The U.S. Army has ordered 45 Stryker Double-V Hull models. It had earlier ordered 14 prototypes and plans to order a total of 120 production models. The prototypes cost about $2.1 million each, while the production models will cost $425,000 (and more than that again to fully equip them for combat). The new models will be sent into combat next June.
This new design is intended to improve 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 ship some off to Afghanistan, and see if it makes a significant difference in lowering troops casualties. But first, the fourteen prototypes are still being tested to determine the impact of the new design on Stryker operating characteristics. Some of the prototypes have also been run (via remote control), over mines and roadside bombs. These tests were apparently successful. Developing the new prototype design cost about $58 million.
Each Stryker brigade has 332 Stryker vehicles. There are ten different models, but most are the infantry carrier version. The current model 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 army is planning on incorporating the V shaped hull into the new Stryker 2.0 design, making the recently ordered V hull models Stryker 1.5 (unofficially). The Stryker 2 will weigh about a ton more than current models, and have a more powerful engine (450 horsepower versus the current 350), plus 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 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.