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Protection Enhancements for the Stryker

Throughout its years in service, the Stryker has undergone various survivability upgrades and received “kit” applications designed to improve the vehicle’s ability to withstand attacks. “There has been a constant evolution of survivability kits applied to the platform either in anticipation of a threat or in response to a threat,” Schumitz said. In total, 40,000 kits have been applied during the last eight years of combat operations, he added. The various survivability enhancement kits include blast-attenuated seats, additional underbelly armor, slat armor, improved suspension and electronics and extra ballistic shields for gunner protection, among other things. Another upgrade included add-on armor and beefed-up metal protecting the driver’s position, designed for the Afghan theater of operation.

The Stryker protection is also enhanced with a new reactive armor kit, provided by Rafael of Israel and General Dynamics Advanced Technology Products (GD ATP). Photo: Rafael

One of the latest enhancements is the ‘Double-V Hull’ (DVH), modification, currently being applied to 150 Strykers prepared for shipping to Afghanistan in the upcoming weeks. DVH comprises enhanced armor and a modified V shaped belly with angles and height designed to deflect the blast generated by underbelly IED explosion, providing increased strength and protection to Soldiers in the vehicle. Soldiers inside the vehicle are also protected by blast-attenuating seats. The Stryker DVH heavy-duty suspension, wider tires compensating for the heavier weight. The Stryker DVH design went from conception to production in less than one year and the current shipments are following an extensive testing phase carried out in recent months. The double-V hull design on the new Styker uses proven technology, similar to that found on mine-resistant, ambush-protected, or MRAP, vehicles currently being used in Afghanistan. The Army plans to deploy 450 Stryker DVH vehicles, of which 140 Stryker are already in the supply chain. “The rapid turnaround of the DVH is responsiveness at its best,” Col. Schumitz said. “Soldier survivability is the Army’s number-one priority. Once we determined that the DVH effort was an achievable and acceptable risk, we swiftly engaged in executing the robust program.”

Future Stryker modernization plans include a larger engine and digitization updates that will mitigate the space, weight and power burden, and keep the Stryker formation the most digitally enhanced formation on the battlefield.

A Stryker fitted with Rafael's Aspro H 'hybrid armor', enhancing protection from Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), and replacing the statistical SLAT armor modules. Photo: Rafael

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