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Stryker Update, Straight from Iraq

At the end of January, Christian posted some trenchant criticisms from troops in Iraq about the Stryker system, focusing on the 105 mm Mobile Gun System built by General Dynamics Corp. He cited a litany of problems, with probably the biggest being the tropical heat generated by the system.

I got an update from Col. Jon S. Lehr, commander of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry. Lehr told reporters today that he has signed a two-page memo to the Army leadership saying the Stryker has some "warts but it is clearly a piece of equipment we need to keep." He admitted the heat problem, noting that the temperature climbs to 130 degrees in the crew compartment. In addition, the coaxial machine gun has some "feeding problems." But overall, the troops told him the system works, and, with improvements, should do a decent job.

Another system that Lehr's units used was the ever-evolving Land Warrior. This one earned much higher marks from Lehr: "I think it's a great piece of gear." And he's sent another memo to the Army leadership recommending that it be deployed throughout the Army. There are a "few warts, in particular the day optic system, which Lehr said actually made things worse for soldiers. They "got rid of that" and lightened the system's weight – always a key factor in winning praise from always over-burdened troopers. Perhaps most importantly for the system in the long run, Lehr said Land Warrior "integrates nicely to the mobile" data systems carried by things like tanks and Strykers.

As to how Kehr's unit has fared during its deployment in Diyala Province, get a load of these stats:

220 high value targets captured 1,700 insurgents captured 500 insurgents killed 25,000 miles of roads cleared 2,100 IEDs cleared

Lehr's bottom line: "Overall, Diyala has seen a 70 percent reduction in violence over the last year."

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