The U.S. Army is outfitting another one of its Stryker Brigade Combat Team with Double V-Hull vehicles to better protect them from enemy bombs.
The Project Manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team has received Army acquisition executive approval for procurement of a 4th brigade of Stryker Double V-Hull vehicles. The 360-vehicle purchase is scheduled to happen sometime between fiscal years 2016-2018 if funding is available, Army officials maintain.
This will be the fourth Stryker Brigade to be outfitted with the new hull that’s designed to protect soldiers from powerful improvised explosive devices better than the original flat-bottom hull design.
"Delivery of the 4th brigade vehicles is expected to begin in fiscal year 2017, immediately following final delivery of the 3rd brigade to maintain a steady output of vehicles and avoid costs associated with a break in production ," David Dopp, the Army's project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, in an Oct. 13 press release.
The DVH is not just a re-designed, unique v-shaped hull; it also includes improved mine resistant blast seating, improved fire suppression features, and a robust suspension system that gives soldiers a smoother ride, reduces shock and vibration and improves force protection. Currently, the Army has nine SBCTs, six with the traditional flat bottom hull, while three brigades have been outfitted with the DVH models.
The fourth DVH brigade production will maintain and extend the Stryker Exchange Program, initiated by the PM SBCT in 2012, in partnership with Anniston Army Depot and General Dynamics Land Systems, in response to an Army requirement for additional DVH vehicles at a reduced overall cost.
"The exchange program will increase the quantity of DVH Strykers, without increasing the overall Stryker inventory," said Dopp. “The DVH design is a significant improvement over the flat bottom hull in terms of survivability, and the DVH exchange vehicle is 30 percent less expensive than a manufacturing a brand new DVH vehicle."
This results in faster production and notable cost savings to the Army. To maximize fiscal resources with respect to schedule, one-for-one exchanges will be made with the fourth brigade to replace the existing flat bottom hull Stryker variants with the improved, more-survivable design. The process includes making use of "like" parts from the flat bottom hulls, refurbishing them, and incorporating them into the new DVH structure alongside DVH-unique components.
"We've also accelerated the Stryker Engineering Change Proposal program, a modernization effort to address current space, weight and power-cooling (SWaP-C) deficiencies within the platform and lay the foundation for the success of future improvements, for integration into the 4th brigade," said Dopp.
The production line will be adapted to incorporate the ECP at the same time to prevent bringing vehicles back to Anniston Army Depot for upgrades following the DVH exchange process. This will allow the Army to save nearly $232 million in cost avoidance.
The effort has the side benefit of extending the exchange program and supporting the combat vehicle industrial base. “Sustaining that industrial base supports future readiness and protects Army buying power," said Brig. Gen. David Bassett, the Army's program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems.