In a move aimed at enhancing the security and capabilities of a valued NATO ally, the US State Department has recently given its approval for the potential sale of a substantial number of Stryker vehicles and related equipment to Bulgaria. The deal, estimated at $1.5 billion, was formally notified to Congress on Friday by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Bulgaria’s Request for Advanced Military Hardware

The government of Bulgaria has expressed a keen interest in bolstering its defense capabilities, with a particular focus on rapid infantry deployment and force projection. The proposed sale aims to fulfill this objective while strengthening the security and stability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the European region.

The centerpiece of the sale is the acquisition of 183 units from the Stryker Family of Vehicles, a formidable addition to Bulgaria’s military arsenal. These armored combat vehicles, officially known as the Stryker Family of Vehicles, have a rich history dating back to their introduction in the early 2000s. Developed by General Dynamics Land Systems, they were named after two American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor: Private First Class Stuart S. Stryker and Specialist Four Robert F. Stryker.

(Image source: DVIDS)

The Stryker family comprises a range of variants, each designed to excel in specific roles, including infantry transport, reconnaissance, medical evacuation, and more. These vehicles are characterized by their mobility, adaptability, and survivability on the battlefield. Equipped with advanced technology, they feature powerful engines, composite armor, and a variety of weapon systems, including the M2 .50-caliber machine gun and the MK19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Additionally, Stryker vehicles are known for their ability to be rapidly deployed by air, making them a valuable asset for expeditionary forces. With a history of successful deployments and continuous technological upgrades, the Stryker remains a cornerstone of modern military forces, providing both protection and firepower to meet the evolving challenges of the battlefield.

This extensive package also includes a variety of Stryker variants and a range of support equipment. Key components of the sale comprise:

  • 90 XM1296 Infantry Carrier Vehicles – Dragoon (ICVD)
  • 17 M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV)
  • 9 M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicles (ESV)
  • 33 M1130 Command Vehicles (CV)
  • 24 M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicles (MEV)
  • 10 M1135 Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles (NBCRV)
  • 5 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) Light Equipment Transports (LET)
  • 5 Modular Catastrophic Recovery Systems (MCRS)
  • 2 M1120A4 HEMTT Load Handling Systems
  • 5 M984A4 Wrecker HEMTTs
  • 107 M240 Coaxial 7.62mm machine guns

A Boost for Bulgaria’s Defense Capabilities

In addition to these vehicles and weaponry, the package includes an array of support service equipment such as M-153A4 Common Remote Operated Weapons Stations (CROWS), Forward Repair Systems (FRS), M2A1 .50 caliber machine guns, M6 smoke grenade launchers, Harris radios, AN/VAS-5 Driver’s Vision Enhancers (DVE), DVE-Wide, communications equipment, RS6 (LW30) Remote Weapon Systems, TACFLIR 280 HDEP systems, Ranger R20SS Radar, ROVER6Si transceivers, spare parts, Basic Issue Items (BII), Components of End Items (COEI), Additional Authorized List (AAL), Special Tools and Test Equipment (STTE), technical manuals, OCONUS Deprocessing Service, OCONUS contractor-provided training, Field Service Representatives (FSR), component assembly in-country, and other logistics and program support elements.