In direct response to a specific Russian threat, the Army’s newly up-gunned and remodeled Stryker vehicles are headed to Europe with the first turret cannon fielded by the service since 120mm smoothbores were put on M1 Abrams tanks in 1986.
The first of the retrofitted, eight-wheeled M1126 Strykers mounted with a 30mm Kongsberg cannon is expected to arrive in Vilseck, Germany, in January to join the 4,800 troops and 330 combat vehicles of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR), said Col. Glenn Dean, Project Manager Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
At the same time, the Army will be delivering Strykers to the 2CR fitted with the Raytheon Common Remote Operations Weapon Station II, or CROWS II, which will enable a gunner to aim and fire the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile while buttoned up inside the vehicle.
By the fall of 2018, the 2CR is expected to have 83 of the Strykers mounted with the 30mm cannon — similar to the fearsome GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling 30mm nose cannon in the tank-killer A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, commonly known as the “Warthog.”
Bottom line: The purpose of the Stryker remains the same — to get an infantry squad to the field. These up-gunned Strykers are part of the European Reassurance Initiative, which includes a handful of units in rotation to Germany, Poland, and the Baltic nations. By far the most important part of these Strykers are the 30mm cannons, which are capable of penetrating the armor of Russian BMP infantry fighting vehicles. For additional information, see New indicators show US is continuing to prepare for war with Russia.