< Mr

Mr. M    S

P.O. Box

                   , GA

 

 

 

Dear Mr. S,

 

I have been forced to be silent for far too long about the Army’s ill-fated choice of the Stryker vehicle for its Interim Force. However, because of my close association with the program and my position, I must remain anonymous. I would only ask that you read this letter and the piece accompanying it, which is fully supported with the Army’s own documentation.

 

Recent events have served to clearly demonstrate the Army’s faulted choice of this vehicle. The report on the Medium Armored Vehicle Comparative Evaluation (CE) is rampant with unsupported falsities and half-truths. The most striking is the Army’s allegation that the Stryker is clearly superior to the M113A3. The marginal increases in performance do not justify the cost differential between the two vehicles. A delta of over $2 billion dollars would not stand the scrutiny of a true cost-effectiveness evaluation. The data is flawed and circumspect. The reliability, availability and maintainability are all based on marginal sample sizes and in some cases based on the manufacturer’s prediction of reliability, as opposed to demonstrated performance. Furthermore, since the contracting mechanism is a Requirements-type contract and the Army does not have either possession of the Technical Data Package or the rights to it, they are limited to procuring spare parts from only one source - the manufacturer. The Army cannot compete the parts for production by other small-business or minority sources.

 

While the CE attempts to paint a glowing picture of the vehicle, its testing and performance does not. What was advertised by the Army as “integral” 14.5mm armor has not performed as advertised. The armor has failed at least 2 iterations of test and resubmission, yet still cracked during vehicle testing and will therefore not withstand a 14.5mm hit after cracking. In addition, the add-on armor that was bid with the vehicle also failed to perform and was recently put out for bid to a second-source. In live-fire testing, the overhead airburst armor on a sample Engineer vehicle recently failed when the fragment hit some explosive C-4 stored externally and the entire vehicle was subjected to a high-order destructive loss of the vehicle. This demonstrates that there is no standoff protection inherent in the armor selected for the roof of the vehicle. All of these failures compound the basic weight problem of the vehicle, as solution of these deficiencies will likely further increase the weight of the vehicle. Here again the Army has painted a false picture. The requirement in the original solicitation was to transport a combat-loaded (crew, Infantry Squad and 72 hours of basic supplies) over a distance of 1,000 Nautical miles on a C-130, without a waiver. Thus far, they have failed to demonstrate this capability and have negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement with the Air Force to establish a waiver process for the transport of the basic vehicle with only 4 soldiers instead of 11. This too is disingenuous.

The major failure of the CE, however, is that Congress directed that the comparison be between the existing inventory and not what was proposed against the Stryker. The vehicle that lost the competition had a larger internal volume, a larger engine and numerous other upgrades that ultimately negate the vast majority, if not all, of the factors where the Stryker was determined to be superior to the existing M113A3, according to the Army Meanwhile, the OSD Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) concluded that the M113A3 is equally effective as the Stryker: “The operational portions of the MAV CE showed no differences in unit effectiveness, weapon system Lethality, or operational suitability.” Yet, the bid cost of the MTVL, let alone the less expensive M113A3, was over $2 billion dollars less than that of the Stryker.

 

The bottom line is that the Army is desperately seeking to protect and defend a flawed selection of the vehicle for its Interim Force to demonstrate their commitment to transformation in accordance with the Secretary of Defense’s mandate at all costs. On the eve of a potential conflict, it is imperative that this entire issue is openly investigated and the truth be brought to light before American soldiers are put in harm’s way in a sub­standard combat vehicle.

 

Sam Damon

“Once An Eagle”

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