According to information published by the U.S. Army on April 23, 2021, the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-4 ADA), a subordinate unit under the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command has received the first Mobile Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) systems based on Stryker A1 8×8 armored vehicle.
The 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command is U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s executive agent for all theater air and missile defense operations and force management. Since activating the battalion in 2018, 5-4 ADA has played a major role in supporting Allies and partners through their involvement in various joint and multinational training exercises across the European theater.
The first battalion 5-4 ADA was activated in Germany in 2018 as an Avenger battalion and will transition to the M-SHORAD, Increment 1 vehicle with a projected fielding in 2021.
The M-SHORAD (Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense) vehicle is based on an 8×8 Stryker A1 armored vehicle which is fitted with a Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) turret armed with a launcher pod with four Stinger missiles, two Longbow Hellfire missile, one 30mm automatic cannon and one M240 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle is able to detect, identifies and tracks air threats with onboard sensors providing 360-degree aerial surveillance.
The M-SHORAD is also equipped with hemispheric radar (MHR) designed and manufactured by the Israeli company Rada Electronic Industries. The vehicle is equipped with four MHR radars in order to ensure continuous surveillance, short-halt execution, and on-the-move operation. The Stryker M-SHORAD is also equipped with an identification friend or foe (IFF) antenna, an L3Harris WESCAM’s MX-GCS electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sighting to provide the commander with 360° aerial surveillance as well as target identification and detection capabilities and electronic warfare (EW) package to provide improved situational awareness.
The U.S. Army utilized a rapid prototyping strategy to accelerate the timeline for M-SHORAD initial operating capability by four years, resulting in the delivery of a prototype system in approximately one year. In 2020, 18 Air and Missile Defense crewmembers from 5-4 ADA were selected to undergo a 6-month initial operational assessment with the prototype systems at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
The Maneuver, Short-Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system is primarily intended to defend maneuver forces against air threats. It also has the capability to engage a range of ground targets. The Army reportedly plans to procure 144 M-SHORAD Systems, with the objective of equipping the first and second battalions with 36 systems apiece by FY2021 and a third and fourth battalion with 36 systems each by FY2022.
The U.S. Army intends to field the M-SHORAD system to four additional Air and Missile Defense battalions beginning in 2021. Future development of follow-on M-SHORAD systems will incorporate technology insertions, to include directed energy and improved missiles, utilizing a mix of complementary DE and kinetic interceptor systems to protect maneuver forces.