Armor: April 17, 2003

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The U.S. Army's bold program to equip several "medium" (or IBCT) brigades with wheeled, light armored vehicles (the Stryker family of LAVs) is faltering. The LAV's kept growing in size to the point where most models have to be partially disassembled to get into a C-130 tactical transport (a primary requirement.) The tracked M-113, a half century old armored carrier still in wide use, was supposed to be left in the dust of the Stryker. This is not happening. New models of the M-113 keep appears, many of them more mobile, reliable and better protected than the Stryker. Perhaps the worst thing that happened to the Stryker of late is the Iraq war, where it was seen how important protection from RPGs is. To add that extra measure of protection to the Stryker (as it was earlier to the M-2 Bradley) would make the Stryker too heavy for the C-130. For these reasons, the IBCT effort is apparently going to be restricted to 3-4 brigades. The Stryker community is looking anxiously at new developments in add on armor. The stuff, sometimes in the form of a thick fabric, is getting lighter and more effective.

 


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