BTR "Stryker" in Mosul, Iraq. 2005 year
Combat buses. For several decades, the main armored personnel carrier of the American army remained the tracked armored personnel carrier M113. The machine was produced in various versions in a huge series, numbering more than 80 thousand units produced. Completely withdraw from service the M113 is expected around 2030. The veteran, designed at the turn of the 1950-1960s, is gradually being replaced by new military equipment.
In the XXI century, the main armored personnel carrier of the American army is the wheeled M1126 Stryker. This four-axis combat vehicle is in service with mechanized brigades of the ground forces and is the main means of transporting motorized rifles.
From Switzerland via Canada
A new wheeled armored personnel carrier reached the United States in an interesting way, starting against the backdrop of pacifying landscapes of alpine meadows. The entire family of Stryker four-axle wheeled combat vehicles is a further development of the Canadian LAV III armored personnel carriers. In turn, the Canadians created their armored personnel carrier based on the Swiss armored personnel carrier Piranha III with an 8x8 wheel arrangement. During all these alterations, the car was modernized by each side at its discretion, but the Swiss “heredity” did not go away. Cars are still outwardly similar to each other.
The US military began to think about creating a new wheeled armored personnel carrier in 1999, at the same time as adopting a plan to transform the ground forces, taking into account new realities and moving away from the strategies of the Cold War period. The new combat vehicle was supposed to have good mobility, the ability to easily transport to any corner of the world, while occupying a niche between the heavy Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and the lightweight armored Humvi SUVs. After sorting through several possible options already available on the market, the Americans drew attention to the technique of their geographical neighbor. The Canadian branch of General Motors Defense Canada invited General Dynamics to take as a basis the ready-made LAV III armored personnel carrier as a base for the new military wheeled vehicles of the American army.
Piranha III 8x8
In 2000, after several months of testing, the option of upgrading the Canadian LAV III armored personnel carrier became the main one. At the same time, a contract was signed providing for the construction of more than two thousand new wheeled combat vehicles. In 2002, full-scale serial production began, in the same year the new armored personnel carrier received the official name. And already in 2003, the first 300 cars were transferred to Iraq, where they took part in hostilities.
General Dynamics Land Systems is responsible for the production of Strikers. Serial production of these combat vehicles was completed in 2014. A total of 4466 "Strikers" were produced, most of them are presented in the version of the classic armored personnel carriers. But in all, about ten different options were created, including reconnaissance combat vehicles, communication vehicles, command and staff versions, medical vehicles, engineering vehicles, vehicles for carrying out RBMB reconnaissance, and also carriers of heavy weapons - 105-mm guns or 120-mm mortar. Most of the "Strikers" are in service with the US Army. The foreign operator of the M1126 armored personnel carriers is so far only Thailand, which received 60 such combat vehicles from the presence of the US Army after the repair.
Technical features of the Stryker armored personnel carrier
The four-axle armored personnel carrier Stryker M1126 with an 8x8 wheel arrangement differs in the layout classic for western vehicles of this class. The scheme with all the drive wheels is suitable for off-road driving; on the highway, the Stryker driver can use the 8x4 scheme. In front of the armored personnel carrier on the left side there is traditionally a control compartment - here is the place of the mechanical drive. On the right side in the front of the housing is the engine-transmission compartment. Behind the driver is the seat of the commander of the combat vehicle. Above the crew seats there are two hatches in the roof of the hull. The middle and aft part of the combat vehicle is occupied by the airborne squad, which can freely accommodate up to 9 motorized rifles with full equipment and weapons. Landing and landing in the armored personnel carrier is carried out through the aft ramp door, you can also use the hatches in the roof of the hull above the landing compartment.
Working on a new armored personnel carrier for the American army, General Dynamics engineers used many of the best practices and technical solutions of their colleagues from the Canadian subsidiary of GMC. So the configuration of the hull and the general layout of the combat vehicle have not changed at all in comparison with the Canadian armored personnel carrier LAV III. At the same time, significant differences in the design of two combat vehicles of neighboring countries still exist. First of all, all experts pay attention to the difference in the size of the case. The M1126 Stryker is superior to its predecessors. The Americans went to increase the height of the combat vehicle to provide the most convenient accommodation for the crew, landing and transported ammunition.
The landing of the "Stryker"
The height is also affected by the use of a V-shaped bottom on a number of vehicles, which protects the crew and the landing force from being blown up on improvised explosive devices and mines. On the roof above the landing squad, the base American armored personnel carrier is 25-30 cm taller than its Canadian relatives. The increase in the height of the machine also affected changes in the design of the hull. On the American armored personnel carrier, the upper frontal part turned out to be longer, it is connected to the roof of the hull further than on the Canadian car.
The Americans paid serious attention to armored personnel carriers. The body is welded from armor plates up to 12 mm thick, located at rational angles of inclination. In the basic version without mounted armor, it provides circular protection from 7,62 mm armor-piercing bullets, and in the frontal projection from fire from a 14,5 mm rifle weapons. When using mounted ceramic armor, circular protection is provided from 14,5 mm armor-piercing bullets and fragments of 152 mm shells, and in the frontal projection the armor is able to withstand shelling from a 30 mm automatic gun from a distance of 500 meters. True, when using sets of mounted armor, the weight of the combat vehicle increases significantly - from the standard 16,5 tons to almost 20 tons.
The heart of the armored personnel carrier is a 7 hp Caterpillar C350 diesel engine. The engine works in conjunction with an Allison 3200SP automatic six-speed gearbox. When driving on a highway, an armored personnel carrier can reach speeds of up to 100 km / h. A fuel reserve of 215 liters is enough to overcome up to 500 km when driving on the highway. The armored personnel carrier does not know how to swim, but it has a good cross, including due to the clearance of 500 mm. The machine can overcome walls 0,6 meters high, ditches up to two meters wide, and also fords up to 1,2 meters deep.
RWS remotely controlled module with an M2 machine gun
The armament of most of the M1126 Stryker APCs is exclusively machine gun. Remote-controlled RWS weapons modules are installed on the vehicles either with a large 12,7 mm M2 machine gun (2000 rounds), or a single 7,62 mm M240B machine gun (4500 rounds), or a 40 mm Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher (448 grenades). Also, the RWS installation usually typically accommodates up to 4 units of four-barrel M6 smoke grenade launchers.
BTR Stryker is named after real military personnel
The American wheeled armored personnel carrier M1126, like the entire Stryker family of wheeled combat vehicles, is named after real American military personnel. It is very rare история in relation to armored vehicles. All Stryker wheeled armored vehicles are named after the two dead American soldiers who were posthumously presented for the highest American military award - the Medal of Honor. The value of the award is evidenced by the total number of awards - approximately 3,5 thousand for all years, of which 1,5 thousand awards fall during the Civil War in the United States in 1861-1865.
The Stryker family of wheeled combat vehicles is named after Private First Class Stuart S. Stryker and Private Robert F. Stryker. Stuart died at the age of 20 in Germany near the city of Wesel on March 24, 1945. The private 17th Airborne Division, Stuart Stryker, launched a platoon that was attacked by machine-gun fire from the enemy, inspiring his colleagues following him with a personal example. As a result of his personal courage and the actions of the platoon that had attacked, other units of the company were able to circumvent the well-fortified house occupied by the Germans and forced the enemy to surrender. About 200 enemy soldiers were captured, and they also managed to free three American pilots whom the Germans held captive in the house.
Arms control screen in Stryker
Private 1st Infantry Division Robert Stryker died in Vietnam at the age of 22 November 7, 1967 near the village of Lok Ning. The reconnaissance group, in which Stryker served, was ambushed in the jungle. The unit took the battle, during which Private Robert Stryker rescued six of his comrades from the striking elements of the Claymore mine, directed by the enemy, by covering it with his body.
Assessment of the M1126 armored personnel carrier
As we see, the Americans approached the choice of the name for their new wheeled armored personnel carrier with a fair amount of patriotism. As captain Vrungel said in the famous animated film: “As you call a yacht, it will sail.” The United States has definitely dealt with this task. But there are certain questions to the machine itself.
Unlike the first tracked M113 models and all Soviet / Russian armored personnel carriers of the BTR-80 family, the new American armored personnel carrier lost the ability to swim.
Also, experts attribute weak weapons to the shortcomings of an armored personnel carrier. It is clear that such vehicles are not called military buses for nothing, their main purpose is to bring the soldiers to the right point under the protection of armor. But if necessary, the Strykers can often support motorized rifles only with machine gun fire. Most vehicles have either 7,62 mm or 12,7 mm machine guns. There are also versions equipped with 40 mm automatic grenade launchers. Fighting such a set of weapons even with lightly armored enemy vehicles is almost impossible. At the same time, there are plans to strengthen the APC firepower. We are considering options for installing a turret with a 30-mm cannon and a remotely controlled module with the possibility of launching a Javelin ATGM.
BTR "Stryker" at the training center Fort Irwin
At the same time, the car has obvious advantages. One of them is a well-developed layout and a good base. The machine is a modernized version of the time-tested and well-proven MOWAG Piranha armored personnel carrier, which is in service with many countries of the world (more than 20 states). As in the vast majority of modern armored personnel carriers, the landing takes place through the ramp located in the rear of the hull, which provides the safest of all possible options when the infantrymen from the front are protected by the entire hull of the combat vehicle. Separately, a good level of armor protection can be distinguished, including through the use of additional mounted ceramic armor; powerful engine; high ground clearance; as well as good mine protection: some of the vehicles were modernized and received a V-shaped bottom with reinforced armor.