Less than a year after North Macedonia’s admission to NATO, the US has given a positive decision to the country’s request for the procurement of 8×8 STRYKER combat vehicles through the FMS procedure. Accordingly, North Macedonia will receive 54 STRYKERs in the following variants:
- M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV)
- M1130 Command Vehicles (CV)
- M1129 Mortar Carrier Vehicles (MCV)
This is addition to peripheral equipment such as:
- Heavy Machine Guns
- Smoke Launchers
- Remote-Controlled Weapon Stations
- GPS receivers
- Driver vision devices
This is alongside spare parts, special tools and test equipment in addition to documentation, and logistical support. The programme is supported on the ground by government and manufacturer personnel with the cost of the entire package estimated at €176M.
The STRYKER is a protected combat vehicle derived from the PIRANHA III, a product of the then independent Mowag, now part of the European arm of the GDLS group. The vehicles have a reinforced protection weigh up to 25 tonnes and are powered by a 260 kW Caterpillar diesel engine. Depending on the mission equipment, they offer space for up to 11 soldiers in addition to the regular crew (commander, driver, gunner).
The vehicles for Northern Macedonia will be produced at GDLS-Canada in London, Ontario with subcontractors including Harris (radios) and Kongsberg (weapon stations). The Armed Forces of Northern Macedonia is formed of 8,000 active soldiers and 5,000 reservists. These are divided into an infantry brigade with four infantry battalions (amongst others), an army aviation brigade and support forces. The defence budget in 2020 was around €135m.