174 Stryker vehicles are awaiting final assembly in Bulgaria

At least 174 Stryker vehicles are lined up for their final assembly in Bulgaria, a process that is set to kick off next year. This update comes straight from Lyuben Yovchev, the head of Research and Development at the Terem state military repair company. 

GD showed the Stryker Counter-UAS soft- or hard-kill air system
Photo credit: GDLS

Bulgaria has invested $1.5 billion to acquire a diverse fleet of military vehicles, including 90 M1296 Infantry Carrier Vehicles [ICVs], 17 M1126 ICVs, 33 M1130 Command Vehicles, nine M1132 Engineer Vehicles, 24 M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicles, and 10 M1135 Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical [NBC] Reconnaissance Vehicles. This acquisition is part of a broader initiative by the Ministry of Defense to modernize the Bulgarian armed forces.

The M1296 Stryker ICV is a more advanced variant of the Stryker series used by the United States Army. It’s designed to offer both enhanced firepower and superior protection for infantry troops. Notably, the M1296 is equipped with a 30mm automatic cannon, giving it a significant edge in firepower over the standard M1126 Stryker ICV, which usually features a .50 caliber machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher. 

GD showed the Stryker Counter-UAS soft- or hard-kill air system
Photo by Georgios Moumoulidis

The M1126 Stryker ICV stands as the cornerstone of the Stryker family, primarily tasked with the safe transport of infantry troops. This eight-wheeled, armored vehicle strikes a fine balance between mobility, protection, and firepower. It’s equipped with a Remote Weapon Station [RWS] capable of housing various armaments, including a .50 caliber M2 machine gun or a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher. 

When it comes to dimensions, the M1296 and M1126 Stryker ICVs share similarities. Both vehicles measure around 22.9 feet [7 meters] in length, 8.9 feet [2.7 meters] in width, and 8.7 feet [2.64 meters] in height. These dimensions enable them to be airlifted by C-130 aircraft, significantly enhancing their strategic mobility. 

As for propulsion, both the M1296 and M1126 Stryker ICVs feature a Caterpillar C7 diesel engine, delivering approximately 350 horsepower. This powerhouse allows the vehicles to reach a top speed of roughly 62 miles per hour [100 kilometers per hour] on roads, with an operational range of about 330 miles [531 kilometers]. 

US Army put 50 kW laser on Stryker IAV and 'killed' multiple mortars
Photo: US Army

The M1296 Stryker ICV boasts an advanced fire control system integrated with its 30mm cannon, offering precise targeting and engagement capabilities. Meanwhile, the M1126 Stryker ICV uses a more straightforward fire control system linked to its Remote Weapon Station, which is sufficient for its primary role of infantry support. 

Both the M1296 and M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles [ICVs] are packed with advanced systems that boost their battlefield performance. These include state-of-the-art communication systems, situational awareness tools, and defensive measures like smoke grenade launchers and reactive armor kits. Importantly, these vehicles are designed for seamless networking with other units, offering a complete and real-time battlefield picture. 

The M1296 Stryker ICV stands out with its 30mm automatic cannon, a versatile weapon capable of engaging various targets, from light armored vehicles to enemy infantry. Additionally, it features a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun for extra firepower. On the other hand, the M1126 Stryker ICV typically comes armed with a .50 caliber M2 machine gun or a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher, ideal for infantry support and defensive roles.

US 2nd SBCT fired Javelin missile from Stryker's roof-mounted CROWS-J
Photo: Twitter

On May 17, Terem Holding CEO Kalin Dimitrov disclosed to local media that Terem Holding will handle the final assembly of the Stryker vehicles. This process includes installing crucial subsystems like radios, weapons, and night vision devices.  

In a separate statement, Yovchev informed Jane’s publication that the assembly will also involve adding turrets to the Stryker hulls. This work will be carried out at the Terem Ivaylo plant in Veliko Tarnovo. Dimitrov added that General Dynamics Land Systems has transferred technical documentation, enabling the production of spare parts in the medium term.

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