Armor: March 25, 2002

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A new Army analysis has found that eight of the ten variants of the Stryker interim armored vehicle (an 8x8 LAV-3 armored car) exceed the weight limits of the C-130s that were the key to deploying these units quickly. The C-130 is limited to 38,000 pounds; the armored gun system (the tank destroyer with the heaviest weight) tips the scales at 41,000 pounds. (The report noted that the armored gun system had weighed 45,000 pounds until serious work began on reducing its weight, and the Army insists that all ten variants will meet the weight goal within a year. One way it could do this is to provide the vehicles with only some of their basic load of fuel and ammunition, requiring them to carry the balance on other aircraft.) The Army plans to buy 2,131 Strykers; each brigade uses 366 of them. The first of the interim brigades is to be ready for combat by May 2003. Three of the variant vehicles (the chemical recon version, the armored gun system, and the artillery observer version) will not be ready until 2005. Critics noted that if the Army had picked the tracked M113 armored personnel carrier for the interim medium brigades, they would have spent less, had a better protected vehicle with a lower silhouette and better cross-country mobility, and would have met the C-130 requirement.Stephen V Cole


 


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