General Dynamics‘ new Stryker combat vehicle suffers from snags in the driver’s compartment, and is unsuitable for long missions in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon‘s director of operational test and evaluations, Michael Gilmore.

“The army should first fix the seat-release latch, used to evacuate an incapacitated driver. Stryker’s small driver’s compartment restricts movement and leads to fatigue during long missions. It should redesign it as soon as feasible,” he said.

The army has been testing the new variant in Arizona and California, US, and has found that it meets and in some cases exceeds its requirements in providing protection.

The Stryker, with a double V-shaped, blast-deflecting hull, has been redesigned to protect US troops against roadside bombs in Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.

The wheeled Stryker troop transport has a crew of two (a driver and commander) and can carry a nine-soldier squad.

The US Army plans to acquire 450 Strykers for deployment in June 2011, according to Bloomberg.