band tracked M113 with its new engines vs the Stryker. (The M113, is being pulled out of mothballs and being sent to Iraq. These M113 are to recieve additional armor and new engine (by 2010)) That said, in general a wheeled vehical will almost always beat a tracked vehical, if for no other reason then friction. The Stryker (104 inches) is taller then the M113 (98.5 inches). At least vs ‘standard’ M113. But remember there are lots of different types of M113 out there. On the Tire Issue. The Stryker Tires are rated with/ Run-Flat Capability: 150 miles at 50 miles per hour Ballistic Capability against the following ballistic threats 0.44lb PMN mine 75 miles at 50 miles per hour 30 mm HE round 75 miles at 50 miles per hour 30 mm KE round 75 miles at 50 miles per hour M74 Bomblet 75 miles at 50 miles per hour In general an M113 tracks are harder to knock out then the Stryker’s wheels. That said, if you knock out, throw a track or what not, the M113 is in trouble, where as the a Stryker losing a wheel still have mobility. In theory, the Stryker Wheels should last a lot longer then tracks. In practice, I believe that the Stryker’s wheel fail rate is comproable to the M113 track replacement requirement. Central tire inflation. A stryker with slat armor, has to disable its central tire inflation control. Tracked vehicals have an inherent carry capasity advantage due to low ground pressure and better weight distribution. Lateral stability. A stryker with slat armor has its movement compromised. Tight 30 Mph turns with slat armor would not be the best idea. Without the additional armor, the Stryker would most likely outclass the M113 on paved surfaces. [One ofter overlooked problem with tracked vehicals. They chew up roads and property. Every time there was a reforger operation, we had to shell out a few million to pissed off germans because of road damage, sidwalk damage, and the occational tank that plowed into a house. Can the Stryker be parachute-dropped? Sure, anything can. Now would it work afterwards? With enough duct tape and a big shovel to dig it out of the crater, you could get a Stryker into the fray. C-130 issue: M113 fully locked and loaded can drive on and off a C-130. A Stryker cannot. Depending on the verison, a Styker could be up in running in a matter of a few hours, or less if you were properly motivated. Pivot ability is important, that said, there is no inherent reason why a wheeled vehical cannot pivot. So if this was a critical abilty, you could make a Stryker pivot. M113 vs Stryker tests: Yes they were unfair. That said, the Stryker is meant to a road based vehical with limited combat ability, and intended for conflcts where there is little significant opposition. The M113, was ment as a means to keep imfantry up with the tanks. It did so, and still can do so. The M113 however, was not made for the same mission as the Stryker, so naturally it failed. Your questions are not simplistic. They represent a very logical serious of questions about a weapon system designed for peace keeping, but has a combat mission vs a vehical that was designed for combat. The latest M113 variant called ‘ACV-S TRACKED ARMOURED COMBAT VEHICLE (STRETCHED)’ IMO meets and exceeds virtually all of the Strykers combat ability requirements, while providing better troop protection and comfort. http://www.army-technology.com/projects/acv-s/

  19. James, Sorry for the tardy response. I got real busy doing some landscaping and laying a paver patio. Life on the homefront wouldn’t have been too good if I hadn’t completed those projects. Here’s my point-counterpoint responses. Shek On the Kosovo scenario. You are correct, the M1 would never of made it there and Kosovo demonstrated that the army needs a more deployable force. My issue, is that yes the Stryker could most likely get there I am not certain that it could survive there. My answer to your other points will highlight my concerns. With respect to the Excalibur. From what I hear, it is a fine weapon and one that the army has needed since artillery was invented. Personally I would like to add the ability update the GPS info so the round can target mobile targets. The only issue is its possible vulnerability to jamming.issues. The rounds space, weight, and extreme stresses pose issues for addressing this problem. (Office of Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). Annual Report 2003) As to the 120mm mortar, assuming everything works, go for it. I would hope that by the time it is fielded, the Stryker will be able to fire the weapon from within the vehicle instead of the current dismount only option. Mobility is a major plus for the vehicle, and I sure the dismounts would prefer not lugging 120mm mortar while attempting to avoid counterbattery fire. SHEK – I don’t know the MC-B’s fielding date, but I know the live fire testing was completed last spring/summer at Yakima Training Center and that that version received production approval in the first quarter of FY05, so it will be fielded soon. I agree with you that the dismounted 120mm version was not as optimal, but ARDEC did develop a titanium baseplate that trimmed the baseplate weight by 1/3 for the brigade as an interim solution and that technology can be disseminated through the rest of the Army. With respect to air cover. A B2 overhead with 160 or so small diameter bombs with mobile targeting ability & anti-gps hardware installed is a fine thing most likely it would be a B-52 with 200 or so, but the point is the same. Weather is supposed to be a non-factor for these weapons. SHEK – Great point – I wasn’t even thinking about that. With respect to intelligence, the problem is not obtaining data. The TR-1 with side looking radar & near real time data links will tell you more then JSTARS ever could. River Joint, and other platforms can give you enormous advantages. This issue is providing that data to the guy with the gun, and having that data presented in a way that is helpful to that guy with the gun. This problem relates to all units, not just the Strykers and is one of the reasons the army is pushing for UCAV’s. SHEK – Great point, that’s why I was so excited to see the Raven begin fielding prior to my leaving Iraq – companies now have the ability to gain and maintain visual contact with the enemy and determine the best plan for maneuver against the enemy. This doesn’t mean that you will always avoid a react to contact scenario, but if you do gain visual contact through your UAV, you can better gain a positional advantage. With respect to airlift. Once you start, allowing for the use of C-17’s and C5’s the advantages of the Stryker start to fall off. A M2/M3 are only 10 to 15 thousand pounds heaver then a Stryker, so the C-17/C-5 transportability comparisons vs capability gained start looking bad for the Stryker. That said, C-5 access is questionable in most instances. Not many places have a 10,000 foot runway and while it is claimed you can use a C-5 on poor and unimproved runways, I really would not like to bet my life on it. SHEK – A M2A2ODS with ERA is over 20,000lbs heavier than a Stryker with ERA will be and over 25,000lbs heavier than a Stryker with slat armor. While the physical dimensions are very similar, the weight difference will quickly eliminate the ability to carry other vehicles and equipment on the planes, an ability that remains with the Stryker, so you will be able to fly in your combat support and service support elements so that space is not wasted. Next, Bradleys require four times the fuel and more maintenance and lift assets to support operations. As far as landing a C-5, I was referring to a specific airfield in Afghanistan where the survey deemed it capable of C-5 traffic. However, as we both know, C17 is the airframe of choice for airlift. With respect to deployability, I have read the Rand study on Stryker deployability. ‘Speed and Power: Toward an Expeditionary Army.’ Its fairly clear, that the stated goal of 96 hour deployment is not going to happen. SHEK – No disagreement here, and with current airlift assets, I don’t think this is much of a surprise. No matter what platforms we have, we need more airlift, especially given the stress that the current airlift force is getting supporting OIF/OEF. On the Armor issue: It was my understanding that the vehicles affected were for the 1st & 2nd Stryker brigades. (Source DOT &E).Next, it is my understanding that the term 14.7 armor protection is relative. The Stryker is armored vs 14.7 mm in certain quadrants and that armor is only qualified at ranges greater then a certain distance. Additionally, the composition of the armor is at issue. While ceramic based armors, pound for pound provide for better 1st round protection then steel based armors, the armors ability to withstand multiple closely spaced hits, is suspect. SHEK – You are correct that the armor plates that didn’t meet specifications were installed only on SBCT-1 and SBCT-2 (very small numbers). As with all vehicles, you focus your armor protection on the likely threats, so the Stryker has 14.5mm AP protection on its side, front and rear. The top, which has a very low likelihood of being struck with 14.5mm, has 7.62mm AP protection instead. As far as the type of armor, you have to make decisions on the more appropriate material for your armor. Ceramic armor provides the same first round protection at a reduced weight than RHA, as you pointed out. Furthermore, you can use small ceramic tiles within each plate to allow you to provide effective protection against multiple hits in the same area. ‘To reduce the total weight of an armor protection suites, and improving survivability against all types of threats, designers are introducing add-on ‘alternatives’ to part of the basic plating of the armor suit. Add-ons versions include Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks, and composite elements made of ceramic-faced layer, applied on top of the base (steel) armor. For example, a combination of ceramic tiles with aluminum armor can be as effective as HSS at considerably lower weight. However, a major drawback is the fact that the ceramic material disintegrates on a projectile impact and therefore, loses its effect when facing multiple hits. Therefore, the most common application in ceramic armor is the use of ceramic tiles, composed of cylindrical pellets or mosaics of small cubes, embedded in energy absorbing matrix, which provide effective protection against multiple hits.’ http://amptiac.alionscience.com/pdf/AMPQ5_1.pdf On the 4 million cost issue. Yes, you can statically prove that winter does not exist, so in that respect, the 4 million cost can be dammed. The real value of the figure is to show, the development and research cost of the vehicle. I have no issue going with the 1.42 million cost figure. SHEK – $600 hammers and $400 toilets seats. While I don’t recall the exact costs for the hammers and toilet seats (I believe this was from the B-1B program), this type of accounting has existed for a while in major defense programs. You have the same thing going on here. R&D, testing, construction – these are all lumped in with the $4 million cost. Once you separate out costs that aren’t vehicle costs, then you get a true per vehicle figure. Now, with the M113s, you would still need to do the testing and military construction, so if you want to compare vehicles, then you need to strip away commalities to get a real comparative value. With respect to report comparing the Stryker to the M113, just as you are justified in pointing out the 4 million figure is unfair, IMO the report comparing the Stryker to M113 is unfair, If you want a report to read a certain way, all you have to do is set up your data points to enhance your point of view. SHEK – You asked for advantages of the Stryker, so I used my experience with Strykers to develop the following. ‘a. A quiet vehicle that allows you to approach an objective without being heard. ‘Stryker wins hands down. No much you can do with tracks. They make noise. SHEK – I’m actually very interested in seeing how much quieter the rubber band tracks are. I have yet to see any decibel comparisons between the Stryker and M113. ‘b. A vehicle that has a degraded mobility capability (blown tires vs. thrown track – 35mph vs. driving circles).’ Stryker wins hands down. No much you can do with blown track. Now if the report took into account the vulnerability of tracks vs wheels to enemy fire or a comparison of traction ability. The term ‘General Mud’ comes to mind. The result might be a tad different. SHEK – Except in German wet soil conditions, the M113 doesn’t have a significant advantage. So, in Mideast and Korea soil conditions, the more likely soil types that future conflicts involving the US will be, the results aren’t much different. ‘c. A vehicle that can drive at ungoverned ‘sprint’ speeds in excess of 70mph when the situation and conditions dictate (high risk of rollover at high speeds in tracked vehicles). ‘ Stryker again wins hands down. Wheeled vehicles are inherently faster then tracked (though I understand that you can get an M1 to do 60 mph if you are feeling lucky). Now, I am not sure if the army would approve of troops removing engine governors, but one issue, is what is the Stryker running from and why? SHEK – In December 2003 in Samarra, I had a platoon chase down a late model green Mercedes with the help of a OH-58D that was on our BOLO (be on the lookout) list as it was leaving Samarra using this ‘sprint’ speed capability. Going 40mph, we wouldn’t have caught the vehicle. Furthermore, as our presence continues in Iraq and we drawdown to installations that are further from cities, requiring longer movements for reaction forces, this sprint speed capability will become even more important. ‘d. A vehicle that can average greater than 40mph sustained speed. ‘ This comparison just baffled me but who am I to blow against the wind. Yes both wheeled and tracked vehicles can meet this one, though wheeled vehicles are better at it. The issue is how doyou define sustained speed and for what purpose. Against opposition, an army is not going to do 100 or 200 mile daily moves. If an army is having, to move large distances, that is what planes, trains and ships are for. SHEK – One of the capabilities of the IBCT was to be able to conduct longer operational movements out of contact. For example, in Iraq, a battalion task force had 24 hours to prepare to move from Mosul to Baqubah and then lead the brigade task force to FOB Duke, securing key choke points along the route, in preparations for operations against the Mahdi Army in Najaf in the second week of April 2004. Another example of this is the movement of 1-5 Infantry from Fallujah to Mosul in November of last year to reinforce elements in Mosul against the spillover of insurgents rousted from Fallujah who moved to Mosul. As far as large distances, moving vehicles via trains and ships in Iraq in not an option and using planes is not as efficient. ‘e. A vehicle with a common engine in the Army (LMTV/FMTV) to reduce types of spare parts carried by the brigade.’ This is a straw man argument and really has little to do with the capabilities of either vehicle. The ideal engine an army uses in a rapid introduction force with limited resupply, should be a modular engine that can be easily modified to produce a range power outputs, be multi-fuel capable, have a limited number of moving parts, and can be easily repaired in the field. SHEK – Not sure where you are getting the strawman argument from. One of the specific goals of the IBCT was to reduce the required logistics footprint of the brigade. One of the ways to do this is to reduce the number of PLL/ASL lines that you carry. A common engine as well as common parts with other vehicles in the brigade gets straight at this issue. ‘f. A vehicle with up to twice the fuel economy to reduce the number of fuelers required in the brigade by half. ‘ This is actually a significant issue. One that I fully concede, that the Stryker wins on. It’s the nature of wheeled vs track. ‘g. A vehicle that reduces soldier fatigue through a smooth ride (due to both tires and suspension).’ Now this is an interesting issue. The Stryker has a smoother ride, but a M113 has a larger interior. One complaint of the Styker, is that 9 combat loaded infantry can fit only with difficulty. If ride smoothness is a real issue, you can fit a M113 with ride compensation seats. SHEK – Tight, yes. Difficult to fit nine, no. As far as ride smoothness, this is a significant issue. You want your infantrymen to dismount as fresh as possible, and microvibrations fatigue your body. Seats can help, but a better suspension like the Strykers will go even farther. ‘h. A vehicle that requires less maintenance than currently fielded medium and heavy vehicles.’ The jury is still out on this one. It is my understanding is that there is not enough data to determine the Stryker maintenance cost/time requirements. SHEK – OR rate in the mid-90s in Iraq with fewer mechanics. For me, the jury is in, and the Stryker is performing up to its expectations. ‘Unmentioned costs: The M113s in storage will require numerous upgrades to bring them to a level of capability comparable to the Stryker. This is not a zero cost option. a. Conduct the A3 RISE upgrade ($370K).’ Ok it is a cost, but then again what is the cost of converting the existing Stryker’s to block 30/ block 40 upgrades?? It is a given that any vehicle is going to have an upgrade cost factor. SHEK – This is the cost to get the mothballed M113s to the same starting line with the Stryker. ‘b. Integrate and install a remote weapon station ($200K +).’ This one really made me laugh. It takes real chutzpah, to say that a Stryker is better then an M113 because of the remote weapon station. A) The greater interior space of a M113 makes it inherently easier to upgrade with new weapon systems. B) The M113 due to using tracks is inherently shorter then a Stryker, thus you can put a turret on a M113 and still have it fit in a C-130 (unlike a turret equipment Stryker) C) The army went out and spent 200K on a remote weapon station, that it admits needs upgrades (stabilization)? D) Putting a CROWS on a Stryker is going to run 250K. E) So be it Stryker or M113, the army will be out 250K each. (well actually 450K for the Stryker) SHEK – The CROWS isn’t going on the Stryker; the RWS is being upgraded, so while I don’t know the costs for upgrading the current RWS (Kongsberg already has a stabilized version, so there shouldn’t be any R&D costs, just upgrade costs), but it shouldn’t approach your 250K figure. As with all the points on the unmentioned costs, I am just trying to provide some clarity on points that are never mentioned in cost comparisons. As above, to get the M113 to the same starting line as the Stryker, you need to install a remote operated weapons station, whether it is CROWS or the Kongsberg RWS. ‘c. Install all the C4ISR – ASIPS, EPLRS, PLGR, FBCB2, NTDR, ABCS, HF, SATCOM, etc. (???).’ So what? see reply to A SHEK – Once again, just getting the M113 to the same starting line. Also, the issue isn’t where to put it, but integrating it to the vehicle – you need to test for EMI and ergonomics, run the wiring, ground the equipment. This all costs money. ‘d. Upgrade from 7.62mm protection to 14.5mm protection ($73K). e. RPG protection (???).’ Yes, and the M113 has an advantage the Stryker does not. The M113 is one of the most widely fielded armored vehicle in the world. As such, the army can get ‘off the Shelf’ M113 armor and weapon upgrades that are already tested and proven. SHEK – $73K is the cost to get to 14.5mm. I don’t know the cost of RPG protection, and while I agree that you’re going to save R&D costs, these are still costs that would be required for the M113. Here is an excerpt from a Rand Corp study (which points out that without engine upgrades, you could cover only 40-60% of the M113, depending on which tile you chose): The situation is more ambiguous for the M113A3 configurations, which were constrained to a total weight of 4,000 pounds and did not use the same placement pattern. The 2-3 Year tile set included fewer tiles than the 1-2 Year set and hence would cover less surface area: about 40 percent coverage for the 1-2 Year configuration, but only 30 percent for the 2-3 Year configuration (as compared to about 65 percent for a maximum coverage configuration). The cost of developing either a 1-2 Year or a 2-3 Year tile for the M113 was estimated to be $8 million. Also, an additional $3 million would be needed to reengineer the M113A3 to carry a RA tile set of more than 4,000 pounds without a sharp drop in mobility and reliability. (This vehicle is designated as an M113(RE).) For an M113A3 that has not been upgraded, the estimated LCC of either a 1-2 Year or a 2-3 Year tile set is about $209,000. This estimate is based on a projected procurement cost of $200,000 for a 4,000-pound tile set. This value is scaled up by weight to estimate the LCC of the upgraded M113 tile configurations: $334,000 for the 1-2 Year tiles, and $480,000 for the 2-3 Year tiles. http://www.rand.org/publications/WP/WP119/ You can point to Israeli M113 variants with ERA, but those M113s have upgraded engines, suspensions, etc. to handle the weight of the specific ERA systems designed. So, the OTS is not test free. ‘f. Greater maintenance, fuel, and training costs ($200K over 20 years).’ This figure is pure guess work as the true costs of the Stryker have not been determined SHEK – The costs are available – they just didn’t use it for the study because they didn’t have enough peacetime data due to the deployment of 3/2 ID (SBCT) to Iraq for combat operations. ‘g. Add fuelers to the SBCT structure (???). h. Add mechanics to the SBCT structure (???).’ To be honest, I am really not qualified to respond the fueler/mechanic issue. The logistic footprint of the SCBT is all over the board. The answer to this issue will depend on the supply access and some realistic studies on the Stryker suspension maintenance needs. SHEK – Fuel is pretty simple. 53 gallons for 300 miles on the Stryker vs. 95 gallons for 300 miles on the M113A3. For mechanics, an OR rate in the mid-90s during OIF is a true to life figure, as I saw the stats briefed every week. With fewer mechanics than a mech force and a higher OR rate, the Stryker is doing very well. However, I don’t have stats available for the M113 OR rate, so there is a possibility that it’s reliability is close to the Stryker. ‘So, while the M113 does cost less than the Stryker, it is nowhere near the zero cost option that is often laid out by M113 proponents.’ You are absolutely correct. Assuming worst case scenario, the upgrade cost each M113 is 1 million per copy, the M113 is cheaper then the Stryker. Even if the upgrade cost is same unit cost of the Stryker the M113 is cheaper the Stryker, as most of the development costs into upgrade options, have already be done by other countries. Furthermore, from an accounting & funding standpoint, the upgrade of the M113 would enable the army to focus more of its attention on the FCS. Remember the Stryker is supposed to be a filler vehicle until the FCS can be fielded. SHEK – No arguments here that a M113 fielded IBCT would have cost less money. My point is that using the M113A2s that are mothballed wasn’t a zero cost option; you can’t just pull them out of storage, knock the dust off, and then start training. Also, the Stryker is not a ‘filler’ vehicle – it is a bridge to the future force. The initial FCS contract calls for only 15 FCS equipped BDEs, which leaves 33 other BDEs. The Stryker will exist alongside the FCS. Also, the total cost of the Stryker program is only 10% of the FCS program as currently projected, and as we both know, program costs almost always go over. So, the impact of a M113 fielded IBCT on the FCS would be very marginal.

  20. James/Thinker, Here are my responses to your two posts. With respect to Troop capasity/ cargo capasity. I doubt it, as the army set up its base line comparision with the Strykers capasity as the minimum requirement. Thus the added M113 was a bonus, but not one given much weight. SHEK – The ORD required the capability to carry a nine man infantry squad in addition to the vehicle crew. The M113A3 is rated to carry a nine man infantry squad. If you want the ‘stretch’ version of the M113 (referred to as the MTVL by UDLP and often as the M113A4 by others), you decrease fuel economy by going from 95 gallons to 130 gallons required to get a 300 mile range and increase weight (I haven’t found a good stat, but it’s max GVW is listed as 40,000lbs). In terms of support, you’d have to have a proportional increase of fueler support, which means that for a MTVL, you would need to increase from 14 fuelers to a minimum of 35 fuelers. Additionally, if you carried 10 x 5 gallon fuel cans on a Stryker, you would get an additional 300 miles or 72 hours of operations before a refuel. With a M113A3, you would get an additional 150 miles or 36 hours of operations. With a MTVL, you would get an additional 100+ miles and about 24 hours of operations prior to a refuel. So as your fuel economy decreases, your ability to conduct sustained operations is reduced. Thus, since your ability to ‘self-fuel’ through fuel cans is reduced, you would need to compensate with a couple more fuelers. Fuel Comparison. A real comparision would be a band tracked M113 with its new engines vs the Stryker. (The M113, is being pulled out of mothballs and being sent to Iraq. These M113 are to recieve additional armor and new engine (by 2010)) That said, in general a wheeled vehical will almost always beat a tracked vehical, if for no other reason then friction. SHEK – The Platform Power Demonstration was held at Fort Knox, KY, in 1999, and the platform decision for the IBCT was made in 2000. The proposals in 2000 by UDLP and GDLS were the choices available for the Army to decide. I am interested to see how much improvement the band tracks make on noise and fuel economy, because that would cut into the advantage held by the Stryker. However, I have yet to find a site that compares the decibel level of the Stryker vs. a band-tracked M113A3, and I don’t see this leveling the playing field. For example, every morning I wake up when my neighbor starts his F250 with diesel engine; however, in Iraq, I never woke up when the Strykers, that were the same distance from my bed, were fired up. That’s the level that M113s need to get to be equal. Here is a link to a Mike Sparks website that lists some advantages and disadvanatages of the rubber band track. I would be very careful with his conclusions. As a M113 fanatic, he tends to publish only positive M113 news/facts/stories and only negative LAV news/facts/stories, so the many of the conclusions he draws are not sound. http://www.geocities.com/equipmentshop/bandtracks.htm Benefits of Band-Track Technology Following are recorded benefits relative to T130 steel track based on M113 testing by TACOM/TARDEC at Yuma Proving Ground, and by United Defense at Pelham Range, Fort McClellan in Alabama. ~ Weight – Reduced by approximately 50% of standard T130 steel track ~ Cost – 10% less than T130 steel track ~ Durability -4000+ miles ~ Noise – Reduced by 6 dB (A), interior and exterior (reduction to level comparable to heavy truck) ~ Vibration Reduced by 30% ~ Maintenance – Minimal to negligible. There is no periodic replacement of pads, no tightening of pin fasteners, no blocks to replace. Road damage – Negligible – No metallic components to contact road. ~ Roadwheel life – Improved – Continuous running surface/non-metallic guides ~ Low mass and inertia – Improved acceleration, improved braking ~ IR/EM signature – Reduced ~ Rolling Resistance – 17% – 35% less than T130 on hard surface ~ Aggressiveness – Comparable to steel track; better in mud, snow, and ice * Bullet-resistant Disadvantages somewhat of Band Track Technology There are currently some disadvantages relative to existing steel track, which United Defense/SII are working to mitigate. ~ Field installation is somewhat more difficult (currently, two Soldiers can change track in about an hour and one half). ~ Somewhat more susceptible to mine damage (mine resistance has not been yet incorporated into the design -this will occur over the next year). ~ There is a repair limp-home kit, but further development is necessary. As far as the M113A3s, I am fairly certain that there are not any M113s being pulled out of mothballs for Iraq, except maybe to replace battle losses (the M113s in mothballs are M113A2s, so they would need the A3 RISE upgrade first and then the additional armor). The M113A3s that are receiving additional armor and slat armor are already in Iraq and are serving with mechanized units as their engineer vehicles, medical evacuation vehicles, and command and control vehicles. In reference to the fuel economy, I was using figures based on the M113A3 RISE upgrade (started in 1987) that includes the newer engine that you are referring to. The Stryker (104 inches) is taller then the M113 (98.5 inches). At least vs ‘standard’ M113. But remember there are lots of different types of M113 out there. SHEK – The M113 FOV has a definite advantage in this area. On the Tire Issue. The Stryker Tires are rated with/Run-Flat Capability: 150 miles at 50 miles per hour Ballistic Capability against the following ballistic threats 0.44lb PMN mine 75 miles at 50 miles per hour 30 mm HE round 75 miles at 50 miles per hour 30 mm KE round 75 miles at 50 miles per hour M74 Bomblet 75 miles at 50 miles per hour In general an M113 tracks are harder to knock out then the Stryker’s wheels. That said, if you knock out, throw a track or what not, the M113 is in trouble, where as the a Stryker losing a wheel still have mobility. In theory, the Stryker Wheels should last a lot longer then tracks. In practice, I believe that the Stryker’s wheel fail rate is comproable to the M113 track replacement requirement. SHEK – I’ve seen Strykers driving with 5 tires on them cross-country (albeit at a slow speed) and had Strykers drive extended distances on only 7 tires without adverse effects to mobility/speed. In Iraq, Strykers complete missions all the time with degraded tires from IED explosions. I am not aware of tires that have be destroyed from small arms fire. The slow speed to change track on the M113 was a factor in the decision to select the LAV platform. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2001/b-2869255.htm Here is the excerpt from the GAO decision on UDLP’s appeal. UDLP’s ICV was evaluated as requiring up to 135 minutes to enter short track mode in the event of a track problem, significantly longer than the time required for GM/GDLS’s wheeled ICV either to change a wheel or to proceed based on the ‘run flat’ mode of its tires, and would be able to proceed in a degraded mode (short track) at only approximately 7 mph, while GM/GDLS’s ICV could proceed in a degraded mode at speeds in excess of 30 mph. The SSA viewed these UDLP disadvantages as having a significant negative impact on road marches by causing loss of cohesiveness in march formations, and as being ‘counter to the basic deployment and utilization concept for the BCT, which envisions quick deployment and engagement.’ As far as the fail rate/replacement rate, the Stryker tires wins from the data that I’ve seen. In Iraq, with 700 miles being placed on the tires right off the bat from the operational movement from Kuwait to Iraq, hundreds of IED attacks, operations in the unbearable heat (hot pavement wears down rubber very fast), and 1/4 of the Stryker fleet conducting convoy security between south of Baghdad and north of Baghdad covering nearly 200 miles, the 3/2 ID SBCT was going through 11 tires a day (from CALL Report), or an average of 200 days for a vehicle to go through a set of tires. The information that I have seen about rubber band tracks is that they will last 4000 miles. Once you have the operating in the high temperatures of Iraq, this will decrease. Also, IEDs will further reduce this MTBF (mean time between failures), although as James correctly points out, you will lose fewer tracks to IEDs than wheels, although wheels will give you better protection against the explosive device (for example, the IED that went off directly underneath the wheel that was directly below one of my Stryker drivers. Thus, I would estimate that you would probably get about 50-75% of the usage from a band track compared to a Stryker tire. Additionally, with band tracks, since it is continuous, there is no ‘short-tracking.’ It is an all or nothing deal. Central tire inflation. A stryker with slat armor, has to disable its central tire inflation control. Tracked vehicals have an inherent carry capasity advantage due to low ground pressure and better weight distribution. SHEK – M113 tracks exert a lower ground pressure than Stryker tires. Thus, there is a cross-country advantage. However, this advantage was deemed only significantly superior in the German wet category, one of the six categories. Interestingly (or ironically), ‘the only vehicle that became stuck on the cross-country course was UDLP’s ICV.’ Lateral stability. A stryker with slat armor has its movement compromised. Tight 30 Mph turns with slat armor would not be the best idea. Without the additional armor, the Stryker would most likely outclass the M113 on paved surfaces. [One ofter overlooked problem with tracked vehicals. They chew up roads and property. Every time there was a reforger operation, we had to shell out a few million to pissed off germans because of road damage, sidwalk damage, and the occational tank that plowed into a house. SHEK – During our NTC rotation, we were restricted to 25mph offroad. However, at that speed, we would have to stop every 1km to allow my 1SG to catch up because his HMMWV couldn’t handle the terrain at that speed. He was steaming mad everytime he caught up and would yell at me. In the Strykers, we hardly felt a thing, while in his HMMWV, if he weren’t seat belted in, he probably would have been thrown from the vehicle. However, the first company to be fielded the Strykers were allowed (or decided on their own to ignore the speed limits) and drove 60mph across the Fort Irwin desert. As far as damaging property, the rubber band tracks on a M113 will alleviate this problem. Can the Stryker be parachute-dropped? Sure, anything can. Now would it work afterwards? With enough duct tape and a big shovel to dig it out of the crater, you could get a Stryker into the fray. SHEK – The ORD for the IAV did not include parachute droppable as a requirement. Why, because you cannot sustain offensive operations for an armored force via airdrop. FYI, though, they are testing a parachute system that can be used to airdrop the Stryker. The only reason I can think of is to air drop the MGS since it will be one variant that is too heavy to fly. However, my biggest concern for either vehicle is how the C4ISR will react to the shock. Also, if you look at the M113 being airdropped, the UDLP website shows that the air drop weight is almost 1,000 lbs less than the curb weight, so the conclusion that I draw from that is that the M113 doesn’t have any combat load and actually has equipment stripped from it in order to airdrop. I have not seen the FM that covers preparing the M113 for airdrop, so my conclusion could be wrong, but it is a logical possible explanation. So, I don’t see you gaining a whole lot by airdropping the M113. Besides, the primary airborne missions of the 75th, 173rd, and 82nd is airfield seizure. This is a much more efficient manner of delivering cargo, so I can see why air droppable wasn’t a requirement in the ORD. C-130 issue: M113 fully locked and loaded can drive on and off a C-130. A Stryker cannot. Depending on the verison, a Styker could be up in running in a matter of a few hours, or less if you were properly motivated. SHEK – Wrong. This is an apples to oranges comparison. A M113A3 with CROWS or RWS would have to fold the RWS/CROWS over just like the Stryker. The CROWS height is listed as just under 30′, and with a max height of 106′ for C130 transport and the height of the M113A3 being 86.5′, the CROWS/RWS cannot be erect during flight. Also, at 105.75′ wide, the M113 would have 7.25′ left in total on the sides to fit rucksacks/ammunition in order to follow load plans that have them on the side. Therefore, the exact same steps would need to be taken by M113s when they exit the C130 — replace all communications antennae and flip up the RWS/CROWS and boot the system up so it can conduct its self tests/calibration. This is the point that I consider the vehicle ready to fight. Next, as the situation dictates, rucksacks and any other load items that are placed internal or in an external location other than its load plan can be reconfigured to its full combat configuration. http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2002infantry/topolski.pdf Now, as far as the true times for the Stryker to reconfigure after C130 flight, all Strykers are combat capable within 90 seconds of exiting the C130 (it can shoot, move, and communicate). To get rucksacks and ammunition cans back into combat configuration takes additional time. From start to finish, my fastest infantry squad did it in approximately 4:15, with my slowest squad somewhere in the six minute range. With fewer passengers, my CV and my XO’s CV were in the 9-10 minute range. However, with fewer passengers, we could have left these items inside the vehicle if needed until a later time if required. The two slowest variants were the MC (under 30 minutes) and MEV (around 60 minutes). However, these times would be reduced to about 10-15 minutes with a trained crew of 5-6 soldiers that would run a ‘reconfiguration’ station at the airfield for incoming Stryker variants require a significant amount of stowage racks that need to be reinstalled upon landing (the mortar carrier has a crew of 5, the medical evacuation vehicle only has a crew of 3). To further place this into perspective, the IBCT force doesn’t have a ‘forced entry’ requirement, which means that the airfield would be secured by a ‘force entry’ force such as the 173rd ABN BDE, 82nd ABN DIV, or 75th RGR REGT. These vehicles wouldn’t be fighting off the ramp. Bottomline, the Stryker and M113 are equal in being ready to fight ‘off the ramp.’ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m113-specs.htm http://www.uniteddefense.com/www.m113.com/m113a3ch.html (airdrop weight) Pivot ability is important, that said, there is no inherent reason why a wheeled vehical cannot pivot. So if this was a critical abilty, you could make a Stryker pivot. M113 vs Stryker tests: Yes they were unfair. That said, the Stryker is meant to a road based vehical with limited combat ability, and intended for conflcts where there is little significant opposition. The M113, was ment as a means to keep imfantry up with the tanks. It did so, and still can do so. The M113 however, was not made for the same mission as the Stryker, so naturally it failed. SHEK – The Bradley Fighting Vehicle was developed and replaced the M113 two decades ago, with one of the reasons being that the M113 couldn’t keep up with the M1 Abrams. That wasn’t the sole reason, but one of the reasons. While the A3 RISE upgrade cut much of the difference with the upgraded engine, the reality is that the IBCT wasn’t designed to work with tanks. As far as the tests being ‘unfair,’ that complaint by UDLP was rejected in April 2001 (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2001/b-2869255.htm). Reading the O&O for the IBCT, the vision for the IBCT is as a force that is capable of being deployed via sea, land, and air with the capability to conduct long range road marches (operational distances) to their area of operation. The requirement was that the vehicle need to be able to sustain a minimum march speed of 40mph — a requirement that the M113A3 marginally met, barely able to sustain 40mph. Also, an examination of the operational environment has demonstrated that our forces will be increasingly fighting in urban areas and that our adversaries will have a more developed road network that past conflicts. This trend can be referred to the urbanization of the globe. Finally, remember that the platform is really secondary in the IBCT. By design, it is an organization that is infantry-centric, where the infantry are the primary closing force and use the platform to get them to a point of positional advantage, using the digital systems onboard for an informational advantage, and the protection of the platform for a survivability advantage. Your questions are not simplistic. They represent a very logical serious of questions about a weapon system designed for peace keeping, but has a combat mission vs a vehical that was designed for combat. SHEK – Here’s a few stories on the ‘peacekeeping’ missions we are currently involved where Strykers are being used. One covers 3/2 ID (SBCT), another covers 1/25 ID (SBCT), and the other one covers the use of Strykers by the ultimate peacekeeping force, the 75th Ranger Regiment. http://www.armytimes.com/print.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-452676.php http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/2005/06/battle-for-mosul-part-iii.html http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-669719.php The latest M113 variant called ‘ACV-S TRACKED ARMOURED COMBAT VEHICLE (STRETCHED)’ IMO meets and exceeds virtually all of the Strykers combat ability requirements, while providing better troop protection and comfort. http://www.army-technology.com/projects/acv-s/ SHEK – This appears to be very similar to the MVTL versions. With the need to basically triple the amount of HEMMT fuelers, a vehicle that isn’t C130 transportable, this vehicle would be hard pressed in reducing the logistical footprint of the IBCT, a major criteria in the platform selection decision. While, I do see the need for a 70mph sprint, I think, the pivot maneuver that a track vehicle can perform, can be at least equally important in closed quarters to that top speed. SHEK – The M113 does have an advantage with the ability to pivot steer. I never recall a situation where the lack of pivot steering affected a mission. However, overcoming this requires the vehicle commander to be thinking everytime he stops to ensure that he is not only in the best position to provide complementary fires with the M2/MK-19, but also that he has a pre-planned egress route designated. Finally I believe that the M113 variants compared here, are dated. I am not sure that the M113 could ever be as quiet as a Stryker might be, but adding rubber pads to the tracks, along with some other sensible mods could go a long ways towards reducing noise. SHEK – The major variant that is being compared is the M113A3, which went through its last major upgrade starting in 1987 and took years to complete. However, many of the same specs are the same in the M113A4, MTVL, outside of the major ones that I covered. I pull the majority of my data from the GAO document that covers the UDLP protest, experience with the Stryker, and available, open source information on the M113A3. We are comparing a recently, and constantly modified product (the Stryker) to something that has not been updated (for whatever reason) in quite a while (M113). SHEK – UDLP submitted their proposal based on updates and modifications that they proposed for the IAV. Based on these proposals in 2000 and the IBCT O&O, the LAV platform won. Sometimes, newer technologies, can offer better (and sometimes cheaper) upgrades to an existing system. SHEK – I agree with you here. In the end, the LAV and M113 platforms both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the Army chose the LAV platform based on clear criteria stacked up against the O&O. Based on my experience, in the Iraqi operating environment, I could not have performed my mission as well in a M113.

  21. Shek As usual, you provide a wealth of information. A point that you bring up is most telling, ‘Finally, remember that the platform is really secondary in the IBCT.’ As I have stated earlier, the Stryker is fine vehicle. My issue with the Stryker has more to do with its cost and capabilities. The concept of the Stryker was to perform missions less then combat. This concept was formed due to the high pace of army deployments in basically peace keeping roles. The army really did not have units to perform such a mission. The Stryker brigades, were to perform these missions, and upon those missions end point, the units would go to 6 months of training, and be reintegrated into the general army. Its no knock on the Stryker units. They were created for a particular mission and they are doing a great job in that mission. The current conflict in Iraq is right up the Stryker’s ally. Basically limited low intensity conflict where a heavy armed police/strike force is needed. That said, the success of the Stryker units in Iraq should not be looked at as a validation of the Stryker units combat ability. You have to keep in mind, Mosul is not Stalingrad. You point of ‘By design, it is an organization that is infantry-centric, where the infantry are the primary closing force and use the platform to get them to a point of positional advantage’ is telling. A Stryker unit is a light infantry unit. Light infantry are basically a defensive force, with limited offensive capability. The army is using the concept of information dominance to boost the combat ability of the Stryker unit. Basically, the army has the belief that the use of the advanced information technology will provide the Stryker unit with the ability out move and outfight a heavier unit. In the most basic of terms, I do not believe that the Stryker unit will be able to perform its combat role. However, the Stryker should be able to perform its peace keeping role. That said, the Stryker is simply a vehicle that costs too much and does not bring enough to the table to warrant the level of investment the army is devoting to it. Upgrading the M113 will give the army 90% of what it wants at half the cost. Funds poured into the Stryker program could better be served to fund other programs. Israel recently decided to upgrade its M113 fleet, instead of adopting the Stryker. They sighted, cost as a main factor. Though, firepower and armor protection played a role. Note that this is a joint US- Israel effort. I would argue that Israel has forgotten more about modern armored combat in urban areas the US has ever known. http://www.defensenews.com/channel.php?C=thisweek&P=20050523 On the fuel front. ‘The one area where it’s not performing as promised is in fuel consumption,’ said Lt. Col. Dennis Thompson, commander of the brigade’s support battalion. While the vehicle gets the advertised 5 to 6 miles per gallon on the highway, it gets only 2 to 3 mpg in stop-and-go maneuvers over rough terrain.’ http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1003/101003nj1.htm On the concept of cost: ‘The operating costs over a 20-year lifespan, both agencies estimated that each Stryker vehicle would cost $2.9 million to operate and maintain compared to $3.1 million for the M-113A3. ‘So, if you can upgrade a M113 at a cost of less then 1.2 million, the army comes out ahead. 1.2 million will buy you a lot of M113 upgrades. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/gao/d03671.pdf On the sound front, you are quite right the M113 is a loud vehicle. In fact, its slightly louder then an M1 tank. I am not sure that the band track -6 Db would not be that effective, but I am open to a go study of how effective the track would be. At idle 85- 02 Db 10 mph, 105 Db 20 mph, 109 Db 30 mph, 113 Db 40 mph, 118 Db With respect to C-130 loading issues, we both know that the Army is playing games with the C-130 requirements. The Stryker as currently configured, cannot be loaded into a C-130 without significant modification. (eg. The slat armor) But as you state, ‘To further place this into perspective, the IBCT force doesn’t have a ‘forced entry’ requirement which means that the airfield would be secured by a ‘force entry’ force such as the 173rd ABN BDE, 82nd ABN DIV, or 75th RGR REGT’ I find it rather ironic, that the Stryker unit, designed as bridge between the capabilities of the light units and the heavy units, has to depend on the light units in order to be deployed. To make a long story short. Shek, I think you may end up winning the battle, but lose the war. The Stryker to date has drained about 12 billion from the army procurement, research & development budget. Odds our, we are going to have 6 Stryker brigades, and no significant FCS deployment. I sincerely hope that your confidence in the Stryker is proven true when a Stryker unit comes muzzle to muzzle with a motor rifle regiment.

  22. James, You continue to bring up good issues, but you are continuing to misrepresent the SBCT as a ‘peacekeeping’ force and Iraq as a ‘peacekeeping’ operation. JAMES – Shek, as usual, you provide a wealth of information. A point that you bring up is most telling, ‘Finally, remember that the platform is really secondary in the IBCT.’ SHEK – Is your issue with the IBCT concept, or the choice of platform for the IBCT? JAMES – As I have stated earlier, the Stryker is fine vehicle. My issue with the Stryker has more to do with its cost and capabilities. The concept of the Stryker was to perform missions less then combat. This concept was formed due to the high pace of army deployments in basically peace keeping roles. The army really did not have units to perform such a mission. The Stryker brigades, were to perform these missions, and upon those missions end point, the units would go to 6 months of training, and be reintegrated into the general army. SHEK – This doesn’t make sense to me. If the Stryker Brigade was designed to execute operations only with the spectrum of peace operations as you seem to claim, then why would it need 6 months training upon completion of a peace operation to be reintegrated into the general army? This is contradictory. The reality is that the SBCT was never designed as a peace operations force, but as a medium weight force that is designed to be optimized in small scale contingencies. However, it retains the capability with augmentation (aviation, chemical, military police, air defense) to fight in major theater wars. SBCTs 5 and 6 will be equipped with an aviation squadron and then SBCTs 1-4 will be fielded with an aviation squadron as well, based on the lessons of the organizational design of the aviation squadrons in SBCTs 5 and 6. From the IBCT ORD: ‘The IBCT is a full spectrum, combat force. It has utility, through extensive analysis, in all operational environments against all projected future threats, but it is designed and optimized primarily for employment in small scale contingency (SSC) operations in complex and urban terrain, confronting low-en and mid-range threats that may employ both conventional and asymmetric capabilities. The IBCT deploys very rapidly, executes early entry, and conducts effective combat operations immediately on arrival to prevent, contain, stabilize, or resolve a conflict through shaping and decisive operations (section 1.a(3)) . . . As a full spectrum combat force, the IBCT is capable of conducting all major doctrinal operations including offensive, defensive, stability, and support actions . . . Properly integrated through a mobile robust C4ISR network, these core capabilities compensate for platform limitations that may exist in the close fight, leading to enhanced force effectiveness (section 1.a(4)).’ http://www.nap.edu/books/0309089360/html/13.html As far as the definition of SSC, it is not equivalent to ‘peace operations.’ ‘However, SSCs are not precisely defined in the QDR, and indeed there is no consistent expansion of the SSC acronym. Evidently, Small-Scale Contingency (SSC) operations cover the full spectrum of operations beyond Stability and Support Operations [SASO] but short of Major Theater War, such as limited strikes. In many usages, the SSC construct is used to cover all operations other than Major Theater War, to include SASO.’ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/ssc.htm JAMES – Its no knock on the Stryker units. They were created for a particular mission and they are doing a great job in that mission. The current conflict in Iraq is right up the Stryker’s ally. Basically limited low intensity conflict where a heavy armed police/strike force is needed. That said, the success of the Stryker units in Iraq should not be looked at as a validation of the Stryker units combat ability. You have to keep in mind, Mosul is not Stalingrad. SHEK – I would consider this a strawman argument. The scale of Stalingrad, the nearly symmetric capabilities, and outdated military technology used makes Stalingrad a poor example. 1) With precision munitions, you will not find the rubbling effects that you had in Stalingrad created by what would now be considered indiscriminate shelling and bombing. 2) Each side had armies larger than our current active duty Army. To give an appreciation for the scale of combat, approximately 300,000 Germans were killed and approximately 400,000 Soviets were killed. 3) The Red Air Force challenged the air superiority of the Luftwafte as the battle of Stalingrad progressed and German troops were often strafed and harassed by Soviet airpower. 4) While the core elements of German Panzer Divisions were mechanized, you don’t have the scale of mechanization/motorization, especially among logistics forces that you have today, meaning that campaigns cannot be executed as swiftly. What the Stryker has demonstrated is that it can crush dismounted enemy attacks, survive all but the largest of IEDs, survive RPG attacks. As more UAV and PGM technology comes on line, the Stryker will only become more lethal. While lacking armored forces and artillery, the battle for Fallujah provides a better glimpse into future high intensity urban battlefields. Against a prepared defense, the US was able to use precision guided munitions to strike targets of opportunity during the pre-assault phase, resulting in minor collateral damage and little to no counter-mobility effects. Only during the assault phase did large numbers of buildings become damaged as the M1A2 was used as an urban assault gun platform. However, mobility assets were available (which are also available in the SBCT’s engineer company) that prevented any counter-mobility effects. If heavy concentrations of rubble are expected that might test the SBCT’s mobility assets, then D9 dozers can be attached as necessary. Next, watching footage reveals that M1114s were used extensively in Fallujah and Marines were often transporting in 7-ton trucks with little to no ballistic protection. Besides the fact that a Stryker battalion did participate in the Fallujah operation as a cordon force, if unarmored and lightly armored vehicles conducted operations in the largest urban combat facing the United States military since Vietnam, then there’s no reason why medium armored Strykers with RPG protection wouldn’t perform even better. JAMES – You point of ‘By design, it is an organization that is infantry-centric, where the infantry are the primary closing force and use the platform to get them to a point of positional advantage’ is telling. A Stryker unit is a light infantry unit. Light infantry are basically a defensive force, with limited offensive capability. SHEK – US doctrine is almost wholly offensive orientated, to include light infantry. The bread and butter of the light infantry are raids and ambushes, both offensive operations. The difference between light infantry and mechanized infantry is the potential pace and firepower of these operations, with mounted forces having an obvious advantage. JAMES – The army is using the concept of information dominance to boost the combat ability of the Stryker unit. Basically, the army has the belief that the use of the advanced information technology will provide the Stryker unit with the ability out move and outfight a heavier unit. SHEK – The success of the German Panzer Divisions during their 1940 and 1941 campaigns was in large part due to the combined arms organization of their units that the Allied Forces didn’t have as well as the superior communications they had due to equipping each tank with FM communications. They had the organization and communications available to react to identified weak points to exploit these weak spots. While this is not a perfect analogy, as the Panzer tank was the main combat vehicle of these divisions, it does provide a historical analogy where communications and organizational design provided a distinct advantage. JAMES – That said, the Stryker is simply a vehicle that costs too much and does not bring enough to the table to warrant the level of investment the army is devoting to it. Upgrading the M113 will give the army 90% of what it wants at half the cost. Funds poured into the Stryker program could better be served to fund other programs. SHEK – While cheaper, there’s no way that the M113 equipped IBCT would have been half the cost once you look at the required upgrades, military construction, and equipment costs (C4ISR) of the SBCT. I could see it being 75% of the cost, but that I wasn’t interested in the cheapest platform during operations in Iraq — I wanted the best platform and the Stryker was it for me. JAMES – Israel recently decided to upgrade its M113 fleet, instead of adopting the Stryker. They sighted, cost as a main factor. Though, firepower and armor protection played a role. Note that this is a joint US- Israel effort. I would argue that Israel has forgotten more about modern armored combat in urban areas the US has ever known. http://www.defensenews.com/channel.php?C=thisweek&P=20050523 SHEK – If I were Israel, I probably would have chosen the M113 as well. They’ve invested huge amounts of money to overcome the deficiencies of the M113s that they bought many years ago and are much further along in M113 upgrades than the United States is, so their required upgrades compared to ours is marginal. Plus, they don’t have the logistics issues that we face: the IDF fights along interior lines of communications from permanent, fixed bases, with strong logistics nodes. They are not a force projection based army that needs to move by sea or air. They don’t have to move fuel, spare parts, etc. If they need more combat power in an area of operations, they mobilize the necessary reserve forces that most likely live a few miles from the action and can be in the fight within days and demobilize days later once the crisis has passed. Bottomline, the Israelis don’t face the strategic challenges that the United States Army faces, and so vehicles that may fit our requirements may not fit theirs, and vice versa. JAMES – On the fuel front. ‘The one area where it’s not performing as promised is in fuel consumption,’ said Lt. Col. Dennis Thompson, commander of the brigade’s support battalion. While the vehicle gets the advertised 5 to 6 miles per gallon on the highway, it gets only 2 to 3 mpg in stop-and-go maneuvers over rough terrain.’ http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1003/101003nj1.htm SHEK – These stats cover the initial fielding period of the Strykers were there was zero experience in getting the most out of the Stryker. Drivers stayed in 8×8 instead of 4×8 when it wasn’t necessary and were inexperienced in handling cross-country terrain. This accounts for some of the lower fuel efficiency. Next, MILES gear has a huge impact on fuel economy because of the power that it drains. With MILES gear, I had to run my Stryker to recharge the auxiliary batteries that powered the C4ISR systems every hour. Additionally, because of our inexperience, we would run the vehicle for a half hour to make sure the batteries were recharged. As we became more experienced with the vehicle, we found that you only needed to run the vehicle about 10-15 minutes to get the batteries charged. Without the MILES, we determined that you only needed to recharge the batteries every two hours. Finally, once our mechanics found a battery with a deeper discharge capability, we were able to stretch that time to around 3-4 hours (and I had a command vehicle that ate up power much faster than the ICVs). Thus, this quote is misleading on the actually cross-country fuel economy, and I would put it at the 3.5 to 4 mpg range. JAMES – On the concept of cost: ‘The operating costs over a 20-year lifespan, both agencies estimated that each Stryker vehicle would cost $2.9 million to operate and maintain compared to $3.1 million for the M-113A3. ‘So, if you can upgrade a M113 at a cost of less then 1.2 million, the army comes out ahead. 1.2 million will buy you a lot of M113 upgrades. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/gao/d03671.pdf SHEK – I’d agree with you that the M113 would have been a less expensive option. By the time you upgrade M113A2s, upgrade to a remotely operated weapons system, add armor protection to get the M113s to 14.5mm, then you have two apples or two oranges, not apples and oranges. At that point, you aren’t even close to $1.2m remaining to spend on upgrades. JAMES – On the sound front, you are quite right the M113 is a loud vehicle. In fact, its slightly louder then an M1 tank. I am not sure that the band track -6 Db would not be that effective, but I am open to a go study of how effective the track would be. At idle 85- 02 Db 10 mph, 105 Db 20 mph, 109 Db 30 mph, 113 Db 40 mph, 118 Db SHEK – For comparison purposes, here are some everyday decibel levels. With band track at 40mph, you have the equivalent of a rock concert approaching your location. While I don’t have stats on a Stryker, if you are standing 50m from an intersection, you won’t hear the Stryker until it is turning the corner towards you. 85Db — heavy traffic, noisy restaurant 90Db — truck, shouted conversation 95-110Db — motorcycle 110-120Db — rock concert 120Db — chainsaw 110Db — leaf blower, power saw, car horn, baby crying http://www.lhh.org/noise/decibel.htm JAMES – With respect to C-130 loading issues, we both know that the Army is playing games with the C-130 requirements. The Stryker as currently configured, cannot be loaded into a C-130 without significant modification. (eg. The slat armor) But as you state, SHEK – The C130 transport requirement never included slat armor or add-on-armor. This requirement was written long before the platform decision was made. Even the M113 couldn’t even come close to fitting with this additional armor protection added. Dead heat on rolling off combat capable and flying with RPG armor on a C130. JAMES – ‘To further place this into perspective, the IBCT force doesn’t have a ‘forced entry’ requirement which means that the airfield would be secured by a ‘force entry’ force such as the 173rd ABN BDE, 82nd ABN DIV, or 75th RGR REGT’ I find it rather ironic, that the Stryker unit, designed as bridge between the capabilities of the light units and the heavy units, has to depend on the light units in order to be deployed. SHEK – No irony here. If you want an airfield in enemy territory, you have to seize it the old fashioned way. Whether it was OBJ Rhino in Afghanistan, the H series airfields in Iraq, the airfield at Port-au-Prince in Haiti in 1994 when we had the 82nd Airborne enroute, we have forces whose primary mission is forced entry, to include airfield seizure. JAMES – To make a long story short. Shek, I think you may end up winning the battle, but lose the war. The Stryker to date has drained about 12 billion from the army procurement, research & development budget. Odds our, we are going to have 6 Stryker brigades, and no significant FCS deployment. I sincerely hope that your confidence in the Stryker is proven true when a Stryker unit comes muzzle to muzzle with a motor rifle regiment. SHEK – To claim that a couple of billion dollars on the Stryker program will be the straw that broke the camel’s back in the $132 billion FCS program is a stretch. FCS will live or die on their ability to prove the technologies envisioned for FCS and spiral them into the current force so that their real world effectiveness can be demonstrated. As far as fighting a motorize rifle regiment, each SBCT currently has over 600 precision guided anti-tank missiles as part of its ammunition basic load. Even without the use of precision guided munitions from the USAF and the USN, the SBCT has an extremely potent organic tank killing capability, not to mention the fact that the M2 and MK19 can destroy most all enemy motorized assets.

  23. Shek -your statement about SBCT, ‘The reality is that the SBCT was never designed as a peace operations force, but as a medium weight force that is designed to be optimized in small scale contingencies.’ James- You position is semi-supported by http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2003armaments/PRESENTER2.ppt where the SBCT ‘s mission is detailed as, for military operations other then war. Sounds good, until you determine the definition of ‘Small Scale Contingencies’ or otherwise termed is a range between ‘military operations other than war (MOOTW)’ and small scale strikes. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=2790&sequence=0 This site details, the cost of SSC ‘Small Scale Contingencies’ its clear from this CBO report that SSC operations were not considered part the ‘standard’ army mission. The Rand report [ http://www.rand.org/publications/IP/IP167/ ] that details the rationale the army used to create the SBCT units and the effect of SSC deployments on units. The section on point reads in relevant part. ‘The capability of units deploying to smaller-scale contingencies is affected as well as their availability. Although many tasks performed in these contingencies are similar to those done in major wars–e.g., occupying an observation post, countermine operations, and patrolling–the conditions and standards can differ markedly. For instance, in peace operations, patrolling tends to be overt rather than covert. It is important to demonstrate a presence, so patrols take steps to call attention to themselves. In combat, the reverse is true. When the unit returns from the contingency, it has to rebuild its essential wartime skills. Not only does combat require different tactics and techniques, it also requires a different mindset. This recovery period can last from a few weeks to several months depending on the type of unit, the nature and duration of the contingency, and the opportunity to train on warfighting skills while deployed’ James- So we could argue about how many angels can dance on a head of a pin, but the IBCT was conceived to conduct SSC operations, so as not to impair the readiness of the rest of the army to conduct war. Its telling that the IBCT units were not considered in the doctrine of the Win-Hold-Win concept for warfighting. That said, the IBCT does have a war mission, and can be incorporated into the main force. It should be noted that the Stryker is deemed survivable and capable in SSC operations. I have not seen any statement that the Stryker is survivable and capable in war operations. SHEK – I would consider this a strawman argument. The scale of Stalingrad, the nearly symmetric capabilities, and outdated military technology used makes Stalingrad a poor example. James-I used Stalingrad as an example of full scale combat, but if you want a more modern battlefield. We can talk Grozny ‘The Russians lost 102 of 120 armored vehicles to dismounted Chechen hunter-killer teams. Chechen forces were successful for many varied reasons, including their organization of fighting units, dedication to their cause, and the inherent vulnerability of the Russian vehicles they faced. The Chechen forces in Grozny were organized into combat groups of 15 to 20 personnel, further subdivided into three- to four-man fighting cells.9 Each cell consisted of an antitank gunner with RPG-7 or RPG-8, a machine gunner, and a sniper. The sniper and machine gunner would engage a vehicle to pin down supporting infantry and keep the vehicle buttoned-up while the antitank gunner would engage and kill the armored vehicle. Teams would deploy at ground level, on second and third stories, and in basements with normally five or six teams attacking a single vehicle simultaneously. Hunterkiller teams would also trap columns in city streets where destruction of the first and last vehicles would trap the column, thus allowing for total destruction of the rest. side, rear, top, driver’s hatch, and any area not covered by ERA.9’ Now the Russians did virtually everything wrong tactically, but my point remains. Unless things in Iraq are significantly different from what is being reported, I doubt that the Stryker units are facing anything like the type of combat exhibited by the Chechen’s. Thus I would argue that if the russians had been using the Stryker’s. I doubt that the Stryker would last much longer then the Russian forces in Grozny. If Grozny does not work for you, we can talk about the Israel assault on Jenin or we can talk about the US army in Mogadishu. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2002/un-jenin-a-es-10-186.htm Historically, urban combat has been a high casualty affair, with large scale destruction. (though the Russians have made city leveling into an art form) At this point, I would place the Fallujah as more of an aberration then the standard. In Fallujah, you had one side with extreme air and land superiority and capability vs a small force of poorly trained insurgents of approximately 1 to 3 thousand. The local population was evacuatied, and many of the insurgents left the city prior to the attack. To make Fallujah the model, is to ignore the lessons of history and applies a set of assumptions that may or may not translate into future battlefields. I am concerned about one statement you made, ‘The scale of Stalingrad, the nearly symmetric capabilities,’ I would feel uncomfortable with such a statement, as the capabilities of a particular unit are dependent on a host of factors and you should never base your assessment on the assumption that you have superior capabilities and/or your opponent lacks that ability to negate your superiority. Remember in WWII France had more and better tanks then Germany, plus the Maginot Line line. With respect to swift campaigns. When you can out move Genghis Khan, I’ll be impressed. I believe that George Patton had a good flank speed. Snappy comment aside, the mobility of the Stryker’s is a potential liability. You are going to have long supply lines that are thinly defended. Shek -What the Stryker has demonstrated is that it can crush dismounted enemy attacks, survive all but the largest of IEDs, survive RPG attacks. As more UAV and PGM technology comes on line, the Stryker will only become more lethal. The slat armor has limited effectiveness, especially against anti-tank RPG’s. More over, some of the new Stryker upgrades may come back to haunt you. The new active RPG defense that automatically launches pellets at incoming rounds may prove to be unpopular with the dismounts. The D9 dozers weigh in at 48784 kg (107548 lb) So in practice they are not going to be there for you. As for the trucks, I would refer you to this posting by a Marine Tank Commander in Fallujah, http://www.blackfive.net/main/2005/07/cigar_marine__w.html#more The key point being that, the tank had to be resupplied by a chain of Marines carrying the ammo as trucks were not permitted in Fallujah. As for the Doctrine of offense, I will bow to your superior knowledge. ( I guess I am still stuck on the Fulga gap and 50 thousand tanks. ) SHEK – The success of the German Panzer Divisions during their 1940 and 1941 campaigns was in large part due to the combined arms organization of their units that the Allied Forces didn’t have as well as the superior communications they had due to equipping each tank with FM communications. James- Your position is debatable. The German army was tactically superior to its opponents in general and the German infantry in particular was superior in both tactics and equipment. Communication is factor but early in the war, you could argue that the Allies suffered from strategic incompetence and political paralysis.

  24. HI EVERBODY! Sorry for jumping into your discusion, but is this some kind of joke or what: ‘Serbian rebels rise up and start ethnic cleansing in Kosovo….’ Where did you find this info? Thos is totaly wrong? Who where the rebels, who was defending own land…..? Please find out more and than talk about Kosovo. All the best.

  25. Just taking your points a little at a time, as that old work thing has been cutting into my time. SHEK – The C130 transport requirement never included slat armor or add-on-armor. This requirement was written long before the platform decision was made. Even the M113 couldn’t even come close to fitting with this additional armor protection added. Dead heat on rolling off combat capable and flying with RPG armor on a C130. James- While I have been unable to find the dimension additions, it looks like the IDF’s upgrade would make it in a C-130. If it make the M-113 to wide, the add on modules could still be carried on the plane. The armor add on weight, along with engine, suspension and inclusion of a remote weapon station add 3.25 tonnes. So a M113A3 gross weight is 31,000 + 6500 for the upgrade = 37,500. http://www.defense-update.com/products/l/l-vas.htm

  26. The M113 is 7-8′ narrower than the Stryker. ERA tiles are around 12′ thick per side, not to mention the additional armor required on the backside to prevent the ERA from damaging the hull. So, it won’t fit. However, your point about flying with the armor as a secondary load is correct. You will save 1 bird per every 5 vehicles (assuming that the ERA will fit on one 463L pallet), but I’m not sure if the time savings will be great – MOG limitations will drive this, as it will take less time to offload one plane with 5 ERA pallets vs. 5 planes with a single ERA pallet. With a developped airfield, this won’t be a limiting factor; however, an austere airfield with a low MOG, this will limit how many birds you can bring in in an hour. This will eat into the efficiency gains of being able fly in your MAVs in fewer aircraft.

  27. Shek From the GAO report http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04925.pdf ‘Furthermore, the C-130 aircraft cannot transport many of a Stryker brigade’s vehicles at all. Stryker vehicles make up a little more than 300 of the over 1,000 vehicles of a Stryker brigade, and many of the brigade’s support vehicles, such as fuel trucks, are too large or heavy for C-130 transport.’ Its fairly clear, that the C-130 requirement is a standard that cannot be realistically held. While a basic stryker can be carried, the stryker with add on armor is too heavy and will require additional C-130’s to carry the add on armor. More importantly many of the supporting vehicals are not C-130 capable. IMO, making a C-130 requirement is a false standard, that can only lead to the development of vehicals that are too much of a compromise. I believe that the stryker is a fine vehical. Its just a vehical that is about 5 years too early. In ideal, the stryker should be a hybrid, wheel hub mounted eletrical drives with independent suspension and a light weight power pack.

  28. SHek -However, your point about flying with the armor as a secondary load is correct. You will save 1 bird per every 5 vehicles (assuming that the ERA will fit on one 463L pallet), but I’m not sure if the time savings will be great – MOG limitations will drive this, as it will take less time to offload one plane with 5 ERA pallets vs. 5 planes with a single ERA pallet. With a developped airfield, this won’t be a limiting factor; however, an austere airfield with a low MOG, this will limit how many birds you can bring in in an hour. This will eat into the efficiency gains of being able fly in your MAVs in fewer aircraft. James- A better solution would be too load the C-130 with the MAV (without add on armor) and use the extra tonnage to hold bulky or other types of critical cargo. eg. Food, ammo, medical gear, shelter and so on. The armor modules could then be carried another c-130. One C-130 should be able to carry 5 armor modules. In austere airfields, you could use the Sherpa guided pallets to air drop the armor modules where you want, thus keep your air field running efficiently.

  29. Cost Argument SHEK – I’d agree with you that the M113 would have been a less expensive option. By the time you upgrade M113A2s, upgrade to a remotely operated weapons system, add armor protection to get the M113s to 14.5mm, then you have two apples or two oranges, not apples and oranges. At that point, you aren’t even close to $1.2m remaining to spend on upgrades. Cost of Upgrades Conversion cost of M-113A2 to M-113A3= 222,000 Upgrade Armor Cost = 75,000 Upgrade Remote Weapon = 200,000 Total Upgrade cost = 497,000 Thus, each Stryker has a cost premium of 1.2 million. So you can upgrade 2.4 M113A3’s with 14.7 armor & remote weapon capability. Cost Source http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:CuyK0SezD0MJ:www.rand.org/publications/WP/WP119/WP119.chap7.pdf+M113A3+upgrade+cost&hl=en&client=firefox-a

  30. 1. Motorized narcissist infantry in Stryker trucks are dismal failures unless you think murdering civilians and making more rebels by kicking in door is aok counter-insurgency practice—that is when not being blown up along roads/trails high ground pressure wheels cannot avoid and depend on. Light mechanized infantry in high technology M113 Gavins is what America needs to prevail over and in closed terrains by 3D maneuver. Before Shinseki ruined the Army with his wheeled RMA mouse-clicking firepower peacekeeping truck mentality the Army as an institution knew wheeled trucks are fatally immobile. 2. Steel tracked and rubber-padded M113A3 Gavins beat the Stryker platoon in ALL categories of the Congressionally-mandated comparison evaluation. I know the people involved and they are ready to swear this under oath with protection from Army retribution as whistle blowers. In case you don’t know THE ARMY LIED about the Stryker in these tests. The Army lies all the time when its in the interest of the current mafia running/ruining the Army at the moment. Congress lets them get away with it. We let Congress get away with it. 3. Steel tracks with 10, 000 miles of life beat an air filled rubber tire that busts on day 1 and 100 miles into the mission. The Army is losing its shirt replacing $1000 Stryker tires while steel tracks with rubber pads deliver their full service lives. And oh, yes when a track is broken the rest of its track shoes are connected together and placed back in action. Ever hear of short tracking? Try putting a shredded or burned up rubber tire together. Once we get into the band track practice to put an end to the BS excuses for wheels like 60 mph roads speeds, stealth etc. we will perfect segmented versions that can be repaired economically like track shoes and of course perceft band tracks made out of kevlar type materials that don’t burn like rubber. The days of wheeled trucks are not just numbered, they are over. The wheeled truck is dead meat and obsolete on the 21st century non-linear battlefield where the enemy can attack in any direction at any time. 4. When a land mine goes off it OFTEN shreds more than one Stryker—or any other rubber tire under a truck and rips out the steering rods and suspension making a hulk thats stuck. ONCE IN AWHILE a landmine will go off and a wheeled truck can remain operable, but who wants to be LIMITED to going up and down roads in wheeled trucks and tempt fate and give the enemy easy targets? No, the whole Stryker thing is driven by light infantry narcissists who don’t want to be in tracks lest they look like the ‘mech pussies’ in tracks they look down on. Combine this with general officer racketeering and GDLS greed and you have a poison recipe that fails in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving the real bad guys to escape unscathed because they know they can’t be reached except by M16 versus AK47 (AKM) which they gladly welcome after they first blow up our wheeled trucks. ALL the facts are in favor of using high-technology, v-hull, up-armored, hybrid-electric drive, band-tracked LIGHT but medium armor level protected M113 Gavins. When light infantry narcissists are confronted with these facts and backed into the corner they have a chance to show they are professional but instead pull some ego rabbit (excuse) out of their hat. Usually its the ‘victimology’ rant that they are ‘suffering’ from their own wheeled stupidity and thus, they have a right to die THEIR WAY representing us. Actually, they do not, the American people expect to be SERVED with VICTORY not prolonged operations however ‘brilliantly executed’ to create American heroes in flag-drapped coffins. Hopefully, with enough American body bags and daily military defeats and we will finally resort to high technology light tracks as the ‘last resort’. As Winston Churchill said: ‘Americans always do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other alternatives’ or words to this effect…. So much for the practical ‘Yankee ingenuity’ we no longer have (we used to have it) now that allegedly ‘Christian’ redneck hotheads on self-validation kicks ruin eh, run our military. http://www.cnsnews.com Army, Manufacturer Face Criticism over Combat Vehicle By Matt Purple and Fred Lucas CNSNews.com Correspondent June 18, 2007 (CNSNews.com) – An Army vehicle controversial since it was conceived in the late 1990s is facing mounting scrutiny from military experts and a leading government watchdog amid a recent spike of American casualties in Iraq. The Stryker Light Armored Vehicle, manufactured by General Dynamics, was designed as a fast, medium-weight combat vehicle that can be airlifted into combat zones. It was originally intended as a key component to a more nimble and mobile Army. But since March, when Stryker brigades were deployed in Iraq’s violent Diyala province, casualties associated with the vehicles have been rising steadily. They have been found to be particularly vulnerable to automatic weapons fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). One infantry company stationed in Diyala lost five Strykers in less than a week, the Associated Press reported last month. Still, about 700 soldiers and nearly 100 Stryker vehicles have been deployed to Diyala this year as part of the ‘surge’ of 30,000 additional U.S. troops. ‘The whole basis for the Stryker was the fundamentally false assumption that you did not need heavy armor and you did not need direct, organic firepower,’ retired Col. Douglas MacGregor, a military writer and analyst, told Cybercast News Service. ‘The idea was that you would know where the enemy was and the enemy would not know where you were. This is hardly the case in Iraq.’ Others have defended the vehicle as an important staple in the Army’s overall force. ‘We have to be careful of two things,’ Dan Goure, a vice president at the Lexington Institute, told Cybercast News Service. ‘First, not to think that all vehicles in urban settings or insurgency settings must be 40-ton or 50-ton armored behemoths. And second, that the only kind of conflicts that we’re going to be fighting are Iraq-like. Neither is true.’ A General Accounting Office report issued after a federal investigation of the Stryker and its closest competitor, the United Defense M113, praised the Stryker for being comparatively quiet and heavily armored. The report also noted that the Stryker could achieve a maximum speed of 60 mph which is 15 mph faster than the M113. The Stryker’s speed can be very extremely beneficial in urban warfare, said Kendall Pease, vice president of communications at General Dynamics. ‘This is a transport vehicle. It’s not intended for heavy urban combat, though it has proven its mettle in transporting troops stealthily and quickly into battle.’ Pease told Cybercast News Service. ‘It’s not a tank you can hear coming from eight blocks away.’ Conflict of interest alleged On November 19, 1999, six weeks before Lt. Gen. David K. Heebner was scheduled to retire from his post as the Army’s assistant vice chief of staff, General Dynamics announced that he was taking up a ‘newly created position’ of the company’s vice president of strategic planning. Heebner got 4,000 shares of stock in March 2000. The following November, the Pentagon awarded General Dynamics with a $4 billion contract to build the Strykers. According to the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, by 2005 Heebner’s stock had grown to 28,859 shares, valued at $3.4 million. This sparked suspicion among some Stryker critics that Heebner may have violated conflict of interest rules that prohibit government officials from being directly involved in a matter that could affect their personal financial interests. But an internal Pentagon review into the matter concluded, ‘Given the lack of evidence for a conflict of interest violation, any further investigative work would take on the character of a ‘fishing expedition.” The review, by the Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) office, also stated that in July of 1999 Heebner issued a memo to his staff and supervisors informing them, ‘I have a financial interest in the following organizations because I intend to seek and possible [sic] negotiate employment with them.’ In the memo he listed 12 companies, including General Dynamics. The report also found that he held no General Dynamics stock while employed by the Army and that he had not dealt with procurement matters during his last six years of active duty. Nonetheless Stryker critics want more answers. ‘There definitely should have been an investigation,’ said Nick Schwellenbach, defense investigator with the Project on Government Oversight, which obtained the IG report dated Feb. 2, 2004. ‘Just look at the timeline. It raises eyebrows.’ ‘You can officially recuse yourself, but was he truly out of the process?’ Schwellenbach asked. ‘This is not a tiny contract. Billions of dollars are at stake and lives are at stake. This is a war.’ Bruce Shrader, a former employee of United Defense — which lost a contract bid awarded to General Dynamics to build the Stryker — has been independently investigating the Stryker vehicle and what led to the awarding of the contract. ‘Are we supposed to believe that he bought all [the stock shares] on his Army salary?’ he asked. In 2003 Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) — an advocate of the United Defense vehicles built in his congressional district — asked the Pentagon’s IG office to investigate Heebner’s relationship with General Dynamics. In a Feb. 11, 2004 letter to Platts, the IG office said there was no conflict. On Oct. 13, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Platts declining to pursue a criminal probe into the Heebner matter. Platts declined to comment for this story. Heebner, promoted in 2005 to head the land systems division of the company, would not be available for comment on this story, said Pease, the General Dynamics spokesman. Heebner’s acquisition of stock came in the form of standard company compensation packages, Pease said, noting that General Dynamics’ stock options had been rising rapidly at the time of Heebner’s hiring. Pease called allegations of wrongdoing ‘baloney’ and added the ‘IG report showed there was nothing to it — no evidence of anything.’ Army on wheels Promoted heavily by former Army Joint Chief General Eric Shinseki, the Stryker was initially devised in 1999 as a key component in an entirely transformed Army, one that could airlift, deploy, and assault enemies with speed and alacrity. Shinseki commanded the NATO Stabilization Force during the Bosnia intervention and many analysts believe this experience profoundly shaped his military philosophy. Shinseki’s plan for transformation also called for wheeled combat vehicles rather than the tracks typically seen on an Army tank. ‘[Shinseki] wanted to shake up the status quo,’ according to a 2002 West Point report titled ‘US Army Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle: Issues and Questions.’ ‘He had been heavily influenced by peacekeeping in the Balkans where wheels proved ideal against no opposition and where most military traffic was road bound,’ the report said. The Stryker vehicle’ 19 ton weight is distributed over eight wheels. Critics charge that the unarmored wheels are vulnerable to automatic weapons fire and do not provide the maneuverability afforded by tracks. ‘A track is 28 percent more efficient in terms of space [than wheels],’ MacGregor said. ‘It has much lower ground pressure. It is a stable platform that allows you to mount an automatic cannon and drive and shoot simultaneously because the tracks provide a stable platform. And finally, the track chassis distributes the weight more effectively, providing for greater survivability.’ Supporters assert that the Stryker is just one part of the Army as a whole and that the speed provides by its design has proven valuable in certain situations. ‘We [at General Dynamics] bleed military,’ Pease said. ‘We’re not going to give our soldiers a vehicle we don’t believe in.’ An Army spokesperson did not respond to repeated inquiries on the matter. The vehicle has support of key military commanders in the field, such as Col. Robert B. Brown, commander of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat team. In press reports, Brown said the Stryker saved the lives of at least 100 soldiers. MacGregor dismissed such praise. ‘Unfortunately, there are too many light infantrymen with little experience in armored vehicles who think that the Stryker is the answer for them,’ he said. ‘They just don’t have the background and the experience to know that there are better alternatives out there.’

  31. Another point of factual correction. The M113 Gavin is 72 inches high at the hull. Far lower than the Stryker at its HULL roof of 104 inches. Last I remembered it was more like 106 inches when I personally took a measuring tape to a Strykeerrrr. Do not measure at small portrusions except for aircraft loading/unloading, its the MASS OF THE HULL that is the optical give-away to enemy gunners relating to vehicle tactics and survivability. Consider the success of the turretless German STUG in WW2–it was a light tank yet was a winner throughout WW2. The M113 Gavin is out STUG. The Stryker is a vulnerable road-bound, thin, but medium-heavy, (over 20 tons) high, bloated box on narrow air-filled tires creating high ground pressures. The inefficiency of being a wheeled truck makes it such a large, easy target to hit. Adult warrior professionals who want to live and kill the enemy without ego agendas of not looking like someone else would have nothing to do with Stryker or any other wheeled deathtraps.