Armor: V For Less Vulnerability

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March 3, 2010: While the U.S. Army was designing a new version of the Stryker armored vehicle, they realized that they could greatly improve its resistance to mines (more common in Afghanistan than Iraq) by adding a V shaped bottom. This is one of the key elements of the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) design. The current plan is to modify a hundred or so  Strykers with the V shape hull, ship them off to Afghanistan as soon as possible, and see if it makes a significant difference in lowering troops casualties. Each Stryker brigade has 332 Stryker vehicles. There are ten different models, but most are the infantry carrier version.

The current version of the Stryker costs about a million dollars each. This version is 6.95 meters (22.92 feet) long, 2.72 meters (8.97 feet) high and 2.64 meters (8.72 feet) wide. Weighing 17 tons, it has a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour and a range (on roads) of 500 kilometers. Stryker has a crew of two, a turret with a remotely controlled 12.7mm machine-gun and can carry nine troops. A 7.62mm machine-gun is also carried, and often another 12.7mm one as well.

The new version, even without the V shaped hull, will weigh about a ton more, and have a more powerful engine (450 horsepower versus the current 350), a suspension system and other mechanical components upgraded to support up to 27 tons, larger tires, improved brakes and improved sensors (so that troops inside the vehicle will have better awareness of what's outside.) These are the major modifications, there will be several more minor ones (better air conditioning, a sniper detector, more electricity generation and so on). Outwards appearance won't change much at all, unless the V shape hull works, in which case most of them will have that, and the vehicle will look different.

Stryker 2.0 provides for "growth" (more armor and equipment) as well as making the vehicle more agile and reliable. The changes are based on user feedback, and is considered a modernization project, not, strictly speaking, a new version of Stryker. Over the next year, Strykers will be equipped with these improvements and tested. About 20 percent of the 3,300 Strykers the army has are in combat, and units headed for Afghanistan will be first to get the modernized ones.

 

 

 


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