Armor: MRAP Replaces Flat Bottom Stryker


November 7, 2011: The U.S. Army is sending a Stryker brigade to Afghanistan without their Stryker armored vehicles. Instead of their 19 ton Strykers, that carry 11 troops, they will be using 15 ton M-ATV armored trucks, which carry up to five troops each. The reason for this is that the M-ATV provides more protection from roadside bombs. While the brigade will have to operate more vehicles, they will have more firepower (each Stryker and M-RAP has a single remotely controlled machine-gun turret atop it).

The M-ATV (MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle) is a 15 ton, 4x4 (with independent wheel suspension) armored vehicle. Payload is 1.8 tons, and it can carry five passengers (including a gunner). Top speed is 105 kilometers an hour, and range on internal fuel is 515 kilometers. The M-ATV is slightly larger than a hummer.

The reason for the M-ATV is that all other MRAPs are, after all, just heavy trucks. And the capsule design that protects the passengers so well also produces a high center of gravity, which makes the vehicles prone to flipping over easily. They are also large vehicles, causing maneuverability problems when going through narrow streets. Most MRAPs don't have a lot of torque, being somewhat underpowered for their size. And, being wheeled vehicles, they are not very good at cross country movement (especially considering the high center of gravity.) The M-ATV was designed to deal with all of these problems. Each M-ATV costs $1.4 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 two 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 19 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.

There is a new Stryker, with a V shaped hull. This type hull is what the MRAP uses to protect itself from bombs. Unfortunately there are only enough of the Stryker Vs for one brigade, and not enough for all the Stryker units needed in Afghanistan. There are about 20,000 MRAPs (including 6,500 M-ATVs) in Afghanistan.





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