New gadgets for the Stryker

High-Tech Stryker for Combat

The Strykers of Christmas Future?

The U.S. Army decided this week to sign over a combat vehicle to a new Pentagon program that seeks to defeat rocket-propelled grenades, explosive devices, sniper fire and hostile crowds during urban combat.

The Army dedicated $3 million and one of its Stryker vehicles–a cross between a Humvee and a tank–for the initiative, said the Office of Transformation, which initiated “Project Sheriff.” The office, which is charged with transforming the military to combat 21st-century threats, has contributed $9 million in funding from its fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2005 budgets to the effort.

Beyond combat vehicles, the office envisions telecommunications-operated, unmanned aerial vehicles with advanced technologies and electrical power that can reach extended ranges.

The sherrif would be equipped with crowd-control heat beams, anti-sniper laser “dazzlers”, senstive acoustic listening devices, automatic weapon aiming systems, and a computer-controlled anti-RPG shotgun.

Tests begin late this year and the Army hopes to deploy a few of these next year for further testing in the real world.


  1. OK; I can see the lazer dazzler, heat beams (will they work well in cold environments, or just make the crowd feel warm and fuzzy? LOL!) acoustic devices, & auto weapon aiming. But, that anti RPG shotgun thing is just more needless Pentagon gold plating to fill the MIC’s pockets! Sounds like a good set of upgrades to me, though I thought there were some concerns about the Stryker being close to it’s service weight limit already?

  2. hrmm, yeah weighty concerns here too. I guess they should also focus on an objective version for fighting right out of the C-130…the Stryker’s original purpose iirc. Then worry about field applyable kits for ocupation; crowd control and stuff.

  3. The Stryker program has to make a decision. A] Scrap the C130 requirement – and add the upgrades necessary to keep the Styker alive and functional. or B] Keep the C130 requirement and find a way to lighten the Stryker. I would vote for B. There currently is a LAV25 hybrid powered program out there. The army should adopt that concept and apply it to the Stryker to include… Installing wheel hub motors with independent variable height suspension & removing the 4 wheel turning equipment. That would save considerable amount of weight, increase gas milage, and allow the addition of a low profile turret on top the Styker. It also allow the Stryker to have suffient electrical power for its toys and be able to power air conditioning. And yes, the conversion would be expensive, but once you plink down 8-9 billion what is another billion or so, to actually get a vehical that works?

  4. I remember reading a Jane’s (I believe) article about Israeli efforts to defeat ATGMs. We’re going back here, so we’re talking about AT-3s and similar vintage. The IDF’s concept was to install reactive-type armor on a vehicle, with each brick wired into a central sensor brain. The brain ‘sensed’ the atmosphere in a bubble around the vehicle; as soon as it sensed a missile, it would calculate where the weapon would hit, and blow that brick off. The result would be the warhead meeting the bit of armor well away from the vehicle, detonate the weapon, and have remaining inertial energy defeated by pre-existing armor. Similar concepts saw larger sensor bubbles to intercept missiles farther out, and fire flechettes to either shred the guidance wires or shred the firer- or at least cause him to seek cover and lose his sight picture. Did they ever come close to fielding such a system, and might one be viable today, with our improved computing capacity?

  5. The anti-RPG system is an active armor system. I don’t know anything about the specifics of this system, but I do know that Russia and Israel have both already developed first generation active armor systems. It differs, obviously, from passive armor arrangements and reactive armor tiles. This sounds like a FCS project that is being developed for the Stryker so that if perfected, it can be sprialed into the current force for use.

  6. Yeah… while it is a great idea, I would believe the hardest part of this design is the positive identification of a incoming weapon. A computer will find it hard to compute at such a high speed, some kind of image recognition system, otherwise, how is it to know whether it is a rock being thrown at the vehicle, or even less likely, a bullet. This would be too easy for people to exploit, simply fire into the vehicle with one shot, and you will kill a few civilians nearby, apparently by the users of the vehicle. May work on the battlefield of the Cold War, where incoming can be defeated without casualties, but sadly not on the street battle of today.

  7. There are several anti-rpg systems already developed and lots of systems being planned. Targeting is actually not that big of a problem. An RPG round, is relatively slow (as compared to bullets) and very fast compared to rocks. So you set up a system to key on objects moving in a speed range with certain other characteristics. Such as heat, or having a certain radar signiture. One of the most widely known is the FCLAS system. Basically a radar guided grenade launcher. Its warhead is optimized for blast effect and produces very little shrapnel. These systems work, but would not be ideal in a urban environment. There is one system out there that uses airbags to catch the RPG round. Sounds silly but it actually works. The chief limitation of all these systems, is that they rely on the assumption that you are not going to get nailed by a whole flock of RPG rounds. This assumption is wrong, as the most successfull RPG attack is generally one that fires multiple waves of RPG rounds. So until someone invents a way to mass produce 300 carat diamond applique tiled armor or comes up with lightweight fiber optic high energy lasers, the best you can hope for is a anti-rpg system that blocks the first few rounds, and gives you time to get out of dodge.

  8. James, the big problem with lasers is the lack of power supplies. Everything else has been pretty much figured out. If I invented an efficient and relatively light-weight means to store and discharge large amounts of electrical power, we’d have laser tanks tomorrow. More or less. Batteries can hold power reasonably well, but can only discharge slowly and weigh a ton. Capacitors can discharge quickly, but can’t hold charges for long periods. And there still isn’t any better way to generate electrical power in the field besides traditional gas powered generators. So, either super batteries that can be charged from a central point, or compact fusion generators to provide lots of electrical power where needed. Then, you’ll have more lasers than you can shake a stick at, plus the stick.

  9. buckethead: what about chemical lasers, like those used in the boost-phase intercept ABM system? They don’t have to recharge and can carry enough chemicals for a number of blasts. I’m not sure how toxic the chemicals are. Maybe a lot. Maybe you don’t want to be inside a tank with those chemicals which is being shot at. But I think chemical lasers are currently the most powerful and most practical. I’m not sure, they may also be very large, but if a big one can fit in a 747 I guess a smaller one can fit in a tank and still be fairly powerful? Actually I think the biggest problem is that, for it to be effective, you have to hold the focus point of the laser to the same point on the target for long enough to actually burn a hole in it. That’s gotta be hard when your tank is moving, their tank is moving, etc. Also, what must smoke do to the laser beam? What about polished armour? etc. I think there are a lot of obstacles to overcome, other than just power storage…

  10. There are other problems, sure. But the big one is power. The chemical laser used in the 747 ABM thingy is really big, which is why its in a 747. That’s just to get a laser that can punch through an unarmored missile – boost phase intercept is easiest because a) the missile is moving fairly slow and b) you still have fuel on board. Punching through the armor of a tank would be far more difficult. Chemical lasers are relatively inefficient compared to electrically powered electron lasers, but those require lots of power – more than can be reasonably installed on a mobile platform. Targeting is reasonably simple, given that lasers are pure line of sight weapons. You don’t have to worry about leading your target – especially for something as slow moving as a tank. Actually, compared to the speed of light, everything we might be shooting at is slow. With sufficient power, you can make a more powerful laser, which would require less time to burn the target.

  11. Buckethead: Chemical lasers are the easist to reach high levels of power and the easist to cool. Flushing the chemicals provides a lot of cooling. The reason for the ABL being so big is not how hard it is to penitrate a missile, but rather how hard it is to penitrate 300 miles of air. The old laser diffusion/scatter rate, plus water absorbtion of heat and so one. Solid state lasers (eletrical powered) have too big issues. Efficiency – currently they are running about 10% efficient. Thus you need 1 megawatt of power to produce a 100 kilowatt laser. A 100K laser will cut through 1/2 inch of steel per second at ranges in the 6-8 KM range (weather permitting). Most of the wasted power goes to heat creation. Heat- Running the power through the crystal rods generates a huge amount of heat. The F35 laser, gets its power from the fan shaft attached to the jet engine. The cooling is done by dumping the waste heat into the fuel tanks. 3000 pounds of fuel can absorb a lot of heat energy & most of the absorbed heat can bleed off naturally. In theory, you could do much the same thing with a M1 tank. Convert its turbine to generate electrical power. Bleed to power off to power the solid state laser. Direct the laser through fiber optics to whatever point defense you need. The drive wheels would have to be powered directly via wheel hub motors. There may or may not be weight savings as you would not need a transmision To power a laser capable of penitrating a MBT in a reasonable amount of time, would be a major challenge. I would imagine that you would need a power source in the 100 to 500MW range. Generators of this power level are not very mobile. The mechinery for a 100MW generator would fill a barge.