Tuesday, July 23, 2024

PA National Guard brigade gets 300+ upgraded Strykers

The Pennsylvania National Guard 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, headquartered at Biddle Air National Guard Base, is set to receive 316 upgraded Stryker vehicles as part of a modernization initiative.

This move involves turning in 322 older Strykers and obtaining newer “double-V” hull models transferred from active-duty Army units.

Col. Jeremy Coleman, Pennsylvania Army National Guard deputy chief of staff for logistics, emphasized the importance of this upgrade. He stated, “The newer Strykers have an improved hull design to protect Soldiers from improvised explosive devices and roadside mines.”

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Col. Christopher Costello, 56th SBCT commander, also highlighted the significance of this modernization. “Even though it isn’t the most advanced Stryker platform, it is one that offers more protection to the crew due to the V-shaped hull design,” he said.

The process is scheduled to begin in August, with the new vehicles arriving by mid-2025. Most of the old Strykers will be turned in from Fort Indiantown Gap, while the refurbished models will come from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Costello acknowledged the logistical challenges posed by the brigade’s current operational tempo. Over 600 soldiers from the 56th SBCT are deployed to the Horn of Africa, with another 600 set to replace them later this year. Additionally, the brigade headquarters will deploy to the Joint Multinational Training Center in Germany.

“This puts a heavy load on the non-deployed Soldiers who will have to divest the current fleet and receive the new fleet,” Costello noted. However, he reassured that the vehicle swap should not disrupt the brigade’s training and operations more than current deployments already do.

Coleman added that new equipment training and field-level maintenance training would be necessary. “But this transition will require new equipment training and field-level maintenance training to occur next year so we can train our Soldiers on the new model of Strykers,” he explained.

Strykers, eight-wheeled armored vehicles, are central to Army Stryker brigades. They come in nine variants, including Infantry Carrier Vehicle, Reconnaissance Vehicle, Mortar Carrier Vehicle, Commander’s Vehicle, and Medical Evacuation Vehicle. Depending on the variant, Strykers can carry up to 11 occupants and reach speeds up to 60 mph.

The Army maintains nine Stryker brigade combat teams — seven in the active component and two in the National Guard. The 56th SBCT, the first Stryker brigade in the reserve component since its transition in 2004, is one of four brigades in the 28th Infantry Division.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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