Special Video Report: WATCH the 30mm Stryker Cannon Fire - What does it take?
The Army is pursuing a three-tiered approach to arming its Stryker vehicles with cutting edge air defense capabilities enabling the platforms to track and destroy enemy drones, helicopters and even fixed wing airplanes.
(M-SHORAD) Maneuver Short Range Air Defense
It is called Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD), an incremental effort to introduce powerful air defense weaponry into the Stryker vehicle to support infantry and armored units on the move against enemy air threats. The plan is multi-faceted and the first portion is already operational and now deployed in Europe. Increment 1, Army weapons developers say, involved arming the Stryker with HELLFIRE and Stinger missiles able to track and destroy enemy air threats. The Army recently achieved a milestone with Increment 1 of MSHORAD with its “first mission equipped” placing the first “tactical fire inside an operational unit,” Maj. Gen. Brian Gibson, Directory Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, told The National Interest in an interview.
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“The deployment includes the employment of multiple effectors such as Stingers,” Gibson said.
Building upon Increment 1, which arms the Strykers with a range of anti-air explosive weapons, the Army is fast-progressing with Increment 2 of its M-SHORAD program, an ongoing initiative to arm Strykers with 50kw laser weapons. This not only introduces new prospects for precision attack upon enemy drones, but also introduces an ability to attack and defend at the speed of light. Lasers, if properly and fully integrated with the requisite mobile electrical power, are inherently scalable, meaning they can be adjusted to fully incinerate and destroy enemy targets or merely disable functionality. The Army has been working with several vendors to refine and strengthen its Stryker-fired laser and expects to have it operational within just the next few years.
The Army’s Inc. 3 for M-SHORAD involves exploring the art of the possible regarding potential future interceptors. A modernization effort to look at a new generation of anti-air weapons could include advanced upgrades of current systems or a completely new redesign, something which could change the paradigm for ground-mobile counter air attack.
“How far can we open up to get past current efforts and make trade-offs. What do you have today? And if you go away from that constraint, what can you achieve? These are things to consider,” Gibson explained.
In totally, the combination of all three increments abouts to a decided and substantial Army effort to better prepare its advancing armored ground forces for heavy, mechanized, force-on-force combat against a sophisticated enemy.
“This is the largest modernization for Air and Missile Defense since the Cold War,” Gibson explained.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox