Double-Hull Strykers?

U.S. Army Requests Permission To Modify Strykers

Defense News:

The U.S. Army has asked the Pentagon to approve a plan to increase Stryker vehicles’ survivability by adding a double V-shaped hull, Lt. Gen. Robert Lennox, deputy chief of staff for Army programs, told members of the House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee March 10…

For producing a brigade combat team’s worth of Stryker vehicles with the double V hull, including support vehicles, the Army estimates it will cost $800 million, according to the memo. The Army anticipates purchasing approximately 450 vehicles to support Afghanistan theater needs. This represents a change to vehicles already on order, the memo said.

Initial testing last fall showed that a double-hull Stryker had the equivalent survivability of an MRAP 2. Existing Strykers could not be modified.


  1. Totally unmentioned in the midst of all this is that the enemy in both theaters has few pre-fabricated landmines, and instead relied on Roadside Bombs (haven’t heard anyone call IEDs that in years, have you?) to cause more than half the casualties and vehicle losses they inflicted.

    The name “Roadside Bomb” is revealing, because they can ONLY work when planted in narrow choke-points — roads. That’s because it takes a LOT of effort to haul around hundreds (occasionally thousands) of pounds of explosives, and conceal them in an inconspicuous location, which isn’t woth it if your quarry will drive around just anywhere.

    If you don’t use roads, the enemy CAN’T use Roadside Bombs.

    Herein lies the problem. The Stryker CAN’T be used off-road at all, because heavy wheeled vehicles get stuck easily in less-than-firm terrain. If one considers that the Stryker rides atop 8 wheels, it’s clear that it has a footprint of 8sq/ft.
    With 25 tons (the lowest a Birdcaged Stryker would weigh, in their current configuration in Iraq) atop 8sq/ft, you get 43.4psi of ground pressure. That’s almost three times the ground pressure of a road-smashing M1A2 Abrams !
    Ground Pressure also determines how easily an AFV will set-off a *conventional* landmine, and pressure-fuzed Anti-Tank mines (which comprise the majority) require an average of 12psi to set them off.

    By contrast, Tracked vehicles have extremely low ground pressure, enabling them no not only abandon roads entirely, but also to avoid setting-off pressure-fused conventional landmines set elsewhere.
    The an original M2A3 Bradley weighs the same 33 short tons as an Iraq-configured M1127 Stryker MGS (57.29psi), but the ‘A3 Bradley has just 9.4psi of ground pressure — 5x less ground pressure than a Stryker.
    The M113A3 Gavin weighs 13 tons at combat weight, but with a large 14sq/ft footprint, has 9psi of ground pressure — 6x less ground pressure than a Stryker.
    The 2-ton Wiesel used by the German Army has a startlingly-low 4psi of ground pressure, as to the Swedish Bv206 and Russian MT-LB.
    Adding Bandtracks to any of these vehicles reduces their ground pressure even further, for even more choke-point avoidance and/or non-disturbance of pressure-fused mines.

    The solution to Mine Survivability has been staring us in the face all this time — it’s Tracks, not Trucks. “Upgrading” the Stryker is just an attempt to polish a turd.

    1. Not easy to do, true, but tracks have the Mobility advantage in MOUT as well — something that lots of people don’t like to hear, but let’s look at what kind of obstacles MOUT entails.

      War-torn cities tend to be full of sharp concrete rubble, twisted metal, broken glass, brick or concrete walls, fallen wires and/or cables, barricades, wrecked or abandoned vehicles, and all sorts of stuff on fire.

      Here’s a few examples;

      These are all VERY bad places to drive a Wheeled Vehicle, but all of these obstacles are easily-surmounted by Tracked Armor.

      Let’s also consider that ALL Tracked Vehicles can “Skid-Turn” by swiveling over one track, giving them turn radius no greater than their length.
      Furthermore, every Tracked Vehicle I described in the first post has a Differential Transmission, allowing them to “Pivot-Turn”, or rotate in place.
      Most wheeled vehicles have no equivalent to a Skid-Turn. NONE have an equivalent for a Pivot-Turn… and none ever will.

      Also, consider the short-ranged fighting typical of MOUT, where Gomers can drop Molotovs of Frag Grenades from second-story rooftops, hide Recoilless Rifles inside buildings at ground level, and fire flamethrowers and anti-material rifles from storm drains — all VERY bad for wheeled vehicles, but not nearly so for Tracked ones.

      Lastly, when the proverbial sh!t hits the fan, and you have to bust through walls or buildings to evade and/or surprise the enemy, either type of vehicle can bust through a wall — but only a Tracked one won’t get hung-up on the gaps between it’s wheels;

      One of my associates, Mike Sparks, frequently states that there’s “…nothing wheels do that tracks can’t do better!”. I feel that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Tracked Armor shows great value in ALL combat situations.

      1. Little Bobcat skid loaders can pivot turn all day. They have wheels.

        As far as crashing through a wall and busting through a building to escape an ambush or something, I haven’t been to Iraq, I spent my time in Afghanistan, so I don’t know how many buildings there have basements. I do know that driving ANYTHING weighing over 1000 lbs, let alone several tons, into a building with a basement is generally a bad idea.

        The biggest “advantage” that you can gain from a tracked vehicle in that environment is that you can pile more weight(armor) onto it than you can with something the same dimensions with wheels. I’m not arguing that. But what does the bottom of every track vehicles hull look like? Generally flat. There’s some humps and brackets and crap along the sides where the road wheels connect, sure, but to be able to carry as much weight as an armored tracked vehicle carries, they need to have a big flat supportive belly.
        Now set off a decent sized IED under there. Look up how well M113s and Bradleys do against command detonated IEDs detonated directly beneath the vehicle. Now realize why my entire company got chills whenever we contemplated trying to do combat engineer stuff anywhere there’s an IED threat with our 113s.
        Compare that to any MRAP type vehicle with a V-shaped hull. I’ve personally seen a Buffalo nail a triple stack AT mine (that’s three freakin’ mines pilled up in the same hole), blow off the center axle, and drive out of the minefield. The only injury was some ringing in the crew’s ears. The same explosion would have killed an Abrams, let alone a Bradley or a 113. I have seen pictures on a 113 that nailed a double stack AT mine in Iraq, and the burned out hull ended up laying upside down and 20+ yards away from the blast.
        I’ll trade being able to pivot steer for that any day.

  2. “Tracked vehicles have extremely low ground pressure, enabling them no not only abandon roads entirely, but also to avoid setting-off pressure-fused conventional landmines set elsewhere.”

    Only if one is smoking cheap dope. And there’s no such thing as a “Gavin”; the M113 can be bogged with relative ease; and the Piranha III chassis is quite good across country, in properly trained hands.


    1. …the M113 can be bogged with relative ease; and the Piranha III chassis is quite good across country, in properly trained hands.

      That’s Special Pleading, a Logical Fallacy. It’s also a Red Herring to bring up training in a discussion of the physical ability or inability of vehicles.

      That said, what happens when a 22-ton, 8sq/ft footprint Stryker ICV (38psi of ground pressure), and a 13-ton, 14sq/ft footprint M113A3 Gavin (9psi of ground pressure) BOTH confront deep, sucking mud?

  3. Some people have never thrown a track in the field either… That’s never helpful when people are shooting at you.

    1. It’s also not helpful, when being shot at, that the Stryker’s XML1500 Tires ($3000 a pop) have only a single ply of ordinary Vulcanized Rubber on their sidewalls (less than the tires on a Honda Civic) — if they had more, the Stryker’s CTIS would be unusable.

      Those tires are a VERY big target, and that the Stryker’s “limp-home” capability is not in ANY WAY a “limp-forward into battle” capability.
      The XML1500 was designed to support the weight of an LAV III Kodiak (then 16 Short Tons at combat weight) with 8 flat tires, at 5mph for 5 miles. The Stryker ICV however, weighs 22 Short Tons at combat weight, and has only TWO runflat-configured axles (as a belated weight-saving measure). Now consider that MOWAG Piranha axles are only able to support up to 12 tons each, and that an EMPTY Stryker MGS weighs 25 tons — 12.5 tons will snap a Piranha axle in half like a toothpick, so the MGS can’t drive on 4 or more flats AT ALL.

      One sweep of machinegun-fire against a Stryker, halfway between the FOB and the objective, and you have instant Mission Failure.

      Tracks, by contrast, are bulletproof; even Bandtracks.

      1. Yet we aren’t drowning in new reports of the fleets of Strykers being halted by mere bursts of machine gun fire. Believe it or not, tires are much more resistant to gun fire than most people think. If the tires on a Stryker are as vulnerable as you say, then where are those reports?
        And it’s still much faster, and therefor much safer, to change a tire than to put a track back on.

  4. I seem to recall Shek (whose credentials on the issue were impeccable) dealing with this “Strykers can’t offroad” myth-dressed-up-as-an-issue several times, both here an in other forums.
    For instance.

    1. It’s no myth;

      As for Shek’s “intellectual honesty”;

      Slat armor weighs around 5,000lbs
      It weighs 7500lbs.

      Also, my company never once had to use a recovery asset to recover stuck vehicles, slat or no slat.
      That contradicts the experiences of the Canadian Army in Afghanistan, whose 5-tons-lighter 8×8 LAV IIIs rarely went outside the wire without recovery vehicles… which couldn’t recover stuck LAV IIIs anyway;

      We were always able to use either the tow ropes or winches to self-recover.
      The winch that the Stryker was literally designed around (i.e., it CAN’T be fitted with any other) is proofed to pull up to 18 Short Tons — at their lightest, Strykers at combat weight in Iraq weigh between 22 and 30-or-more Short Tons.
      Back during the Stryker’s trials between 2001 and 2003, almost every attempt to recover stuck 22-ton Strykers with the LAV III’s 18-ton winch immediately destroyed these winches; and ALL Strykers that went to Iraq, went without them.
      In fact, the Stryker MGS was never fitted with a winch. At all.

      THIS is how Strykers are recovered in operational settings — using the M88A2 Hercules, whose Raison D’etre is to recover the 70-ton M1A1 Abrams;
      Can’t airlift THAT along with 330 Strykers in less than 48 hours, can you?

      Maybe the 2,000lbs difference for the ERA is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I’m willing to bet that since the ERA was new, the safety releases for using the winch with the ERA were not available, thus forcing them to use recovery vehicles.
      Blazer ERA was used on USMC M60A1 Pattons in Desert Storm (with 100% success — all sorts of RPGs, shells, and ATGMs hit M60s, but not a single M60 was knocked-out), and has also been in use on M2 Bradleys for at least 5 years now.

      Meanwhile, to date NO Strykers have EVER used ERA in Iraq or Afghanistan, and none has EVER been operationally-fitted; this, despite the success of the Blazer ERA system on M60s in 1991, and M2 Bradleys in 2005.

      Also, last time I checked, OIF was not a ‘peacekeeping’ operation.
      This was a Red Herring on Shek’s part, because the Stryker was procured with the expressed intent of using them for Peacekeeping missions — NOT conventional war. He also omits that Strykers were kept safely nestled in their State-side bases, while Tracked Armor invaded and conquered Iraq without them.

      The awarding of combat patches, CIBs, EFMBs, CABs, and AARs/news is enough confirmation that it is not a ‘peace’ operation.
      This glosses over the fact that the US military gives out medals early, often, and frequently for NOTHING. Behold the Vietnam War-era “National Defense Service Medal”, a.k.a., as the “I was alive in ’65” medal; it was given to EVERY serviceman who was sucking-down air in 1965.
      At West Point, cadets wisely described the “I was alive in ’65” medal for it’s colors;
      “The red is for the blood we never shed; the blue, for the oceans we never crossed; and the yellow is the reason why.”
      Bottom Line: smothering servicemen in a deluge of awards doesn’t mean a thing.
      (Don’t get me started on all the officers and generals who award each other Bronze and Silver Stars as “favors”)

  5. Blacktail
    My experience started in Spring 1980; I have some experience with bogging wheeled and tracked vehicles, including the M113. Your spiel sounds derivative.

    … I’ve been airborne at 60mph in a Cougar. And I’ve chatted with people who have used the LAV III on operations. You haven’t.


  6. Just a few observations/questions.

    Is there any reason the Israelis don’t have Strykers? I realize they may not have a pressing need at this time, but I would get a warm, fuzzy that the Stryker was top notch if the IDF decided to use them.

    Why has Canada decided to send modified M113s to Afghanistan? Is Canada planning on building a double V-shaped hull LAV III?

    What’s different about Afghanistan compared to Iraq? I don’t think anything relating to IEDs could be worse than what we experienced in Iraq from 2004-2007. So why change now when Afghanistan is going to be wrapping up sooner rather than later? My BS detector goes off when I read articles like this.

    1. The Israelis evaluated the Stryker directly, and rejected it (twice).

      They also aren’t very happy that the US military snubbed them on the Stryker (again, twice) — the first time was with the Trophy APS, which IMI made a point of demonstrating on the Stryker;

      …which the US Army rejected in favor of “Quick kill”, which then did not physically exist (it STILL doesn’t), but was however made by Pentagon sweetheart Raytheon;

      The second time was when the US Army thumbed it’s nose at the Stryker “LIC” variant that IMI developed;

      That said, it should come as no surprise that IMI chose to mount Trophy’s successor, the “Iron Fist”, on an M113A3 instead;

    2. To answer your other queries;

      Why has Canada decided to send modified M113s to Afghanistan?
      Tracked Armor is better suited to the steep, rocky hills and slopes of Afghanistan, which chews through Pneumatic Tires like they were made of tissue paper.
      Also, the Canadian Army has found the Leopard C2 to be a substantially better fire support platform than the LAV III Kodiak;

      Also, here’s how the LAV III itself fared in Afghanistan;

      Is Canada planning on building a double V-shaped hull LAV III?
      Of course — the Stryker, an LAV III variant, is made almost completely in Canada.

      What’s different about Afghanistan compared to Iraq?
      For one thing, the terrain is RADICALLY different, and the high altitudes sharply reduce the lift (and thus, the payload) of cargo aircraft.
      For another, much of the Taliban were already battle-hardened before Operation Enduring Freedom even began, as they were once part of the Mujahadeen that kicked-out the Soviets.
      That last part is especially important. The enemy in A-stan cut thier teeth destroying 8X8 APCs — Stryker equivalents. They only managed to knock-out some 250 tanks, but over 1200 BTRs destroyed by enemy action in A-stan.

      I don’t think anything relating to IEDs could be worse than what we experienced in Iraq from 2004-2007. So why change now when Afghanistan is going to be wrapping up sooner rather than later?
      Afghanistan is even worse, because there’s even less “Stryker Terrain”, and the roads are few, far in-between, and a total joke.
      That said, these should come as no surprise;

      1. That’s a good link to the Canadian Forces site. I wonder if the US Army is coming to the same conclusions with the Stryker as the Canadians are with the LAV III?

        1. I wouldn’t count in it — The Canadians said, “Go big, or stay home”;

          …but the US Army only sent Strykers anyway.

          So far, in all 9 years of OEF, the M1A1/A2 Abrams has NEVER made an appearance in A-stan. As you can see by the links in my last post, the Leopard C2 and Leopard 2 have performed nicely in A-stan.

          Also, the Bradley “Fighting” Vehicle has never deployed ot A-stan either.
          Meanwhile, the FV510 Warrior has;

          …and the CV90;

          …the Dardo;

          …the AIFV/YPR-765;

          …but not a single Bradley in sight.

          After all, it would be VERY bad for the “reputation” of the Abrams’ and Bradleys if they were fighting directly alongside so many other MBTs and IFVs — especially in light of the fact that their equivalents operating in A-stan don’t break-down in less than 300 miles (only 152 for an M1A2… when they were NEW), consume 8 gallons/mile of fuel at 25mph (M1A2), slug-down 500 gallons of JP5 in only 15 hours at idle (all Abrams’), contain radioactive/poisonous/pyrophoric DU armor (Abrams’), a steel/aluminum armor array promoting a Thermite Reaction on penetration (Bradleys), cost $75/mile to operate (for a Bradley — for an M1, it’s $443/mile), and…

          …well, you get the idea.

          The worst part of all that is, the Bradley and Abrams are STILL better than the Stryker.

  7. Is there any one on here who has actually served in either of these vehicles? I have served in both a Bradley, and a Styrker, both In Iraq. Both vehicles serve their purpose well. And to the writer who said Strykers can not go off road… your an idiot. The stryker is prevailing in Afghanstan over the MRAP because it can go off road. Ride in one, drive in one in combat then you can talk. And I still have soldiers serving in the Styker Brigade in Iraq, and it is performing far above all their expectations, even saying that the Soldiers with other vehicles all wish they had Strykers. The Stryker WAS NOT designed to replace tracked vehicles, but only to fill the gap between Light and Heavy Brigades, and it has served its Purpose. In the Stryker brigades we where faster, lighter, quieter and from what we learned from EXPERIANCE for more deadly then the Haavy Brigades.

  8. Amazing many are quoting numbers and stats that clearly don’t have a clue. I am quite knowledgeable on Stryker and most of the quoted numbers are out to lunch. The best information above seem to be quoted from those who have served. Not a big surprise. The old tracked vehicle versus wheeled vehicle debate can continue, but keep in mind that a wheeled vehicle can maintain higher speeds than a tracked vehicle. Definitely an advantage in many situations.

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