$5 million to upgrade a Stryker?

Jane’s is reporting that the cost of a proposed firepower upgrade for 81 US Army Stryker wheeled personnel carriers is priced at a whopping $5 million per vehicle.  This upgrade would up-gun 81 Strykers for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Germany with 30 mm cannons on remote weapon systems and others with Javelin anti-tank missiles.  According to Jane’s:

2013-11-14 KONGSBERG PROTECTOR2The cost per system appears particularly high (about USD5 million per vehicle), and according to Heidi Shyu, the army’s acquisition executive, this is partly schedule driven because it is through an urgent need statement that is seeking the upgrade as soon as possible. It is also for only 81 systems, so the limited quantity drives up per-unit costs. The price includes a design and integration element as well, she added.

These lethality upgrades are not for the heavier armoured Stryker Double-V Hull (DVH) vehicles, and rather are for the original flat-bottom configuration, although a Stryker engineering change proposal (ECP) effort may eventually include a 30 mm weapon for the DVH, Shyu said. “If we want more Strykers to have this capability beyond the 81 [requested in Europe], we will start a programme of record to do that,” she said, noting that the cost could be lower with a procurement of thousands of units.

Pricing on modern armored vehicles can be a bit hard to pin down, being influenced by factors such as exchange rates and production volume.  That said, most modern MBTs range anywhere from 4 to 10 million dollars each.  Using this metric, $5 for an upgrade to a Stryker does seem rather on the high side.  Of course, this is not the first time the Stryker program has drawn criticism for fiscal irresponsibility on the part of the US Army.