Those 90 Stryker wheeled fighting vehicles the United States pledged to Ukraine have arrived in Germany aboard a roll-on, roll-off cargo ship.
Video of the Strykers offloading at the port of Bremerhaven on Saturday confirms that, among the standard M1126 infantry carriers, the Stryker consignment also includes M1127 reconnaissance vehicles.
The M1127s could prove critical as the Ukrainian army deploys its new Stryker brigade. The high-tech recon vehicles are a Stryker brigade’s cavalry—its fast-moving, far-seeing, hard-hitting scouts. They help to solve an ages-old military problem: spotting your enemy before they spot you.
The main difference between a 19-ton, eight-wheel M1126 Stryker and its M1127 reconnaissance variant is that the latter packs a built-in surveillance system—a set of precise day and night optics the U.S. Army calls the Long-Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System, or LRAS3.
Peering through an LRAS3, the two-person crew of an M1127 can spot a target as far away as six miles and even determine its GPS coordinates. That’s slightly farther than most tank crews can see with their own optics, and much farther than dismounted infantry can see with their Mark One Eyeballs.
The M1127, in other words, gives friendly troops a chance to strike the enemy before the enemy even knows they’re there—and “truly bewilder the enemy,” according to U.S. Army captain Andrew Chack, writing in a 2021 edition of Armor, the U.S. Army’s official tank journal.
“Using all available capabilities, the cavalry troop can acquire, identify and destroy enemy targets with remarkable efficiency,” Chalk wrote.
First, an M1127 crew or its five infantry scouts acquire a target. “Next, a secondary platform is cued to provide visual redundancy and to assist in identification,” according to Chalk. This secondary platform could be another Stryker, additional dismounted scouts in an observation post or a small drone.
Having confirmed the target, the M1127 relays coordinates to the brigade’s mortar and Javelin missile teams. “The mortar section relocates to engage with indirect fire,” Chalk wrote. “Simultaneously, a dismounted Javelin team maneuvers to engage with its weapon system, as well.”
The M1127 crew keeps watching as the mortars and missiles get in position. “By continually observing the target and reporting any significant change in posture, the observers allow both the mortars and the Javelin team to maneuver within the engagement range.” For maximum destruction and confusion, the mortars and missiles open fire at the same time.
Attaching a few tanks to a Stryker brigade and pairing them with M1127s can result in even more sudden violence. These Stryker-tank hunter-killer teams combine long-range situational awareness with massive firepower.
“Reconnaissance variants, or the hunters, have superior optics and low-target-signature dismount teams that allow for target acquisition at extended range,” Chalk explained. “The killers are then able to initiate contact and facilitate the destruction of the enemy from a position of relative advantage.”
Exactly how the Ukrainians use their new Strykers is up to them, of course. But they’d be wise to tap the U.S. Army’s decades of experience operating the wheeled fighting vehicles. The Americans long ago learned to take advantage of the M1127’s six-mile optics. The Ukrainians could do the same.
Source : Forbes