The Pentagon has announced it will send 90 Stryker armored combat vehicles to Ukraine, the first delivery of the multi-role eight-wheel weapon from the US military stockpile to foreign countries.
Strykers will be joined by 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and other weapons as part of a $2.5 billion military aid package to Kiev. Combined with the 50 Bradleys announced for Ukraine on January 6, the package will provide Kiev with the equivalent of two armored brigades, according to a statement emailed to reporters on Wednesday night. Year.
Who are they?
According to the US Army, there are 18 different variants of the Stryker. Some were built primarily to move infantrymen in and out of battle, while others were designed to carry weapons such as 120mm mortars for fire support. Others carried medium and large weapons to shoot directly at the enemy with a 30mm cannon or even a larger 105mm gun.
The early Strykers were built with flat-bottomed hulls, which proved vulnerable to improvised bombs placed beneath them by Iraqi insurgents. In response, the Army has phased out those vehicles with newer Strykers equipped with V-shaped bottoms similar to those used on Mine Ambush Protected Vehicles, also known as MRAPs. .
It is not clear exactly what versions or versions will be made available to Ukraine.
Why were they created?
In the 1990s, U.S. Army leaders decided that the military needed a more mobile strike force that could travel anywhere in the world in just four days. That meant they needed a vehicle that was well armed and armored while still being relatively light and small enough to be carried by a C-130 cargo plane.
The Stryker was chosen as a vehicle the Army could build forces around. They first fought in Iraq in 2003.
How are they different from Bradley?
Strykers are less armored than Bradleys. And at 20 to 23.5 tons, they are much lighter than the Bradley, which can weigh up to 40 tons, according to a 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service.
While the Bradley rides on a track, providing excellent traction on uneven terrain, the eight-wheeled Stryker can still operate even if they are hit by bullets or shrapnel.
The Strykers are also much faster than the Bradleys, capable of reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, according to a congressional report.
The Stryker can also be configured in a number of different variants, including some for engineer or ambulance use.
How will they be used in Ukraine?
The Pentagon’s announcement on Thursday said 90 Strykers will also be supplied with 20 mine-rollers – wheeled sledges designed to be heavy enough to activate anti-vehicle mines and be propelled in front of armored vehicles with hoping to clear a safe path through the minefield.
As the war between Ukraine and Russia has evolved into a more static battle between entrenched soldiers protected by a belt of anti-tank mines, the Stryker’s combination with mine wheelchairs and demolition equipment complements what what the Pentagon calls “obstacle clearance,” indicates that the United States is providing Ukraine with specific capabilities designed to allow Kyiv’s armed forces to disrupt Russian defenses.