The Stryker is a lightly armored vehicle used to ferry U.S. soldiers around northern Iraq since October 2003. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee last month that 'we're absolutely enthusiastic about what the Stryker has done.'
Strykers come fully loaded, in the literal sense. The armoring shield installed on the vehiclesis so heavy that tire pressure must be checked three times daily. Eleven tires a day are changed after failing, says one report. The strain also burns out drive shafts and differentials.
Onboard Commanders' displays do not work. The vehicle's computers are too slow and overheat in desert temperatures. The main weapon system, a $157,000 grenade launcher, fails to hit targets when the vehicle is moving, contrary to its design -and does not work at night. The seat belts cannot be readily latched by troops in armored gear.