The Buzz

The U.S. Army Has A New Weapon to Fight the Next Big Land War (Think Russia or China)

“The Stryker Lethality ONS effort is going extremely well. Vehicle build is ahead of schedule, gun and ammo are in qualification, all eight prototypes have been delivered, and the first production vehicle will is on the line at Anniston Army Depot,” Ashley Givens, spokeswoman for the Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told Scout Warrior.

The Army is firing off its new Stryker-mounted 30mm cannon to qualify the weapon, assess new airburst ammunition and prepare the infantry carrier for a wide range of anticipated high-intensity future combat contingencies.

Several prototypes of the emerging 30mm armed Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle, called the Dragoon, have been received by Army developers as part of a long-term “Stryker Lethality” program.

The new weapons are designed to support infantry units on the move in major combat, assist ground formations in armored warfare, identify and destroy ground and air threats from greater stand-off ranges and better enable the Army to succeed, if necessary, against near-peer adversaries in a massive, mechanized major power warfare scenario.

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A fast-changing global threat scenario, which includes the emergence of Russian aggression and accelerated Chinese military modernization – along with rapid global proliferation of attack drones and longer-range precision-guided weapons – led the Army to fast-track an Operational Needs Statement (ONS) effort to quickly design, integrate and deploy a much more lethal, high-tech, combat-capable Stryker vehicle. 

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“The Stryker Lethality ONS effort is going extremely well. Vehicle build is ahead of schedule, gun and ammo are in qualification, all eight prototypes have been delivered, and the first production vehicle will is on the line at Anniston Army Depot,” Ashley Givens, spokeswoman for the Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told Scout Warrior.

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Current qualification efforts including firing the Kongsberg MCT-30mm weapon system and refining preparations with an overall Stryker integrated technical system to include an unmanned turret, sensors, Commander’s station, remote weapons station, airburst ammunition, upgraded driveline and hull modifications, Army developers told Warrior.

“Not only does this provide improved firepower, it also enhances vehicle survivability by providing stand-off against potential threat weapons,” Givens said.

Gunnery training and user evaluations designed to familiarize Army soldiers with the emerging weapons platform is a large part of ongoing preparation for the eventual deployment of the 30mm Stryker, slated to deploy to Europe with the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Unit early next year.

Weapons developers with Stryker-maker General Dynamics Land Systems have been working closely with Army soldiers on these training and preparation activities, working to solicit soldier feedback and make adjustments as needed.

“The 30mm does not change the mission of moving a nine-man squad from point to point amid dangerous combat circumstances. The 30mm upguns the vehicle to enhance mission possibilities without changing the core mission,” said Wendy Staiger, Stryker Program Director, GDLS, told Warrior.

Combat Uses for 30mm Stryker

Many US military and industry weapons developers, those conducting threat assessments, analysts and technology observers believe the enhanced lethality Stryker could greatly impact a broad landscape of factors informing future land war – particularly for infantry, maneuver warfare and joint air-ground operations. 

A senior Army official told Warrior that, in addition to bringing a far-superior ground-combat weapon to the vehicle, the Stryker-integrated 30mm cannon could also function as a ground and air-defense countermeasure in some combat circumstances.

“Near-peer threats from the air such as rockets, missiles and artillery are moving to the forefront. A small bullet may not take out a large weapon, but let’s knock smaller attacks out of the air with a 30mm round or laser weapon. Let’s have multiple countermeasures,” a senior Army official told Warrior in an interview. “Indirect fires is a big deal. You still have to maneuver and close with the enemy when you are facing adversaries with more capable fires in their quiver. You have to protect the force with your own fires.”

The senior Army weapons, doctrine and tactics developer explained these Stryker combat-upgrades in terms of a wide-ranging technology “mash up” including sensors, countermeasures, fire-control system and next-generation ammunition able to destroy a wider range of enemy targets.

One analyst who closely tracks emerging technologies, weapons programs and potential threats to the US military specified aerial attacks as a fast-growing area of great risk to Army ground forces.

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