General Dynamics Land Systems developed the Stryker 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle outfitted with a Orbital-ATK 30mm Bushmaster auto-cannon in the Kongsberg MCRWS unmanned weapon station in an accelerated program.

Despite only being initiated in 2013 the vehicles were ready for US Army test in 2014 with the first production system delivered in October 2016. The Army chose to name the new Stryker configuration the ‘Dragoon’ clearly reflecting its lineage with the horse mounted infantry of the same name. The 2d Cavalry (2d Cav), the longest continuously serving cavalry regiment in the US Army, took delivery of its first of the new vehicles in December 2017 at their Rose Barracks.

In February 2018 the 2d Cav announced it had completed weapons training on vehicles received and that they had conducted the first live firings. Further Field User Trials are scheduled for April. Army sources indicate that initially Dragoons will go to the 1st Squadron of the 2d Cav with the entire regiment equipped by early 2019.

The Dragoon version uses the same chassis as the M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) but replaces the .50 heavy machine gun Protector remote weapon station with the MCRWS. Despite its larger 30mm Bushmaster armament the vehicle retains its capacity to carry the same dismount complement. The gun fires both armoured piercing and new programmable ammunition that includes air-burst detonation that is particularly lethal against troops and behind fortifications. The new Strykers also have an improved commander’s station and upgraded driveline. General Dynamics will deliver 83 production Dragoons in this first order. The Army has suggested that it will utilize the 2d Cav’s experience with Dragoon in considering a further expansion of the 30mm upgrade to additional Stryker units.

by Stephen W. Miller

Stephen W. Miller
A former US Marine ground combat and aviation officer instrumental in the adoption of wheeled armoured vehicles and manoeuvre warfare. He has extensive hands-on experience in development, acquisition, fielding, support and employment leading land, naval, and air programmes in the US and twenty-four other countries. [email protected]