The Army's up-armored Strykers are almost ready for a fight

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The Army is making serious headway in fielding the most modern version of its Stryker infantry carrier vehicle to soldiers with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, National Defense magazine reports.

Fielding of the third-generation Double "V" Hull Stryker, designated as DVHA1, officially commenced in June when 2/4 soldiers received their first 34 vehicles at Fort Carson in Colorado.

As of early September, Army officials estimated that "approximately half" of the 2/4's planned 331 Stryker DVHA1s had been delivered to Fort Carson, according to National Defense magazine. 

The Army decided to convert the 2/4 into a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2018 "to bring increased mobility and lethality to the 4th Infantry Division," according to the service. 

“The DVHA1 offers substantial improvements in mobility, power and network interoperability,” Col. William Venable told National Defense. “It has got a larger horsepower engine and improvements in suspension and larger tires, giving it greater ground mobility."

According to the Defense Department's latest operational testing and evaluation assessment of the DVHA1 family of vehicles, the third-generation Stryker was deemed "operationally suitable" in the most recent round of testing, with force protection and survivability at a "similar" level to previous generations of the vehicle.

"When equipped with the Stryker DVH A1, the test unit accomplished its assigned task and purpose in 11 of 12 missions in support of battalion operations," according to the report, which adds that 84 percent of unit soldiers and leaders surveyed "indicated that the Stryker DVH A1 contributed in the accomplishment of their mission."

The Army is far from finished when it comes to upgrading the new battlewagon: In March 2019, Army Contracting Command detailed a new requirement to integrate XM813 30mm autocannons into the vehicle under its Medium Caliber Weapons Systems effort.

Most Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles currently feature an M2 .50 cal. machine gun or MK19 40mm grenade launcher mounted on a remote weapon station, along with an M240 7.62 mm machine gun.

This past June, the Army awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $2.5 billion contract to produce DVHA1 Strykers over the next seven years for brigades beyond the 2/4, according to Jane's.

“[This contract] includes a new hull configuration, increased armor, upgraded suspension and braking systems, wider tires, blast-attenuating seats, and a height management system,” Army officials told Janes.

Fielding of the DVHA1 to the 2/4 should wrap up sometime in March 2021.

"The DVHA1 really forms the basis for the Stryker platform going forward for the next 30 years," Venable said back in June. "The Stryker will be in the formation until 2050, and these improvements will allow the platform to accept future capabilities and upgrades as they come up."