The Army's newest armored vehicle is being baptized by fire, and it may not survive the experience. The 311 Strykers deployed in Iraq have several glaring
failures that need to be addressed in order to let the men and women aboard them do the job they expect themselves to do. Among them the armor and or the automated tire pressure system need to be tweaked. Currently when the armor is added to it, the automated pressure for the eight wheeled device fails. Further the armor does not protect against all the weapons it is supposed to. POGO reports state
that the armor is only effective against one out of three types of attack. Next up is the seat belts. In a full kit our troops can't use them. This after safety presents problems that are almost certainly lowering combat efficiency. But perhaps the most egregious of the problems with this fruit of a multi-billion dollar program is the fact that its main weapon a grenade launcher does not hit its target while in motion
Maj. Gen. Stephen Speakes, director of Army force development, said the Stryker has been "extremely reliable" since it went into action in October 2003.
"The Army should not put inadequately tested equipment in the field, as it creates a false impression that the troops are properly equipped to fight in combat," said Eric Miller, who investigates defense issues for the oversight group.
While I realize no system is perfect, and that Major General Speakes has to do his part to keep morale up in the military, I hope he is keeping an open mind and paying attention so that he can lend his weight to getting things up to speed.