Armor: October 14, 2004


The U.S. Armys new Stryker wheeled armored vehicles have taken a lot of criticism because of their cost, susceptibility to rollovers, and not being much different, in terms of combat capability than the older (and much cheaper) M-113 tracked vehicle, or the newer (and more expensive) M-2 Bradley. But in one area, the Strykers have proven much superior. Since they run on rubber tires, not metal tracks, the Strykers are a lot quieter, and faster. This has proven scary for hostile Iraqis, and very useful for American troops out on night operations. U.S. soldiers prefer to operate at night, mainly because of very effective night vision devices, because its cooler, and the very quiet Strykers allow American troops to literally sneak up on the enemy. The Strykers have another advantage, which has little to do with the vehicle itself. The Stryker brigades are being used to try out new communications gear, and some new weapons. The Stryker troops like this, because the new stuff works. As a result, communications between the Stryker vehicles is better than in other units. 

The Stryker brigades have a big edge in night time operations. Moving at high speed at night, with their lights off, multiple columns of Strykers surround buildings suspected of holding hostile gunmen or bomb making materials. The surprise is often total, and the enemy troops captured without a shot being fired. Silence and speed saves lives.

Despite criticism that the Stryker would be vulnerable in combat, quite the opposite has been the result. RPGs have done little damage, and one Stryker survived a 500 pound roadside bomb. The vehicle flipped and slid 30 feet, but the crew was unhurt and the vehicle could still move under its own power once it was upright again. Theres nothing troops like more than equipment that leads to successful operations, and keeps them alive. So far, the Stryker is working in both departments.




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