The U.S. Army’s  5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-4 ADA), under the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command based in Germany, is the first battalion in the Army to test, receive, and field the Mobile Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system.

The M-SHORAD, which integrates existing guns, missiles, rockets and sensors onto a Stryker A1 vehicle, is the Army’s newest addition in a variety of modernization efforts. The system is designed to defend maneuvering forces against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing and residual fixed-wing threats, U.S. army information said.

Brig. Gen. Gregory J. Brady, Commander of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command said, “Just under 3 years ago 5-4 ADA was the Army’s first SHORAD battalion activated in almost 13 years, and now they are the first to lead the Army’s Air and Missile Defense modernization initiatives with M-SHORAD.

The 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.

“There’s really no comparison to anything I’ve operated in my career,” said Sgt. Andrew Veres, an Air and Missile Defense crewmember with 5-4 ADA. “Everything in these systems is an improvement – the survivability, mobility, dependability, off road ability – it gives us the ability to stay in the fight longer.”

The addition of the Stryker-based M-SHORAD system will provide better protection of maneuver forces at increased ranges and with improved mobility, allowing a stronger defense of U.S. forces, Allies and partners against adversary air threats. The unit initially received four systems in April, and is expected to receive more later this year, beginning its transition from an Avenger-based battalion to the first fully-operational M-SHORAD battalion in the U.S. Army.

“Our adversaries have invested heavily from their indirect fire up to their strategic missile assets, necessitating the modernization of our air and missile defense capabilities,” said Brady. “M-SHORAD is a critical part of the Army’s comprehensive dedicated Air Defense Artillery capacity and augmented combined arms approach to be able to provide a multi-layered defense against all aerial threats.”

The 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.

The M-SHORAD’s closest competitor is the Russian Pantsir-S1 gun-missile air defence system that provides close-in protection to bigger missile sytems such as the S-400 besides airfields and vital installations.

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