General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been awarded a $518.8m cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Stryker system technical support from the US Army’s Contracting Command, with an estimated completion date of 31 March 2029.

The Stryker 8×8 armoured combat vehicle (ACV) is one of the US Army’s central armoured mobility capabilities, with more than 2,400 units delivered by General Dynamics between 2005-2021, according to GlobalData. The platform in service with the US Army is based on the GDLS Canada LAV III 8×8 light armoured vehicle, itself a version of the Piranha III built by Mowag of Switzerland, now part of GDLS – Europe.

Stryker is available in ten variants, including infantry carrier vehicle, commander’s vehicle, medical evacuation vehicle, fire support vehicle, engineer squad vehicle, anti-tank guided missile carrier, mortar carrier, reconnaissance vehicle, mobile gun system, and nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance (NBCR) vehicle.

The US Army latest five-year contract to GDLS to provide technical support for its in-service Stryker ACVs indicate the continued utility of the platform in the service’s battleforce, amid a wider push to maintain combat readiness of Western military forces in the wake of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Through its service life, the platform has been upgraded and modernised, including the conversion of earlier-produced flat-bottomed Strykers with V-shaped hulls to improve blast protection for crew and embarked personnel. The Stryker is also undergoing a lethality upgrade programme to provide increased firepower on the battlefield.

GAO warns on Stryker lethality package

However, in mid-March, a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that the US Army’s bid to upgrade the firepower of its Stryker 8×8 combat vehicle in response to increased competition from Russia resulted in hardware and software issues impacting the platform.

Published on 20 March, the GAO report stated that as the US Army sought to upgrade its existing Stryker vehicles with more firepower, it did so without “fully analysing and addressing potential production risks”, resulting in issues arising during the programme.

In August 2022 Oshkosh Corporation’s subsidiary Oshkosh Defense delivered the first upgraded Stryker Double-V Hull Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICVVA1) to the US Army, featuring the 30mm Medium Caliber Weapon System (MCWS). In June 2021, the US Army selected Oshkosh Defense and partners Pratt Miller Defense and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to integrate the 30mm MCWS onto the Stryker ICVVA1.

Subsequent additional contracts resulted in a total programme for 269 upgraded vehicles valued at $356m, in addition to 20 vehicles for Product Verification Testing, Follow-on Operational Testing & Evaluation, and logistics development.

According to the GAO, the US Army “did not fully implement leading practices for acquisition” to mitigate production risks which were introduced, in part, by using a different turret and chassis than what was tested in Germany during earlier Stryker lethality increase testing. Since production started in March 2022, the US Army has found problems with the contractor’s manufacturing processes as well as software issues, reported the GAO.

The consequences of the problems to the Stryker upgrade resulted in the US Army halting acceptance of vehicles in February 2023, after 19 had been delivered.