GDLS nabs $330 million contract for Stryker cannon upgrade

By Sebastian Sprenger / May 9, 2016 at 5:10 PM

General Dynamics Land Systems is getting a $330 million contract to outfit Stryker infantry carriers with 30 mm cannons, the Defense Department has announced.

The pick of GDLS was widely expected because the company is the manufacturer of the vehicle and owns the requisite data packages to make substantial design changes, such as those required by installing the more powerful weapon.

Army officials have said they need the larger gun on the vehicle to destroy lightly armored vehicles. The unit that initiated the lethality upgrade is stationed in Germany, and its Strykers could be dispatched quickly to any flashpoints along the border with the Baltic states and Russia if war were to break out.

According to a May 6 DOD announcement, General Dynamics is expected to complete work under the contract by Jan. 15, 2021. The Army obligated $105 million of the total sum at the time of the award.

The company conducted a turret and gun competition last year on the government's behalf and eventually picked the Kongsberg medium-caliber weapon station that includes an ATK XM813 30 mm cannon. The system also features a coaxial machine gun.

The bill for the German-based Stryker conversions, covering 83 vehicles of the brigade, could top $400 million. The Army has a total of eight Stryker brigades that are candidates for lethality upgrades if the service can secure the money for them.

While the cannon upgrade is now a done deal, Army and industry officials have suggested some details remain to be worked out. Opinions differ, for example, about whether the plan would penalize the troop-transport capability of the infantry carrier version of the vehicle. The remote weapon station setup and the extra ammunition to be stored could eat up space for soldiers in an already cramped vehicle.