M113 Gavin vs Stryker
The Army says the Stryker family of vehicles are considered less vulnerable to small arms and weapons fire than the M113 family of vehicles. The crew and engine compartments of the Strykers are fully protected up to 14.5mm armor piercing (AP) rounds while the crew and engine compartments of the M113s are protected only up to 7.62mm AP rounds. Although a 14.5mm armor design was developed for the M113s, the armor was never produced and fielded.
For vehicles weighing 10-20 tons, tracked vehicles have better cross-country mobility in sand, mud and snow than wheeled vehicles, while wheeled vehicles have much better speed and ride quality over primary and secondary roads than tracked vehicles.
The experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to confirm the belief in the wisdom of transformation to meet the threats of the 21st century. For instance, both the Army and Marine Corps found the need for more armor. In particular, the need arose for medium-armor units; those with armored vehicles heavier than the Humvee and M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier, but lighter than the Abrams Main Battle Tank or Bradley Fighting Vehicle. A first step in that transformation is the creation of medium-weight combat brigades built around a new fighting vehicle, the Stryker.
During and after the American Civil War, many military leaders looked at cavalry differently. The idea was that a horse was there for transportation and that was it. Even cavalry leaders such as Gen. Philip Sheridan believed horses were for nothing but transport. The M-113 was a part of that. Designed in the 1940s and 1950s, the M-113 was an armored personnel carrier. It was a full-track vehicle and hundreds of thousands of them were built. Variants of the vehicle are still in service as emergency vehicles.
But wheeled vehicles offer many advantages. While other military organizations had a wheeled armored personnel carrier - most notably the Marine Corps' light armored vehicle - the US Army did not, until the Stryker. The Stryker vehicle is an eight-wheeled infantry carrier. The vehicle is designed to get light infantry from point A to point B on the battlefield. Upon arrival, the troopers dismount the vehicle and fight on foot.
The difference between a Stryker and an M-113 is like the difference between a Yugo and a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The first thing you notice about the Stryker is that there is a steering wheel. The M-113 had two sticks coming up from the floor, with each one controlling a track. Visibility out of the driver's hatch is good. It's a 2,000 percent improvement over the M-113, most notably because you are buttoned up. There is also a video camera that helps the driver.
Handling characteristics of the Stryker are good, even up to 50 mph. Drivers might have been able to get an M-113 up to 50 if you were going downhill with the wind behind them. But if they did, their fillings would rattle out.
The Stryker is bigger and has a higher profile and better armor than the M-113. The tracked M113 has, as it happens, 28% less volume under armor than the Stryker so one might reasonably expect Stryker to be bigger externally. However, the wheeled Stryker is, in fact, over 63% bigger in exterior volume. Note. The M113-Stryker ratios are 257 versus 330 cubic feet internally, and 870 cubic feet versus 1,420 cubic feet externally.
The Stryker can't go as many places as a fully tracked vehicle like the M-113. But those who have driven both say they can go through pretty much the same terrain. Plus the Stryker can run with four tires shot out. Try to keep moving if the track comes off on an M-113. Maintenance is easier on the Stryker, but there was initially a shortage of parts in the system because the vehicle is so new.
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