December 7, 2009:
A U.S. Army Stryker brigade (the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment) received its first nine M1128 Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS). Each of the three Stryker (mechanized infantry) battalions in the brigade will eventually have nine MGS vehicles. Then, each of the Stryker platoon in the battalion will have one MGS available to it. The three Stryker vehicles in each Stryker platoon have found the MGS vehicle assigned to them very useful. The 105mm gun can immediately blast any opposition, or knock down walls, so that troops can quickly advance.
The army sent the first of its Stryker Mobile Gun Systems to Iraq last year. The gun has an automatic loader. The gun is stabilized, and can be fired on the move. Once in Iraq, the gun performed well, providing accurate and effective firepower when needed. Last year, a Stryker brigade went to Afghanistan with nine MGSs, and will leave those behind when it is replaced by the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment next year (which will then have 18 MGSs).
Last year, the army ordered 62 more MGS vehicles, at a cost of about $5.3 million each. The vehicle has a 105mm gun turret mounted on it, as well as a 12.7mm and 7.62mm machine-gun. It weighs 19 tons. The vehicle has a crew of three, and carries 18 rounds for the 105mm gun, 400 for the 12.7mm machine-gun, and 3,400 for the 7.62mm machine-gun. Some 300 MGSs are needed to equip all Stryker brigades, and the jury is still out on whether the MGS is worth it. How the MGS performs in Afghanistan will probably decide if more get built. There have been some equipment problems with the MGS, but it's believed these can be fixed.
The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment is what happened (converted to combat brigades) to two of the last three of the Armored Cavalry Regiments (ACRs). The outfits were formed (as Mechanized Cavalry Groups) during World War II. The ACRs were basically mechanized infantry/armor units organized for reconnaissance and any special missions that required speed and imagination. Only one remains as a true Armored Cavalry Regiment (the 3rd).