Two configurations of Stryker fighting vehicle are examined 

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., president of the Association of the United States Army, talks with French soldiers at the French Army exhibit at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition.

With the Stryker armored fighting vehicle having proven its track record under the most severe combat conditions since its introduction in 2002, General Dynamics Corp. – the company that designed and built it – is gearing up to broaden its capabilities.

At the heart of General Dynamics Land Vehicle Systems Division’s plans for the Stryker are two different courses of action.

The company is working to replace the Army’s remaining inventory of flat-hulled Strykers with double-V hulls, much more capable of protecting crews and soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

General Dynamics also hopes that the Army one day will adopt future production versions of its concept tracked Stryker – on display Oct. 22-24 at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington – as its next medium-weight multipurpose vehicle.

The two configurations would share many of the same components, and thus keep costs manageable, General Dynamics contends.

But beyond that, the functions of the wheeled and tracked configurations would diverge.

"General Dynamics does not have a concept vehicle in the medium weight class," Garth Lewis, the company’s program manager for the tracked Stryker, said.

The concept vehicle’s progeny would serve that purpose, he said, offering the Army another option as it considers replacements for the aging M113 Multipurpose Vehicles.

Wheeled Strykers offer advantages of speed and stealth that a tracked version could not, Lewis said.

But tracked Strykers would function better within traditional cavalry missions – accompanying M1 Abrams tanks, and supporting armored brigade combat teams – more adequately than their wheeled counterparts.

"The tracked version would go anywhere an Abrams could go," Lewis said.

The company already is working on advanced versions of the concept tracked Stryker, but a final configuration ultimately will depend on what the Army decides it wants to replace the M113. The service could issue a request for proposal (RFP) sometime in early 2013.