15:22 18 Jul 2003

This past weekend I suggested that the Army deploy the new Stryker Brigade Combat Team to Iraq as soon as it’s activated. It now appears that it might happen. A Wednesday WaPo story reported that a DoD official said

Army units in line for deployment to Iraq, the official said, include a brigade of the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kan., the Army’s new Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis, Wash., and a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., which returned from Afghanistan six months ago.

Never mind the fact that there are limited numbers of units deployable right now. Sending the Strykers to Iraq would be a great test for the men equipment, and tactics of these new units. As with all new weapons systems, there are almost certainly hundreds of major issues that need to be uncovered and resolved before the Stryker is really ready to go. They won’t be found on the practice ranges.

I believe that the actual method of deployment needs to be rigorously tested, as well. One of the biggest advantages that the Stryker has over existing combat vehicles is the relative air-mobility allowed because of their smaller size and lighter weight. Many of the biggest problems encountered while developing the Stryker were related to this air mobility, especially the advertised capability of being transported in a C-130 instead of the larger C-17 and C-5. I’m a little skeptical that those issues have truly been resolved, so this would be a great time to give them a real-world test. Maybe the Stryker and it’s combat load is just plain too much for C-130. If so, I think we want to find out now in Iraq, not later in Syria or Korea when delivering to an ongoing battle via C-130 might be the only option. Hat tip to DefenseTech.