Army adding 30mm cannons to Strykers to fortify Army’s resolve against Russia in Europe

US. Army Stryker on Forward Operating Base, Ruba, at National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA., Jan. 10, 2017. (U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Spandau/Released)

The Army is now outfitting some of its Stryker armored vehicles with 30 mm cannons.

It is also scheduled to field the Strykers, upgraded with the new guns and turrets, when Army units deploy to Europe in 2018.

Working within a $300 million budget, the upgrade is a direct counter to the Russian threat in Europe.

Congress provided the Stryker program office funding in 2015 and 2016 to field Stryker infantry carrier vehicles with a 30 mm cannon to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe by 2018. The program allocates money for eight prototypes and upgrades to 83 production vehicles, plus spares, according to Defense News.

Stryker’s prime contractor — General Dynamics Land Systems — competed the upgrade contract, with Army approval, to modernize the Stryker’s gun and turret.

General Dynamics Land Systems chose Kongsberg Defense Systems as the turret provider and ATK’s XM813 30 mm cannon for the gun in December 2015.

Formal testing started six weeks ago and so far the Army has taken delivery of six out of eight prototypes — as of Feb. 10 — at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, according to Col. Glenn Dean, the project manager for Stryker.

A couple of subject matter experts from the 2nd Cavalry have developed a plan for all of the soldier equipment that would be loaded into a Stryker to test realistic operational weight distribution, and soldiers even have had a chance to fire the cannon, Dean said.

Crews are scheduled to arrive at Aberdeen this summer. 2nd Cavalry crews will train in the vehicle, fire demonstration rounds and develop gunnery training plans, Dean said.

Beginning in early ‘18, the first Stryker will touch down in Germany for early testing in the field. 2nd Cavalry crews will run through gunnery and tactical training and run the concept through its paces before the full brigade set of vehicles is delivered later in 2018, according to Dean.

The program office is not only proud of its innovative Stryker platform; it’s also pleased to be working within budget and ahead of deadlines.

Defense News reports the upgrade program is so under budget the Army reinvested the savings toward fielding Javelin anti-tank capabilities to the 2nd Cavalry at the same time it receives the Stryker vehicles next year, according to Dean.

“We didn’t have to go back to the Army and Congress to ask for money, we were able to do that with efficiencies we found in the program,” he added.

Dean said the program is coming together due to a variety of decisions and tradeoffs to keep pace with the schedule. Part of that means sticking to the integration of the Stryker’s mature capabilities.

There’s been some “minor teething problems within the program,” Dean told Defense News, such as needing to tweak and update the turret software.

The modernized Stryker is a marriage of old and new technology, and Dean contends having only minor issues and continuing to stay on target in terms of schedule and cost, is a success.

The eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicle is the U.S. Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team primary combat and combat support platform and the focal point of this ongoing phase of Army Transformation. Significantly lighter and more transportable than existing tanks and armored vehicles, the Stryker fulfills an immediate requirement to provide Combatant Commanders with a strategically deployable (C-17/C-5) and operationally deployable (C-130) brigade capable of rapid movement anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration.

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Author

  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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