The new military aid package does not include Western main battle tanks as Kiev has requested, but will include 100 Stryker 8×8 armored vehicles.

On January 19, the US announced a new package of weapons and ammunition worth $ 2.5 billion to Ukraine as Western countries sought to increase armored forces for Ukraine. The new military aid package does not include Western main battle tanks as Kiev has requested, but will include 100 Stryker 8×8 armored vehicles. Earlier this year, the US announced that it would deliver 50 Bradley M2A2 tracked armored vehicles and M109 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers early this year.

This is the first time the US has supplied Stryker armored vehicles to Ukraine. This is an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle derived from the Canadian LAV III. They are lighter and faster than the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, helping to fill the level of infantry fighting vehicles on the battlefield. There is currently no word on which Stryker variant will be delivered to Ukraine, but perhaps the APC version will definitely be present in the first batch.

The APC version, also known as the M1126 Stryker, offers arguably much better protection than Russian or Chinese vehicles. Front arc withstands hits from 14.5 mm heavy machine gun rounds. All-round protection is against 7.62 mm NATO ball rounds. A ceramic add-on armor can be fitted to give all-round protection against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds.

The APC has an automatic fire suppression and NBC protection systems. Strykers employed in combat zones are fitted with steel cages, called slat armor, providing protection against anti-tank rockets and missiles. Recently an explosive reactive armor kit was designed for this vehicle. It is intended to replace the slat armor in combat areas.

M1126 Stryker has a crew of two, including commander and driver and can carry a squad of 9 fully equipped troops. Soldiers enter and exit the vehicle via a rear electrically operated ramp with integrated doors or roof hatches. The self-defense weapon is a remote-controlled weapon station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The Stryker can be also equipped with the CROWS-J (Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station – Javelin anti-tank missile launcher).

The vehicle is powered by a Caterpillar 3126 diesel engine, which produces 350 horsepower. It has a maximum road speed of 100 km/h and a cruising range of about 480 km. Driving wheels can switch between 8×4 configuration on roads and 8×8 configuration on rough terrain. Vehicle is also fitted with a central tyre inflation system, which allows to adjust to different terrain, thus extending cross-country mobility.

To date, the United States has committed more than $27.4 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. U.S. officials believe that Russia is readying a spring offensive in Ukraine. The country’s partners have been focused on providing Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself.

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