$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.

US Army says Strykers need bigger gun to fight Russia

Stryker-1-5-LDefense News has posted an article in which they report that at a recent press conference, the commander of the the Stryker-equipped 2nd Cavalry Regiment says his vehicles are outgunned by their Russian counterparts.  The Army staff in April approved a request from 2nd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. John Meyer, to fit a 30mm cannon on 81 of the infantry carriers, needed for it to engage similar units or light-armored vehicles.  The 2nd Cavalry earlier this year completed a high-profile show-of-force convoy operation that maneuvered 120 vehicles across Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and back to its home base in Vilseck, Germany. The mission, called a Dragoon Ride, was one of a series of multilateral operations and exercises meant to reassure US allies in Europe in the wake of Russian activities.

The article notes that earlier this month, the Army requested that $9.8 million in 2015 funds be reprogrammed to outfit Strykers with the 30mm cannon. According to that request, the program would ramp up over the next two years, at $97.5 million in 2016 and $55 million in 2017. The first unit would be equipped in 27 months.  However, not everyone in Congress approves of the idea.  Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., argued against the move, saying the program had not been vetted by the committee. It looked like an expensive multiyear commitment whose costs were unclear and availability “would not be instantaneous,” he said. He said the estimated cost to up-gun Strykers was $3.8 million each.

Full article here.

Stryker upgrade budget increased to $371million

Breaking Defense.com is reporting that funding to upgun the Army’s General Dynamics-built Stryker armored vehicle has grown 350 percent in three weeks.  The article lists reasons for this budget increase as fear of Russia and the situation in the Ukraine as well as lobbying from General Dynamics.  In mid-May, the House approved a $79.5 million addition to the administration’s budget request. Yesterday, the Senate, not to be outdone, voted $371 million — four and a half times more. The House Appropriations Committee has actually approved $411 million on Tuesday, but that hasn’t passed the full chamber yet. The upgrade in question is called the Medium Caliber Remote Weapons Station (MCRWS), a remotely controlled turret containing a 30mm quick-firing cannon. Containing only the gun and ammo, the system takes up less room than a manned turret, so the Stryker can still carry the same number of troops, which was a critical consideration for the Army.

Full article available here.

Strykers possibly to be upgunned to 30mm

photo-5Breaking Defense has posted an article stating that the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe wants 81 of its eight-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles fitted with 30 millimeter automatic cannons.  The article notes that the 2nd Cavalry wants the weapons because it’s the Army’s frontline force in Europe. There are only two US combat brigades still based on the continent, the 2nd Cav in Vilseck, Germany and the 173rd Airborne in Vicenza, Italy, a light infantry formation with very few vehicles of any kind and nothing as heavy as a Stryker.  Since Russia seized Crimea, both the 2nd Cavalry and the 173rd Airborne have deployed to the Baltic States. Currently the Stryker is armed with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.  The Defense Department has been reportedly testing the 30mm “medium caliber remote weapons station” developed by Kongsberg Protech Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems since 2013.

Read the full article from Breaking Defense here.