The U.S. has given the green light for testing a new short-range air defense system, The Mobile Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system. The first units will be delivered to the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-4 ADA), a subordinate unit under the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
This battalion is currently based at Shipton Kaserne in Ansbach, Germany. The new M-SHORAD units now augment the battalion’s existing set of Humvee-based Avenger short-range air defenses.
The M-SHORAD system integrates existing anti-aircraft guns, missiles, rockets, and sensors onto a highly mobile 8x8 Stryker A1 vehicle platform. The rationale behind this development is to provide support for maneuvering forces against a variety of aerial threats including unmanned aircraft, rotary-wing, missiles, and residual fixed-wing threats.
The project forms part of a $1.2 billion contract with General Dynamics Land Systems (who built the Stryker) to integrate the Leonardo DRS's M-SHORAD system into their vehicles.
The M-SHORAD system was built in record time
According to Brig. Gen. Gregory J. Brady, Commander of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, "this is truly a testament to our Army's commitment to increase air and missile defense capability and capacity to the joint force, and especially here in Europe.”
“Just under 3 years ago 5-4 ADA was the Army's first SHORAD battalion activated in almost 13 years, and now they are proud again to be the first to lead the Army's Air and Missile Defense modernization initiatives with M-SHORAD. The 10th AAMDC is proud to be a part of this Team effort and remains engaged, postured, and ready to assure, deter, and defend the maneuver force in an increasingly complex Integrated Air and Missile Defense environment, shoulder to shoulder with our NATO Allies,” he added.
This will come as a welcome addition to the battalion’s arsenal. It is also a testament to recent developments in research and development.
From start to finish, the project was completed in less than a year, down from the predicted 4 years initially which started in 2018. Thanks to rapid prototyping, these first prototype M-SHORAD systems will be put through their paces over a 6-month evaluation exercise at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
These systems will help bolster the U.S. Army’s ability to defend its forces at increased ranges, and much-improved mobility. Four units have been delivered thus far, with more, around 32 in total, expected later this year.
After the evaluation period is complete, it is anticipated that the first fully operational M-SHORAD battalion will become a reality shortly after.
With the increasing threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles, the M-SHORAD system offers a very powerful countermeasure. How they perform during testing, however, will determine the system’s future.