The Army's Fast Stryker Vehicles Get a Big Weapons Upgrade
The lightly armed wheeled vehicles are getting more power, in case they ever come up against Russian tanks.
By Kyle Mizokami
Mar 1, 2016
The U.S. Army's Stryker vehicles, originally envisioned as lightly armed infantry fighting vehicles, are getting a much-needed firepower upgrade. The Strykers will be equipped with new rapid-fire cannons and anti-tank guided missiles that will allow them to fight Russian tank and mechanized forces.
The Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle came around in the days before 9/11 as a rapidly deployable fighting vehicle carrying a squad of nine infantrymen. Riding on wheels rather than tracks, it was lighter than most Army combat vehicles and easier for transports like the C-17 to carry.
The Stryker emphasized mobility above all else, including firepower and defense. Although the lightly armored vehicle had plating capable of stopping machine gun rounds, artillery fragments, and light cannon fire, tank guns and anti-tank missiles would easily destroy a Stryker. As for firepower ,the baseline Stryker carries only a .50-caliber machine gun. While useful against insurgents in Iraq, it's a peashooter against Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, unable to penetrate the thick hides of either.
The solution? According to DefenseNews, the Army is planning to upgrade the Stryker with a turret armed with new and deadlier weapons. Half of the Strykers will be equipped with Javelin anti-tank missiles, the other half with a rapid-fire 30-milllimeter autocannon.
The Javelin anti-tank missile was first deployed in the mid-1990s. It's a shoulder-fired missile system with an advanced target recognition and tracking system. In combat, the operator locks onto a tank and launches the missile. The missile zooms upward, tracks, and then dives down onto the target, smashing through the thin top turret armor with devastating effect. Javelin has a range of more than 2,500 meters and is also effective against helicopters and buildings.
The 30-millimeter gun will actually be a larger version of the Bushmaster cannon mounted on the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. As such, it will have slightly better range and penetration against armored targets, at the cost of storing fewer rounds. The 30-millimeter gun woulud be useful against Russian BMP and BTR infantry fighting vehicles, and the new generation of Boomerang combat vehicles. It should also be effective against helicopters.
The plan is that half of the Strykers will be able to kill pretty much anything, while the other half will be able to kill lighter armored vehicles in the same class as themselves. While it would be nice to upgrade all Strykers with a turret that mounts both missiles and guns, like the Bradley has, in this age of budget austerity one must settle for a reasonable compromise.
The first of the new turreted Strykers should arrive in 2018. In the meantime, here's a video of a Javelin anti-tank missile destroying a T-72 tank:http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/w...ehicle-weapons/