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India is evaluating the possibility of acquiring Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) for its army. However, the Stryker has a history of both strengths and vulnerabilities that India should consider before making a decision.

Developed under former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, the Stryker entered service in 2003. Initially praised for its ability to transport troops, its limitations soon became apparent. The armor proved insufficient, and the wheeled design caused maintenance problems due to mud clogging the engine. Additionally, computer systems malfunctioned, and seatbelts were inadequate for troops in combat gear during rollovers.

The Stryker’s vulnerability became evident during the 2008 Battle of Sadr City in Baghdad. The narrow streets and dense urban environment hampered its maneuverability. More importantly, the Stryker’s flat underbelly was susceptible to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Explosions ripped through the vehicle’s bottom armor, earning it the grim nickname “Kevlar coffin” from soldiers.

The Stryker’s struggles continued in Afghanistan’s rugged terrain. Its off-road capabilities were limited, and it remained vulnerable to IEDs. An incident in 2010 highlighted this vulnerability when a massive bomb destroyed a Stryker’s engine armor and exposed its crew compartment.

Proponents of the Stryker argue that it is not designed for direct assault or engaging enemy armor. They see it as a troop transport similar to a heavily armored SUV, delivering soldiers close to objectives.

India must carefully weigh the Stryker’s strengths and weaknesses in the context of its own military needs and potential battlefields. Considering India’s diverse terrain and potential adversaries, the Stryker’s vulnerabilities might be a concern.