Armor: March 12, 2004


Some 300 of the U.S. Army's Stryker LAV (wheeled Light Armored Vehicle) were sent to Iraq last Fall as part of the first "Stryker Brigade." The Stryker has proven durable (not wearing out it's tires, as the M-2 Bradley does its tracks, after 1300 kilometers on the road) and able to protect itself. The two times an RPG rocket has hit a Stryker, the damage was minor because of the additional "slat armor." Two Strykers were hit by roadside bombs, but only one soldier was wounded. Moreover, Iraqi attackers have learned to be wary when Strykers are about, because they accelerate faster than armored vehicles, and come at the source of the hostile fire with guns blazing. The army brass are pleased, so far, with Stryker's performance so far and are planning to continue buying them and forming Stryker brigades. The Stryker has had a 90 percent readiness rate (which is higher than tracked vehicles.) The height of the vehicle has caused some stability problems and there have been at least two roll overs. But the height also gives the crews a better view of their surroundings. The Stryker was rushed into production in the late 1990s to provide a lightweight armored vehicle for peacekeeping operations. Six Stryker brigades will be formed by 2008, and the fourth Stryker is brigade is being formed this year. Each Stryker vehicle costs about two million dollars.


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