Armor: April 10, 2002


The Army's Stryker 8x8 wheeled combat vehicle, intended to be the bulk of the new Medium Brigades, is in trouble again. The armor is half-inch steel, and the contract says that the vehicles must be able to stand up to penetrating rounds from 7.62mm (infantry machinegun), 12.7mm (heavy machinegun), and 14.5mm (Russian Dshk heavy machinegun) ammunition. The problem is, it can't. The Russian 14.5mm rounds consistently penetrate the armor at battle ranges, and just a few such bullets bouncing around the inside of a Stryker would be enough to put it out of action and kill several of the crew. The Government has stopped payments on the Stryker program until the problem is fixed. The problem is that the vehicles are as much as two tons overweight, and the new "dense ceramic" armor will increase that weight by another 235 pounds. Analysts are concerned that even this is not enough armor, as that small amount would only cover the frontal arc. Questions continue to be asked why the Army did not just use the M113A3 tracked vehicles it already owned, as they fit into C-130s and can stop 14.5mm rounds.--Stephen V Cole 


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