US Army's Stryker
Vehicle Faulty - Report


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 said.
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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