by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Oct 15, 2014
The U.S. Army plans to upgrade additional flat-bottomed Stryker combat vehicles to the "Double V-Hull" configuration beginning in 2017.
The upgrade, which will involve not more than 360 existing vehicles, will give the Army a total of four out of nine Stryker Brigade Combat Teams with the strengthened hulls.
Lt. Col. Jason Toepfer, the program manager for Stryker development, said at the 2014 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition this week that the conversions would take place at facilities such as the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama and will cost about 30 percent less than purchasing new Strykers.
"I think that's pretty remarkable, the fact we are able to leverage the organic industrial base that we have at our depot, at Anniston ... and converge them to create a fully-functioning, capable vehicle, without having to start from scratch," Toepfer said.
In addition to the new hulls, the Army will upgrade the vehicles will new, more powerful engines to compensate for a loss in performance capability brought on by additional vehicle weight.
"When we built the DVH Stryker, we found a way to keep soldiers alive and protect them," Toepfer said. "But we did that at a small cost. We gave up mobility, we added more weight to that vehicle. We also had an additional power burden.
"In moving that amount of weight, plus the Army technologies that have been added on since then, we put a significant tax on the power and on the network that is on the current vehicle. So we needed to find a way to mitigate that, and buy some of that back."
A 450-HP engine, a more powerful 910-amp power generator, a chassis upgrade to handle the new engine, and improvements to the vehicle's internal network, are all part of the upgrade.
Those vehicles already converted to the DVH configuration did not receive the engine upgrades but will do so at a later date, he said.
The Double V-Hull design gives troops within the vehicle greater protection from mine and improvised explosive device blasts.
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