The US Army has directed General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) to use a double V-hull design in the production of 45 more Stryker armoured personnel carriers. The V-hull was pioneered in South Africa in the 1970s to provide vehicles protection against landmine blasts. It has been widely adopted globally since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 for its ability to protect against improvised explosive devices.
A contract announcement, dated October 13, suggests the Army is moving fast on the double V-hull design for the Stryker, which promises better protection from roadside bombs in Afghanistan.
In a July 6 memo, Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter authorised the US Army to purchase early-order material for 330 vehicles. Carter’s memo approved the US Army’s plan to simultaneously test and produce the double-V-hull vehicles, which the service aims to begin deploying in June. But Carter also directs service officials to return to him throughout the process to get permission to proceed to the next step.
While the US Army moves ahead with production, it is also conducting blast testing at Aberdeen Test Centre. Live-fire and operational testing is scheduled to continue through the third quarter of fiscal 2011. GDLS will begin delivering vehicles by May and deliveries will be completed by February 2012.
After several Strykers were damaged in Afghanistan, General Dynamics in January proposed to introduce the new hull design before the next Stryker brigade deployed in July 2011. The V-shaped hull distributes the blast and moves the bottom of the vehicle higher off the ground. Half of the work on the new contract will be performed in London, Ontario, and the rest in Anniston, Alabama, according to the contract announcement.
The Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled, 4+4-wheel-drive, armoured combat vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III. The vehicle is named for two American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for valour: Pfc Stuart S. Stryker, killed in action in World War II and Spc4 Robert F. Stryker, killed in Vietnam.
The initial contract was awarded in November 2000. By October last year the US Army had received 2988 of the vehicles in ten different configurations to equip seven brigades combat teams. The vehicle was first deployed to Iraq in October 2003 and to Afghanistan in the middle of last year.