The Stryker Goes to War

What’s Wrong With the Armor?

The Army said samples of some Stryker ceramic armor failed tests to ensure it can stop 14.5 mm bullets – about the size of an adult’s thumb, and larger than those fired from most heavy machine guns.

Army and Stryker manufacturer General Dynamics Land Systems identified about 5,800 pieces of potentially defective armor on the 3rd Brigade’s 309 vehicles.

Over the past two weeks, General Dynamics crews installed a 3 mm steel plate behind each of the faulty panels. About 15 of the 132 panes on each Stryker were shored up, officials said.

"All the Stryker vehicles will have the promised armor protection before they deploy," said Maj. Gary Tallman, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.

Will they withstand rocket-propelled grenades?

The ubiquitous RPG is one of the most prolific small-arms weapons in the world and one that Iraqi fighters have used to deadly effect against U.S. troops.

Army contractors are working on lightweight armor for the Strykers that can stop RPGs, but it isn’t scheduled to be ready until next year at the earliest.

So each of the 3rd Brigade’s Strykers will be outfitted with a low-tech solution: a steel cage known as slat armor. The cage is supposed to "catch" the RPGs and cause them to explode 10-18 inches away from the vehicle.

So the Stryker Brigade Combat Team will show up in Iraq driving 300 vehicles that look like partially completed parade floats. It’s not difficult to imagine that the insurgents may become more confident that their RPG attacks have the U.S. forces concerned when they see these interim, jury-rigged vehicles arrive on the scene.

Stryker-thumb.jpg
(From Jane’s Defense Weekly pg. 10 9-10-03)

General Dynamics crews and Stryker soldiers will install the slat armor on the vehicles in Kuwait.

Still, critics note the slat armor won’t protect the roof or the wheels and wheel wells from RPG strikes.

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