AUSA 2012: US Army Quantifies Stryker Double-V Hull
Service representatives used the venue of the AUSA Winter 2012 to quantify initial combat performance of the new Stryker ‘Double-V Hull’ (DVH) design and speculate on the possibility of additional acquisition of that enhanced platform design.
Developed in response to a need to provide soldiers with better protection from mines and improvised explosive devices, DVH includes a new hull configuration, increased armour, upgraded suspension and braking systems, wider tires, blast –attenuating seats, and a height management system.
The Army has procured 742 DVH platforms to date (450 + 292).
‘We’re at 37 Stryker Double-V [Hull] hits in theatre and it’s been really phenomenal,’ Scott Davis, US Army Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS). ‘We’ve gotten huge feedback from soldiers on how much more survivable the Double-V is to the threats they are encountering in theatre. We’ve had only just a handful of serious casualties but the rest have been mostly returned to duty. It’s been really fabulous – probably even exceeding our expectations of how well that system would do.’
Asked whether the battle damage and/or lessons learned might translate to additional procurement of DVH, David Dopp, US Army project manager for the Stryker brigade combat team, offered, ‘We’re always looking at the vehicles in theatre. We’re looking at battle losses. And we’re making sure we have enough vehicles to support that whole effort. And as we do that, and as the 37 number climbs higher, at some point in time we’re going to come to the conclusion that we need more Double-Vs to support that fleet. We’re not there yet but we’re always looking at that.’
‘The original purpose of the 292 [second buy] was to provide a repair cycle float set for the ones that were in theater,’ Davis added. ‘So you didn’t just continue to drive and drive those. There was an ability to retrograde those out to reset and then refitting with this extra set. And I think that would have set us on a great course. Then, based on the outstanding performance in theatre, there was a clamour to go ahead and field a second brigade. And essentially we used that repair cycle float set to now stand up a second brigade set, so now we’re sort of back to where we started, where we have limited extra assets, either to replace battle damaged systems; or if you have to pull any out for deliberate reset there’s nothing to backfill them.’
He added, ‘I think it’s really going to be an affordability decision of the army and the Department [of Defense] to decide how much farther they want to go. Maybe they’ll say, “We’ll absorb the risk. You’re going to fight the two brigades there and if they start to attrit we won’t have something to replace them.” Given an exit time they may say that’s an acceptable level of risk. So we don’t know but we’re exploring numbers that ask, if we have to sustain two brigades in the combat fight, how many backup systems would you need to provide that float set?’
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