FORT LEWIS, Wash. (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) � A long wait is
over for Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) crews of the 4th Brigade, 2ndInfantry Division.
The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, received its complement of MGSvehicles last month after more than a year of waiting. They are thefirst vehicles to be fielded in the Army.
�I think its going to give the infantry a whole new dimension of whatthey can do. Armor and infantry have kept each other at arm�s lengthfor years and years," said Sgt. 1st Class David Cooper, an MGS platoonsergeant with B Company, 2-23 Inf. "We�ve got some growing pains, butonce we get out there and they see what we can do, we�re going to beeverybody�s friend.�
Each infantry company is slated to receive three vehicles, though crewsdon't expect to operate together except on rare occasions.
The vehicles carry crews of three, and are equipped with a 105 mm maingun and a state-of-the-art fire control system. The MGS also has anonboard coaxial machine gun that�s fire controlled.
�You can literally shoot smiley faces with it at 900 meters,� saidCooper. �Even minus the big gun we can give the infantry a lot ofsupport.�
The 105 mm is capable of firing four types of rounds: SABOT, adepleted-uranium armor-piercing round; HEAT, high-explosive anti-tank;HEP, high-explosive plastic; and a canister round. The rounds areloaded using a hydraulic auto-loader in the rear of the vehicle.
The HEP and canister rounds give Stryker units new capabilities,especially in urban areas. The HEP can blow holes in reinforcedconcrete walls, but unlike the rounds from an Abrams, won�t continuethrough the target and into surrounding buildings. The canisterprovides as effective anti-personnel capability.
�The vehicle�s basic role is to support the infantry. It�s not there totake on tanks or go toe-to-toe in the wide-open desert like we did withthe Abrams,� said Sgt. 1st Class William Ozmet, an MGS instructor fromFort Knox, Ky. �Its primary function is blowing a hole in the wall orblowing up bunkers.�
Over the past year, the crews have been training with TOW-ITAS Humveesor other Stryker variants. Finally having the vehicles gives the crewsa chance to delve into training.
�I can actually start focusing on our training, both on our missiontasks and working with the infantry,� said 1st Lt. Christopher Lilley,the MGS platoon leader in B Co.
The MGS also comes equipped with training software that allows Soldiersto train on various engagements in their own vehicles, instead of goingto a simulator somewhere else.
Once the 4th Bde. completes training, instructors from General DynamicsLand Systems will move on to equip and train Soldiers in Hawaii andPennsylvania. Training for those units may change according to lessonslearned here, but the vehicle itself is expected to remain mostlyunchanged.
�I�m confident that this will turn out to be a successful piece of equipment for us, the infantry and the Army,� said Lilley.