New Stryker Defense Proven in Combat
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
MOSUL, Iraq, Feb. 3, 2004 A change made to the Stryker infantry vehicle has proven itself in combat.
The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division also called Task Force Olympia after its Fort Lewis, Wash., home -- is replacing the 101st Airborne Division in this city.
The Stryker, an eight-wheeled infantry transporter, is an armored vehicle designed to stop 14.5 mm rounds. Critics said the main threat in Iraq is rocket-propelled grenades, and that the vehicle would not provide protection from them.
Army officials outfitted the Strykers with what the soldiers call a "cage." The slat armor put on the vehicles in Kuwait does look like a cage. It encircles the vehicle and gives added protection to the body of the Stryker. It is slats placed about 18 inches away from the main body. The theory was that an RPG would hit the slat and "defuse" between the slat and the main armor, said Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, the brigade commander.
The theory was exactly right, he said. "A bit earlier this morning there was an RPG attack against a Stryker vehicle in the eastern part of Mosul," he said to reporters traveling with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. "It was the second attack against a Stryker, but the first to strike the slat armor.
"It did exactly was it was intended to do," he continued. "When the round impacted on the slat armor, it detonated the warhead. The round defused in that space."
There were no casualties of any kind, he said, and there was "very, very minor damage to the vehicle."
The crew continued its patrol. The patrol was conducting neighborhood engagement, interacting with local citizens.
The crew identified the assailant and tried to call an OH-58 helicopter in on it, but the helicopter crew was unable to regain contact with the assailant.
It was a typical "drive-by" shooting, Ham said. A car drives up about 100 meters away, a gunner pops out of the window or the sun roof and fires the weapon, and the car speeds away.
"We're not surprised the slat armor worked the way it was intended to, and we continue to have great confidence in the Stryker vehicle," Ham said.
All of the 300-plus Strykers in the brigade have this cage.