Stryker Combat Vehicles
By Gordon L. Rottman, illustrated by Hugh Johnson
Series: Osprey New Vanguard 121
Softcover, 48 pages, index, well-illustrated
Published by Osprey Publishing July 2006
Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.8 inches
The Stryker family of armored vehicles is one of the most common types in U.S. inventory with more than 4,400 having been purchased. The standard configuration is the armored personnel carrier which carries a crew of two and nine infantrymen. Other versions include a reconnaissance version, a mobile gun system with an unmanned 105 mm gun turret, a mortar carrier, command vehicle, and various supporting functions such as engineering, ambulance, and forward observation.
While the U.S. Army has purchased the Stryker in large numbers, it still remains controversial. It is only nominally deployable using the USAF C-130, as it is a tight fit and so near the maximum permissible weight that the crew and combat load must be transported separately – up-armored versions cannot be loaded at all. The recoil of the mobile gun system commonly overturned the vehicle in tests and so has not been fielded. It is not amphibious like the Marines’ LAV-25; there are no firing ports or vision blocks provided for the infantrymen like the Army’s Bradly IFV. Perhaps most inexplicable is the cost – at $4.9 Million per vehicle the Army could purchase either four Bradlys or five LAV-25s for the same price, and both of the other vehicles were better armed and already in production.
This book is in the format familiar to readers of the Osprey New Vanguard Series. The descriptions are brief but adequate, the artwork and photographs are superb. It is an enjoyable and informative read. I was not familiar with the Stryker and picked up this volume in an attempt to figure out why it was purchased in such great numbers when there were some obviously superior alternatives already in service. Now that I am more familiar with the Stryker, I am even more mystified.