US Army officials are pressing for a massive outlay of money to upgrade the Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) in Eastern Europe, insisting they need to “fast track” the upgrades in anticipation of a full-scale war against Russia, and want to give the Strykers 30 mm cannons.
Introduced in 2002, the Stryker was a US version of the Canadian LAV III, and is primarily meant to be s scout and light fighting vehicle, equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun. The Pentagon appears to be having buyers remorse on the Stryker, which was supposed to be an interim vehicle replaced by a long-since cancelled “future” vehicle.
Army officials say a 30 mm Bushmaster II would allow the Stryker to theoretically destroy anything except for heavy tanks, though in practice the Stryker was never meant to take on tanks, and officials concede that at best with the cannon they could be used to “harass” Russian T-72 tanks.
The configuration appears to be an effort to turn the Stryker into something more resembling the Russian BTR-90, though the BTR-90 is meant as a personnel carrier, not a scout and light fighter.
Ultimately, the Stryker was shoe-horned into a role that didn’t exist before it was created, as a middle-ground between a Humvee and heavier AFVs like the M-2 Bradley. The reason this didn’t exist before was that during the Cold War it would’ve been comparatively useless against Soviet forces. Army officials envisioned it as a lighter, easier to deploy Bradley for use against smaller countries.
Now, with the Army once again talking up a war with Russia, the Stryker doesn’t make much sense, so officials are looking to poor a lot of money into try to transform it into something it was never meant to be.