Skip to comments.Not Problem-Divorced: Army (and language) take another hit
Posted on 04/07/2005 11:22:17 AM PDT by quidnunc
The U.S. Armys new high-speed, low-drag combat vehicle called, dum-da-dum-dum! the Stryker! is carrying troops all over Iraq. These government-issue vehicles are dodging improvised bombs. Theyre taking the battle to the enemy. As a general named Patton once said, theyre making the other poor bastard die for his country. (Or at least making him die for that really, really rich guy shivering in a cave somewhere on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.)
The only problem is the Stryker! dum-da-dum-dum! doesnt work. Not very well, anyway.
More than 300 of the lightweight vehicles are seeing duty in Iraq. At least when theyre not up on blocks.
A classified Army report dug up by the Washington Post says a shield bolted to the vehicle for this specific conflict is so heavy that troops have to change tires and wheel assemblies several times a day. The vehicle was meant to be light, but the shield adds so much weight that the Strykers parts wear out on the double.
Oh, and that shield thats causing all the trouble? It only protects troops from about half the grenades and bombs the enemy is using.
And, by the way, a few other small problems have been noted:
Displays inside the vehicles are poorly designed and most dont work. And when the displays are working, theyre working in black and white. Which doesnt help when somebody sends word to look out for a certain color car . The computers inside the Strykers are too slow. Thats when theyre working. A lot of times, they either freeze up or they die from the heat. The main weapon, a grenade launcher, wont hit targets . But when that grenade launcher isnt hitting those targets, its still dangerous. To the squad leader. The weapon can swing dangerously in his direction . And when troops are in full body armor, which they ought to be out on patrol, the seat belts dont work. Which has led to deaths when the things roll over.
Oy. Doesnt the Pentagon test these things?
Why, ahem, yes. Yes we do, say the brass. And were working to fix the problems.
"Were very proud of the Stryker team," said a lieutenant colonel whose title is so long that he really should be a full bird colonel, or maybe a general. But "it hasnt been something thats problem-divorced."
Problem-divorced? Is that a new military way to say something aint perfect? Why in the name of Websters cant educators, mayors, and American military officers speak English? Cant the Army find a straight-talking sergeant somewhere who can speak plain? (Well, maybe not too plain.)
Americans who send their sons and daughters to war dont expect perfect excuse us, problem-divorced vehicles. They do expect those vehicles to be the best America can provide. And the Stryker! dum-da-dum-dum! isnt the best. Not yet. Not when 17 soldiers in one particular Stryker brigade have been killed in action, and another five have died in rollovers. Not when just about every day Americans have to read about another four or five or six American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb. Not when the soldiers driving those vehicles tell Army investigators that the problems are only getting worse. Not when America can do better.
As George S. Patton must have said many a time, lets send in the (expletive) tanks. But not before we dump the (expletive) engineers/designers/whoever was responsible for producing these (expletive) trucks. Maybe we could start by changing their (expletive) name.
This is really childish. What other vehicles would this writer like us to be using? Overall, the Strykers have been popular with the troops, and effective. The 75th Ranger Regiment just requested Strykers for to use in Afghanistan -- maybe the writer would like to see that request denied.
Someone once said, "America is an odd country -- all her most brilliant military geniuses work as journalists."
They have to change wheel assemblies several times a day??? I smell BS.
This article is just plain silly. I'd take the author's point about the 5 killed in rollover accidents, but this might just be a consequence of the armored RPG cages that have made these Strykers top heavy. Probably worth the trade-off when you consider what an RPG can do to a single Stryker, Crew and mounted Infantry Squad if it were struck in the vitals by an RPG. As for the other 17 deaths the author is vague. 25 Cents says these guys were killed in foot patrols while their Strykers were performing overwatch. Hardly a vehicle defect.
I know a lot of people in Arkansas and they all fully matured to adulthood. Why on earth did this rag hire an adult with arrested development?
Personally, I still favor the M-113 upgrade option, but the Stryker is far from a lemon or a deathtrap. I just like tracks.
Bradleys are proof against RPGs. They're slower than the Strykers, though.
They are heavily armored APCs or IFVs. The Stryker is a light armored vehicle, and really is being used in a threat area above its weight class. What we need is the yet unnamed Medium Armored Vehicle that's starting production now.
The M113 is a coffin on treads. They keep trying to upgrade it, but it's stupidly easy to kill one. There is no way to make one RPG resistant.
Consequently they have to change tires on several vehicles per unit (not several times on each vehicle) per day.
The seat belts are too short to buckle around crew members while they're wearing their body armour so some soldiers have been killed in rollovers.
The Strykers were a pet project of a former Army chief of staff so they evidently were not adequately debugged prior to being introduced into combat.
I like tracks but for urban security, you can't beat a wheeled vehicle. The tracks will tear up asphalt and really make like difficult for everyone. Bradleys are expensive to make in numbers.
We could just buy a bunch of BRDMs from some cash poor former soviet country and use them instead. And grab some ZSUs 23/4 while we are at it. Put the Shilka in mode 5 (ground attack) and that'll get some terrorist attention.
More info on the Stryker: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/iav.htm
7.62x51 will go through an M113 the long way, Kevlar upgrades or no. The hull is *aluminum*.
Some were used in the major combat phase as support vehicles and personnel transport, but they have been retired from the field since they are useless for urban operations in this environment.
The problem with Stryker is NOT the Engineering: it was developed and built to specification. The problem is, the specification stank. You ask for crap, you get crap. Let's see. . .computers and electronics generate heat, but nobody thought to put cooling in place. . .when a likely battle venue was the Desert. Armor good only against bullets. . . and so the bad guys learn quickly to use RPGs and IEDs. . .
But Gen. Shinseki wanted Stryker, and wanted it fast. . .and so that's what he got. May it haunt him forever. . .
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The uparmored M113's are still pathetic. A .50 will easily ventilate any of the uparmor variants, and they still have inadequate undercarriage protection. A hand grenade can kill one.
Litany of Problems Reported with Army's Stryker Vehicle
The Army's Stryker troop transport vehicle has many defects, putting troops in Iraq at unexpected risk from rocket-propelled grenades and raising questions about the vehicle's development and $11 billion cost, according to a detailed critique in a classified Army study obtained by The Washington Post.
More than 300 of the lightly armored, wheeled vehicles have been ferrying U.S. soldiers around northern Iraq since October 2003. The Army has been ebullient about the vehicle's success there, with Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, telling the House Armed Services Committee last month that "we're absolutely enthusiastic about what the Stryker has done."
Two Stryker brigades are based at Fort Lewis.
But the Army's Dec. 21 report, drawn from confidential interviews with operators of the vehicle in Iraq in the last quarter of 2004, lists a catalog of complaints about the vehicle, including design flaws, inoperable gear and maintenance problems that are "getting worse, not better." Although many soldiers in the field say they like the vehicle, the Army document, titled "Initial Impressions Report Operations in Mosul, Iraq," makes clear that the vehicle's military performance has fallen short.
The report states, for example, that an armoring shield installed on Stryker vehicles to protect against unanticipated attacks by Iraqi insurgents using low-tech weapons works against half the grenades used to assault it. The shield, installed at a base in Kuwait, is so heavy that tire pressure must be checked three times daily. Nine tires a day are changed after failing, the report says; the Army told The Post the current figure is actually "11 tire and wheel assemblies daily."
"The additional weight significantly impacts the handling and performance during the rainy season," says the report, which was prepared for the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. "Mud appeared to cause strain on the engine, the drive shaft and the differentials," none of which was designed to carry the added armor.
Commanders' displays aboard the vehicles are poorly designed and do not work; none of the 100 display units in Iraq are being used because of "design and functionality shortfalls," the report states. The vehicle's computers are too slow and overheat in desert temperatures or freeze up at critical moments, such as "when large units are moving at high speeds simultaneously" and overwhelm its sensors.
The main weapon system, a $157,000 grenade launcher, fails to hit targets when the vehicle is moving, contrary to its design, the report states. Its laser designator, zoom, sensors, stabilizer and rotating speed all need redesign; it does not work at night; and its console display is in black and white, although "a typical warning is to watch for a certain color automobile," the report says. Some crews removed part of the launchers because they can swivel dangerously toward the squad leader's position.
(R. Jeffrey Smith [The Washington Post] in The Seattle Times, March 31, 2005)
To Read This Article Click Here
It looks to me like the Army brass sent the Strykers to Iraq expecting them to operate in a much less intense and hostile environment than proved to be the case.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. I'm sure that the Stryker will evolve to be a fine combat tool - but it's fighting threats well over its weight and it needs to be withdrawn. Bradleys with rubber pads on the treads would do better, albeit slower.
Here is a different link but not as much detail.
They do a lot of nighttime patrols raids and it's easier to sneak up on the bad guys when they don't make a clatter that can be heard a mile away.
From your link:
"In 1984 a decision was made to incorporate the RISE package, improved driver controls, spall liners, external fuel tanks and provisions for installation of an external armor kit on an M113 chassis. Additionally, a bolt-on armor kit providing 14.5 mm ballistic protection was developed and tested. Except for the mounting provisions the external armor appliquÈ was not incorporated for production."
Sounds like I'm right - they never made the applique armor. It's still vulnerable to the .51 (Soviet equivalent of our .50).
"Crew survivability is increased by the addition of spall suppression liners and locating the fuel tanks externally, on the rear of the vehicle."
Want to bet they forgot to armor the tanks again? Fireball, anyone?
The M113 still throws tracks like an SOB, it still has no undercarriage armor of any significance, and it is significantly more vulnerable than a Stryker. The only advantage it has is that it's lighter and cheaper, that's all.
In 1984 a decision was made to incorporate the RISE package, improved driver controls, spall liners, external fuel tanks and provisions for installation of an external armor kit on an M113 chassis. Additionally, a bolt-on armor kit providing 14.5 mm ballistic protection was developed and tested. Except for the mounting provisions the external armor appliquÈ was not incorporated for production.
This is the same kit that was also developed for the Stryker, which was later found to be inadequate.
They probably are infested with pop-up ads.
Fox Trot Alpha I have a target. Sniper in third story of building at corner. There he is...aiming...DANG, Pop Up Ad for weight loss pills!!...he's gone.
It seems the author has attended the Walter Cronkite school of Disinformation.
The MSM is trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Yeah, I remember when the M-1 tank was in development. (It was called the XM-1 at the time.) The press was apoplectic -- they said it was a death trap and every single person working on the project was a military moron. The NY Times was especially adamant about this.
It turns out it's the best tank the world have ever seen -- it's still being improved and upgraded today.
So who are the real morons?
Most every weapon system can stand to be upgraded and improved -- especially the new ones like the Stryker. I'm glad the Stryker is getting its share of improvements.
I'm not opposed to the Strykers at all, I just think they were rushed into production before they were sufficiently tested because they were a pet project of the head honcho.
They definitely have their place, but that place apparently isn't everywhere.
Apparently the next improved model of Stryker is due to begin entering service in 2007.
Blame Clinton, his "Defense leadership" and former Army CoS Shinseki, the same guy who brought us the "Army of One" and it's black berets designed to make every soldier "elite".
Oh, they were debugged alright. The outfit that conducted the tests got a citation for finding so much wrong with it. However they didn't find everything, and somethings couldn't really be fixed without throwing the whole thing out and starting over. The anti RPG bustle came from that effort.
The Rangers have requested some of these vehicles for Afghanistan. (The story is here.) Would you like to tell them, "No way -- we're still bebugging them"? Or would you like to meet their requests now while we also put improvements into place?
I wish we had more time to de-bug these before we went to war. But I don't think that means we should keep ourselves from using them now. If we wait until weapons are perfect, they won't get used at all.
(To me, the most compelling criticism I've heard of the Strykers is that they're perfect for peacekeeping but not tough enough for all-out combat against a stand-up adversary. If that's right, it means we're smart to use them in Iraq.)
I'm for giving the theatre commanders the tools they ask for insofar as that is possible.
But sometimes these weapons syatems get to be the center of empire building and are pushed without regard for their appropriatness in changed cirumstances.
The Crusader 155mm gun was a good example of this.
Shouldn't be much of a chore if the Strykers' CTIS [Central Tire Inflation System] is working okay. There are concerns that the airlines to the wheel can be torn away in jungle or heavy brush, but that shouldn't be a problem in the sandbox...unless multiple flat tires requiring changeouts have resulted in the systems being unplugged. But CTIS has worked well on the Hummvee, armored and not, and has been around since the amphibious DUKW duece-and-a-half truck of WWII.
Personally, I still favor the M-113 upgrade option, but the Stryker is far from a lemon or a deathtrap. I just like tracks.
I too prefer the old M113 *bucket*. But the Stryker's remote-controlled .50 MG whose ammunition comes unlinked in the feed chutes to the gun is not a big improvement, and for shirtsleeve jihadis I expect a twin M240 would be an improvement, maybe even a twin 5.56mm M249 SAW.
The NCOs at Ft Knox I met who were offered a one-grade promotion to transfer to Stryker units weren't buying it, and I haven't either. But some of the vehicles' flaws could be cured if it was admitted they exist, and a few others by not trying to use the Stryker as a one-vehicle-does it all system.
With the RPG cages on the Stryker, only two can be carried aboard a C17. And the reason given for the cancellation of the Army Crusader 155 SP artillery piece was that only two would fit aboard a C17. THat sure makes it hard to use the Stryker as a reaction force vehicle that can be flown where needed in theater by C130....
I can't speak for him. But M113s, The Marine LAV, [ with a 25mm Chain Gun and co-ax MG under armor, that work] the M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle [.50 AND 7,62mm MG, in a turret], Bradley Fighting Vehicles, even leftover Vietnam War/Panama M551 Sheridan *airborne recon vehicles* would be an improvement. Yeah, the 152mm gun of the Sheridan is obsolete now, but we're not worried about Iraqi tanks anymore, so stick a 25mm or .50 Gatling in its place, put it on a flatbed for convoy escorts or security details, and it'd likely do as well as it did for the 82nd Airborne in Panama.
Heck, even the ex-Soviet BTR-80 is an improvement. Its guns work, there are side doors for the crew to exit from, and firing ports so they can fight from inside.
They got 'em, 16 each. It's the rough country in which the Soviets ran their BTR-70s and -80s for a decade, so it ought to be an interesting realworld test of the vehicle's capabilities. But I suspect that the things will resemble porcupines with all the gunbarrels sticking out after the Rangers work them over.
What are the BRDMs?
About the cheapest armored recon vehicle around. We don't need computers and all that crap to kill these guys. Simple iron sites are fine (just look at that Kentucky units engagement)
They would often be teamed up with BMPs back in the Soviet days.