Strykers for Israel?
Jerusalem Post — IDF To Decide On Stryker This Month
The [Israeli] army is to decide this month whether to purchase the controversial Stryker, the US Army’s advanced armored personnel carrier that has had mixed reviews in action in Iraq, senior IDF officers say.
The senior command in the Ground Forces Command is pushing to purchase a “critical mass” of Strykers to equip at least two brigades. They are expected to cost $1.5 million each, but will likely undergo reinforcement to make them more protected, boosting their cost by up to $500,000. Each US Army brigade equipped with Strykers contains 300 vehicles. Israeli brigades are smaller and the number would be considerably less.
If chosen, the Stryker would seriously bury a plan by local industries to produce an armored personnel carrier for the IDF to replace the APCs currently in use.
OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Yiftah Ron-Tal is a strong proponent of the Stryker, which was designed as the light, high-speed battle taxi tailor-made for urban conflict.
Developed at a cost of $4 billion, the 19-ton Stryker is an eight-wheeled armored vehicle designed to be more mobile and more responsive than heavier tanks and treaded vehicles. The IDF wants to use it to replace the Vietnam-era M113 APCs and their variants, such as the ones destroyed last month in the Gaza Strip that killed 11 soldiers.
“The need for the future battlefield is for light armor, not heavy. So we don’t want to get involved in manufacturing heavy armor,” said a senior officer in the Ground Forces Command. “This is a vehicle with an advanced computerized system [that is] easier to maneuver. Because it is on wheels it will reduce the destruction of urban infrastructures,” another senior officer said.
IDF Armored Corps officers said that the Americans put a lot of faith in the Stryker and its invincibility to rocket-propelled grenades.
It makes sense from an economy of scale perspective to sell as many Strykers–and other high cost defense systems–to our allies as possible. On the other hand, it is somewhat unnerving to constantly level the playing field by proliferating our state of the art equipment to other militaries.