Stryker vehicle armed with anti-aircraft missiles.

The Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) combines the capacity for rapid deployment with survivability and tactical mobility. The Stryker vehicle enables the team to manoeuvre in close and urban terrain, provide protection in open terrain and transport infantry quickly to critical battlefield positions. The eight-wheeled Stryker is the first new milit

ary vehicle to enter service into the United States Army since the Abrams tank in the 1980s.

The contract for the US Army’s interim armoured vehicle (IAV) was awarded in November 2000. The vehicles form the basis of six brigade combat teams. The contract requirement covers the supply of 2,131 vehicles.

Stryker infantry carrier development

Deliveries of Stryker infantry carriers began in April 2002. A seventh SBCT has subsequently been planned and the requirement raised to 2,691.

Initial operational tests and evaluation began in May 2003 with the Arrowhead Lightning II exercise. Since 2003, the vehicles have undergone more than six million miles in service through two Operational Iraqi Freedom rotations, demonstrating a combined fleet operational readiness rate of 96%.

In November 2003, the Stryker entered operational service with the US Army, with the first Stryker SBCT, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, following its deployment to Iraq. The second SBCT, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, was deployed to Iraq in September 2004. The third SBCT, the 172nd, deployed in July 2005.

Contracts for 328 vehicles to form the 4th Brigade were placed in March / June 2004 for delivery during 2005 and 2006, plus 423 vehicles for the 5th Brigade in February 2005 with deliveries in 2006-07.

306 Strykers were ordered in April 2006, 103 in July 2006 and 109 in October 2006.

615 Stryker vehicles were ordered in August 2008 for delivery by 2011. The Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the only National Guard SBCT, deployed to Iraq in February 2009. The 5th Stryker Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in mid 2009, the first SBCT to do so.

The first US Air Force Stryker unit made its first deployment in Iraq in August 2005.

In December 2008, the Iraqi Government requested the foreign military sale (FMS) of 400 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles.

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