Search for active protection of US Army Strykers at an impasse

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The Stryker has today become the most represented armored vehicle in the US Army, with more than 4200 examples in service, available in more than ten specialized versions, ranging from troop transport to mortar, including vehicle command and operation in contaminated areas. This 8×8 light armored vehicle represented, when it entered service in 2001, a profound evolution of the paradigms of the US Army, in a much lighter and more mobile approach to maneuver, which is reminiscent of that of the forces French with their VAB. The Stryker has proven to be very suitable for low and medium intensity combat, in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq, providing an economical and effective alternative to the heavy M2 Bradleys.

But as the hypothesis of high intensity conflicts reappeared, the US Army quickly realized that its armor was now very vulnerable, facing technologically advanced forces. This is the reason why it decided, in July 2018, to study the addition of an active protection device to its Strykers, as was done for its Abrams battle tanks, and its infantry fighting vehicles. Bradleys. Two companies, the German Rheinmetall and the Israeli Rafael, presented their soft-hard kill protection devices, the Trophy VPS for Rafael, and the German ADS.

The Stryker for Rafael's trophy tests Defense News | Construction of armored vehicles | UNITED STATES
The silhouette of the Stryker is profoundly modified by the addition of Hard-Kill systems

Unfortunately, it seems that the tests did not satisfy the American military authorities, since the US Army announced that they were now completed, and that none of the participants had been selected. The precise reasons for this failure were not presented, although problems of technological maturity were mentioned.

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The implementation of an active protection system necessarily adds a significant mass to the armored vehicle, which affects its performance and its power/weight ratio, which is essential for maintaining sufficient all-terrain mobility. These hard-kill protection devices consist of a radar and laser detection chain, and effectors to intercept projectiles, initially designed to equip combat tanks like the Leopard 2 or the Merkava, and infantry fighting vehicles, much heavier than the Stryker. It therefore seems reasonable to blame the Stryker for this failure, because the American armored vehicle is very light, weighing only 18 tonnes. The power consumption of the device can also be a problem.

The fact remains that, without active protection, and with its light armor, the US Army's Strykers will be very exposed in the event of high-intensity engagements, while the Stryker brigades today constitute the backbone of the projection forces of the US Army. US Army.

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