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Old 01-30-2008   #41
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I don't know if the Stryker air-transport capability is getting much of a workout in the war.
In 2006, my BN escorted Strykers from Mosul to the capital, on HETs, if I remember right. It would have been a whole lot of flights. We were a little annoyed that they didn'tjust drive down there themselves, but that was a little above our level.
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Old 01-31-2008   #42
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I was the Chief of Concepts at Knox when we were developing the Stryker MGS (along with some other variants for the armor community).

The MGS was not in any way supposed to be a tank destroyer. It was envisioned to be an infantry support vehicle capable of delivering high explosives and/or antipersonnel rounds to enable infantry maneuver. .
That is truly intriguing. So why was it given a 105mm gun? The 105 certainly implies the desire to have something much beyond a "just in case" anti-armour capability. 105mm requires a far larger danger close stand-off than say 76 or 90mm, which have historically proved more than adequate.
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Old 01-31-2008   #43
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That is truly intriguing. So why was it given a 105mm gun? The 105 certainly implies the desire to have something much beyond a "just in case" anti-armour capability. 105mm requires a far larger danger close stand-off than say 76 or 90mm, which have historically proved more than adequate.
Yep, few things beat a HESH round for dealing with most targets short of an MBT, especially field fortifications. The infantry need an assault gun for Canister, Smoke, and HE-Frag - and especially a rifle at that, in order to make use of HESH. But a 105 (with a few Sabot and HEAT) is probably the way to go, even if bores in the 75-90 mm range have proved effective as assault guns, simply because they'll be used in an AT role anyway if Battalion and Company Commanders are given even a quarter of a chance to do so. But even the short 76 mm is probably sufficient for most assault gun tasks (the LAV-1 Cougar carried those).

As stated in other threads, I'm a LAV/Stryker skeptic, and was in an Army that has used three generations of the vehicle for some 30 years now. A few years of fighting in Afghanistan has led that same Army to try to wean itself off of it which, besides the modest fact that the Army had banked practically its entire future on the vehicle, is pretty hard to do when those same vehicles are built in the country's largest province and in a Parliamentary riding that has long been held by the "Natural Governing Party". Of course, it also helps that the Party in power at the moment does not hold said riding...

The Canadian Army cancelled the LAV-MGS program outright in 2006 in the wake of the Second Battle of Panjwai, and brought old Leopard 1 MBTs out of retirement (MBTs were completely removed from service by 2004) in order to provide close-support to Infantry; the Leopard 2 has now replaced the old Leo 1 in service (unfortunately resulting in the loss of HESH, though). The LAV-III with the 25 mm gun simply could not cross many obstacles (especially Soviet-style Taleban entrenchments), and was too vulnerable to AT fire (partly because someone in Canada decided not to fit them with slat armour). The LAV also proved very prone to getting stuck in mud during winter months, and hull cracks from cross-country ops also developed throughout the fleet. Rebuilt M-113 A3s (of all things - and a vehicle decidely inferior in most respects to the LAV/Stryker) are progessively replacing LAVs for cross-country ops.

That said, the LAV/Stryker is generally very good for COIN and internal security roles. A LAV-MGS with the 105 mm might be useful for an occasional and brief flare-up of heavy fighting, dealing efficiently with certain urban targets from a safer distance (and sparing the infantry the risk of having to assault in many cases) or with insurgent field fortifications, etc. But the sort of fighting that went on in many Iraqi cities required nothing less than the heavy stuff, not least MBTs. Even if any technical glitches in the LAV-MGs have been resolved, it is still lightly armoured (compared to an MBT), has a low main ammo load, and is not suitable for really rough cross-country ops. But the newer MBTs have the same complicated liquid-cooled suits that the LAV-MGS has, along with delicate and complex electronics (though so far the upgraded Leopard 2 doesn't have problems in particular there).

The MGS costs almost as much as an MBT; might as well put the money into the more capable vehicle, the MBT, except perhaps in limited quantities for certain units and formations.

Last edited by Norfolk; 01-31-2008 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008   #44
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I see Stryker - as it is used - in conflict with MRAPs, a protected motorized infantry vehicle. And the home for the MGS more in a cavalry that infantry unit.

The gun - are these L7s from old Pattons or new ones? Was there ever a competition for the gun system? The CMI CT-CV 105mm seems to be a better system, can even double as artillery.


On the Gavins: I think if they'd invested as many ressources into M113 as they did to convert the Piranha into the Stryker, the M113, esp in version A4 would have been a quite suitable vehicle.

Last edited by Distiller; 01-31-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008   #45
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But a 105 (with a few Sabot and HEAT) is probably the way to go, even if bores in the 75-90 mm range have proved effective as assault guns, simply because they'll be used in an AT role anyway if Battalion and Company Commanders are given even a quarter of a chance to do so. But even the short 76 mm is probably sufficient for most assault gun tasks
After I last posted I went off and did a bit of note checking, and the only real advantage of 105mm is that you can get effective "payload" like AP, Flare, and Smoke, but that's about it. Flare isn't much good unless you have high trajectory, so all in all a 120mm mortar turret system seems to be optimum choice if you want something heavier than 90mm. - but I see the doctrinal conflict of having mortars in DIRECT support.

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a.) I see Stryker - as it is used - in conflict with MRAPs, a protected motorized infantry vehicle.

B.) On the Gavins: I think if they'd invested as many ressources into M113 as they did to convert the Piranha into the Stryker, the M113, esp in version A4 would have been a quite suitable vehicle.
a.) MRAPs are probably what Stryker should have been, given a bit of lateral thinking.

B.) Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no such vehicle as the Gavin.
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Old 01-31-2008   #46
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In response to:

(b) No, there is no vehicle ever officially christened the "Gavin," but it's been an off-and-on popular nickname for the M113 (which as far as I know has never had an official name) for some 40 years. . .

(a) Perhaps some wish the Stryker had become the MRAP, but I think a lot of the concerns voiced around here over the FOB-mentality in connection with the MRAP (all tied to the oft-stated COIN paradox about force protection not equaling security) are valid, and also if I'm not mistaken the MRAP is less deployable and multi-mission than the Stryker. Some may question the wisdom of basing several combat brigades around the Stryker - I'm sure a lot of people would be stunned if you were to outfit a few brigades entirely with MRAPs.

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Old 01-31-2008   #47
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Wikipedia: The M113 has never received an official name, but has received a variety of nicknames over the years. The NLF called it the "Green Dragon"; the Swiss referred to it as the "Elefantenrollschuh" or elephants' roller-skate; the Germans called it the "Schweinewürfel" or pig cube.[7][8] U.S. troops tended to refer to the M113 simply as a "track". Some sources have referred to the M113 as the "Gavin" in an allusion to Gen. Gavin, but U.S. forces have never used the name.[7] The Israeli official name for the M113 is "Bardelas" (Cheetah) but the troops call it "Zelda" (another nickname is "Zippo" after the brand of lighters, as the M113 tends to combust when hit by anti-tank weapons). The Australian Army refers to its M113A1s as "Buckets", and the modified M113A1 fitted with 76mm turrets as "Beasts".
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Old 01-31-2008   #48
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Default Why 105?

I wish I could say the decision to arm the Stryker with a 105mm was the result of the sort of close and careful analysis many on this site like to do in their spare time, but the fact is that the Army had a bunch of old 105 parts and 105mm ammo in warehouses, depots and industry were still tooled up for that caliber, etc. It was pretty much a question of cost and convenience. Also, to remind everyone, the Stryker was supposed to be an interim vehicle, off-the-shelf, to get us through to the FCS.

As for using variants of M113, the Army leadership early on - we're talking 1999 here - decided any new vehicle would be wheeled, not tracked.
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Old 01-31-2008   #49
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a.) MRAPs are probably what Stryker should have been, given a bit of lateral thinking.
Some of the requirements for the primary IAV, the infantry carrier, were the ability to carry a fully equipped infantry squad, commonality of parts across the IAV variants as well as with other vehicles within the IBCT, some baseline survivability requirements, and the capability for intra-theater air transport via C130.

While there are many MRAP variants, I suspect that the ones that can carry a full infantry squad would start to bust your logistics/transportability constraints for the organization.

A Stryker vs. MRAP evaluation would need to be completed at the organizational and operational concept level.
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Old 01-31-2008   #50
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I wish I could say the decision to arm the Stryker with a 105mm was the result of the sort of close and careful analysis many on this site like to do in their spare time, but the fact is that the Army had a bunch of old 105 parts and 105mm ammo in warehouses, depots and industry were still tooled up for that caliber, etc. It was pretty much a question of cost and convenience. Also, to remind everyone, the Stryker was supposed to be an interim vehicle, off-the-shelf, to get us through to the FCS.

As for using variants of M113, the Army leadership early on - we're talking 1999 here - decided any new vehicle would be wheeled, not tracked.

Okay, as someone who has had M113A3(+) in his MTOE (slat armor, cupolas, BFT, etc). They suck. They were okay in the 1960's. They're a pretty flexible vehicle. Spare parts are available.

But let's not overlook:

1) The ride absolutely sucks. The infantry hate it. The only thing I liked was the ability for the infantry to open the top hatches and scan.
2) The armor isn't that great, and the slat armor makes it just as unwieldly in urban terrain as the Stryker. Additionally, there's no top protection worth mentioning.
3) They're severely underpowered with all that armor added
4) They're slow, on a good day with all that armor you might reach a screaming 15-20 mph, if your engine doesn't overheat.
5) They break A LOT more than any other vehicle I had, including M1 tanks.
6) Funny thing happened on the way to the up-armoring plant. The ramp pump burned out on every one because it couldn't lift the troop door with that extra armor. so the soldiers had to often use the troop hatch to exit, not exactly rapid deployable infantry.

Now some of that could be resolved with R&D and upgrades, but the M113 is simply a product of the 1950's whose time is past.. Having had M113A3+'s in my MTOE and worked around Strykers, I'll take the stryker for the COIN/LIC mission. And a M2 Bradley was by far the most flexible and useful vehicle in my menu during OIF. Firepower, troop capacity (low, but enough), and armor.

I think there was a thread about the wingnut who was the M113 "Gavin" advocate and fanboy ....
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Old 02-01-2008   #51
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But let's not overlook:

1) The ride absolutely sucks. The infantry hate it. The only thing I liked was the ability for the infantry to open the top hatches and scan.
2) The armor isn't that great, and the slat armor makes it just as unwieldly in urban terrain as the Stryker. Additionally, there's no top protection worth mentioning.
3) They're severely underpowered with all that armor added
4) They're slow, on a good day with all that armor you might reach a screaming 15-20 mph, if your engine doesn't overheat.
5) They break A LOT more than any other vehicle I had, including M1 tanks.
6) Funny thing happened on the way to the up-armoring plant. The ramp pump burned out on every one because it couldn't lift the troop door with that extra armor. so the soldiers had to often use the troop hatch to exit, not exactly rapid deployable infantry.


I think there was a thread about the wingnut who was the M113 "Gavin" advocate and fanboy ....
...and everyone of those can be fixed. Not just a bit, but a lot. The Aussies, Canuks and Norgies have all done it to varying degrees and the Israelis and still tinkering with some stuff. By any analysis, M-113 can be upgraded into an extremely capable APC, with the same comms, optics and weapons as Stryker, or better.

Now I am not going to insult anyone's intelligence by getting into the track v wheels argument. "We is all adults here". M113 capability could be significantly extended, for a fractional cost. Do you want to is another question.

The Fan boy you speak of is Mike Sparks.
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Old 02-01-2008   #52
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Remember, the MGS - like the SBCT - is not designed for high intensity warfare.
Isn't that a huge problem? Especially with the surviveability of the relatively lightly armored Stryker being predicated on situational awareness, which is far less likely in the current environment in Iraq and Afghanistan?

My understanding is that the Stryker was almost a political move by the Army to get in on the post-Cold War peacekeeping role in a big way, by getting this medium-weight, rapidly deployable platform.

But correct me if I'm wrong, while most variants can fit in a C-130 (can MGS?), they need to be fitted with screens to be able to handle RPGs. Doesn't that almost defeat the whole concept?
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Old 02-01-2008   #53
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...and everyone of those can be fixed. Not just a bit, but a lot. The Aussies, Canuks and Norgies have all done it to varying degrees and the Israelis and still tinkering with some stuff. By any analysis, M-113 can be upgraded into an extremely capable APC, with the same comms, optics and weapons as Stryker, or better.

Now I am not going to insult anyone's intelligence by getting into the track v wheels argument. "We is all adults here". M113 capability could be significantly extended, for a fractional cost.
That's the argument made here:
http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/pdf/stryker_reality_of_war.pdf

The writer is some author I've never heard of, writing for a Congressman a few years ago. But I'd be curious what more informed members thought of his main points.
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Old 02-01-2008   #54
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I have posted here before on this, other than the MGS variant, every soldier I have talked to who has been on Strykers raves about their performance in Iraq.

I've directly worked with several Stryker companies and come away impressed as well. Sure, it has its limitations, but so does any platform.

The d-n-i stuff is mostly politically motivated diatribe.
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Old 02-01-2008   #55
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I know this item very well. There are so many things wrong with that document I don't know where to begin. It is not a work of serious military thought.
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Old 02-01-2008   #56
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...and everyone of those can be fixed. Not just a bit, but a lot. The Aussies, Canuks and Norgies have all done it to varying degrees and the Israelis and still tinkering with some stuff. By any analysis, M-113 can be upgraded into an extremely capable APC, with the same comms, optics and weapons as Stryker, or better.

Now I am not going to insult anyone's intelligence by getting into the track v wheels argument. "We is all adults here". M113 capability could be significantly extended, for a fractional cost. Do you want to is another question.

The Fan boy you speak of is Mike Sparks.
No real issue here. No one seriously doubts the wheeled Stryker was chosen over the M8 AGS/M113 upgrade option mostly because of one word - transformation, or the need to create a perception of change in the Army. The Task Force Hawk debacle (Albania) forced the Army to get deployable or become irrelevant. It faced the perception that it was stodgy (maybe true) and not adapted to the future. That was beginning to impact funding in favor of the USAF and Navy, even before Rumsfeld. A new look was needed to sell congress on the new approach, and rebuilding/upgrading forty year old vehicles (M113's)and adding another tank (remember, tanks were the weapon of the past), even a light one, wasn't going to break the mold.

Hence, a wheeled, air-transportable, air supportable, mobile system that could be rapidly deployed using theater (C-130) only lift, at least on paper. Welcome the LAV-3, or Stryker. Add a fancy new beret and wham ... transformation you have.

I realize that's a little cynical, but there was as much an IO message in the Stryker as anything, for the Army, DoD, and Congress.

That's not to say it's a bad vehicle per se. The wheels/tracks argument was an uproar in Armor branch. As a reformed skeptic, I have walked away impressed (except for the MGS, I suppose).
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Old 02-01-2008   #57
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So the SBCTs are concepted as little more than protected and reinforced constabulary troops, but since they are here, they are or will be used in roles that are basically beyond their concept and capabilites. I see them always in danger of being employed in the wrong spot of the sequence of Armor - Cavalry - MechInf - MotInf. Basically for tasks like Irak cavalry would be right for the "heavy" part. Problem is they are equipped with 35 metric tons M2/M3. Should have bought the CV90 - are the same weight as Strykers and look much more real to me (I have no experience in either of those vehicles). Of course, if "wheeled" is the buzzword ...


But something else: Given the fact that the whole IBCT thing is just a placeholder for FCS, and the idea is having a protected/armored air portable system, maybe the answer does not lie in keeping things within C-130J limits, but in a new transport plane, like e.g. licence produce the Airbus A400M.

Now that the FCS looks more like 30 tons (and I think it will go to 35) the Hercules is out of the picture anyway (for the lower part of the C-130 mission the C-27J is the right thing). Or if somebody doesn't like Eurostuff, proceede with that Northrop ESTOL Stelath-BWB (Future Tactical Airlifter or something) concept.

And to turn one of the arguments here on its head - when not willing to use an APC stemming from the 1950's, why base whole formations like IBCT or FCS-UAs on the transport capabilities of the 1950's (C-130)? I think what we see here is the lack of coordination from the leadership, to force the USAF to create/buy the right sized tactical airlifter for Army requirements.
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Old 02-01-2008   #58
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So the SBCTs are concepted as little more than protected and reinforced constabulary troops, but since they are here, they are or will be used in roles that are basically beyond their concept and capabilites. I see them always in danger of being employed in the wrong spot of the sequence of Armor - Cavalry - MechInf - MotInf. Basically for tasks like Irak cavalry would be right for the "heavy" part. Problem is they are equipped with 35 metric tons M2/M3. Should have bought the CV90 - are the same weight as Strykers and look much more real to me (I have no experience in either of those vehicles).
Whoah there! The infantry man that falls out of the back of Stryker is most likely as capable as the man falling out of the back of a CV90, Bradley or Namera. - or an MRAP of X or Y capability.

When you boil SBCT concept down to its bare bones its about increasing the capability of Light Infantry, using protected mobility, and the huge range of pluses that gives you.
That's all.
IMO, a good the idea started to go badly wrong once it went beyond that, and then defending the decision was left to people who didn't understand the idea. - That's what I take away from Rob Thornton's experience.

Stryker really could have been one of those ideas that "changed infantry." Unfortunately it transformed itself into something different.
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Old 02-01-2008   #59
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I have posted here before on this, other than the MGS variant, every soldier I have talked to who has been on Strykers raves about their performance in Iraq.
That was my understanding too. Col. Ralph Peters told me that in 2004, that the troops loved the Stryker, and the M113 was "a deathtrap."

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The d-n-i stuff is mostly politically motivated diatribe.
It did strike me as a pretty questionable document. But you seem to agree with him on the political nature of the whole project from the outset. Is he way off base on the RPG issue?
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Old 02-01-2008   #60
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That was my understanding too. Col. Ralph Peters told me that in 2004, that the troops loved the Stryker, and the M113 was "a deathtrap."



It did strike me as a pretty questionable document. But you seem to agree with him on the political nature of the whole project from the outset. Is he way off base on the RPG issue?
My understanding from the Company I worked with (part of 172d Stryker from Alaska), was that they had been attacked by RPG's in Mosul without major damage or casualties to the crew. I am sure there are some weak spots, but even the M1 tank has those.

What was convincing to me was the praise these infantrymen gave the Stryker in an IED-heavy area, with multiple threats. E-4's rarely fail to give you a blunt assessment (see the original thread article), and all the ones I talked to liked the vehicle and felt safe in it. If it was the deathtrap described, you wouldn't hear that from joe. Granted, they had bolt on armor and slat armor added from the original version as well.

One of the suppositions on why it does well is the "boat" hull - HMMWV's and M113's have right angles that absorb, rather than deflect blasts.
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