- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A
new U.S. Army troop transport vehicle in Iraq has many defects, putting
soldiers at risk from rocket-propelled grenades and raising questions about
its $11 billion cost, The Washington Post reported in its Thursday edition.
- The vehicle is known as the Stryker, which is made by
General Dynamics Corp., according to the newspaper, which said it reviewed
a classified study by the Army in December.
- The report, drawn from confidential interviews with operators
of the vehicles in Iraq in the last quarter of 2004, lists complaints about
the vehicle including design flaws and maintenance problems that are "getting
worse not better," the paper said.
- The Army report makes clear that the vehicle's military
performance has fallen short although many soldiers in the field say they
like the vehicle, the Post said.
- For example, an armoring shield installed on Stryker
vehicles to protect against unanticipated attacks by insurgents using low-tech
weapons works against half the grenades used to assault it, the newspaper
- The shield, installed at a base in Kuwait, is so heavy
that tire pressure must be checked three times daily and nine tires a day
are changed after failing, the paper said, referring to the Army document.
- "The additional weight significantly impacts the
handling and performance during the rainy season," the Post cited
the Army report as saying.
- The paper listed other complaints such as slow and overheating
computers and a $157,000 grenade launcher that fails to hit targets when
the vehicle is moving.
- The Army report said its laser designator, zoom, sensors,
stabilizer and rotating speed all need redesign; it does not work at night;
and its console display is in black and white although "a typical
warning is to watch for a certain color automobile," the Post reported.
- Army figures show 17 soldiers in the Stryker combat brigade
have died in Iraq in 157 bomb explosions. But whether the deaths occurred
outside or inside the vehicle has not been specified, the Post said.
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