VILSECK, Germany — Sen. Rob Portman visited the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany Monday to see the first upgraded Strykers produced by Lima’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) and to talk to the troops that operate them.
The modernized Stryker ICV-Dragoon, produced at the Lima JSMC, is an armoured personnel carrier that has been upgraded with a 30-millimeter cannon and is capable of defending against potential tank threats. Portman said military officials approached him in 2015 with the need of such a vehicle to support forces in Europe. After doing research and talking with other legislators, he helped amend the 2016 defense budget to appropriate $371 million to fund research, development and procurement of 81 upgraded Strykers.
“The troops are very pleased to have something that can go up against other armored vehicles,” Portman said. “They are very impressed by what we do in Lima.”
The Strykers have been deployed to bases in Germany, and they join other NATO forces in Europe that defend against potential aggressive military movements, such as Russia’s annexation of Crimea in early 2014. During that time, no heavy armor vehicles were deployed in Europe.
“Europe is not a place we can afford to be without some sort of armored vehicle,” Portman said.
During Portman’s visit to Germany, the senator spoke to Stryker operators and spent a little time in the cockpit to see how the new turret operates and what new technology is included in the Stryker’s upgraded systems. He also visited with soldiers from both the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and 7th Army Training Command and spent Easter Sunday with soldiers and their families stationed with the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria.
“The best tanks and armored vehicles in the world are made in Lima, Ohio, and I was proud to be the first from Congress to see these modernized Stryker vehicles overseas,” Portman said in a press release. “The skilled employees at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima have a lot to be proud of based on what I saw today, and I want to thank them for all they are doing to give our men and women in uniform the tools they need to succeed in their mission.”
Another $648 million has been appropriated to additional Stryker improvements in the latest omnibus spending bill passed in March.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.