Several programs tied to the U.S. Army’s air and missile defense modernization priority have made timeline adjustments due to COVID-19, but remain on track to deliver capabilities as planned, according to the U.S. Army official website. The U.S. Army’s Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense platform, or IM-SHORAD, was slated to complete developmental testing in June. However, the virus and challenges with the software development process have forced the Army to delay its next testing mileston. IM-SHORAD is an Air Defense Artillery capability which moves and maneuvers in direct support of Brigade Combat Teams (BCT).
Mounted on a Stryker A1 platform, the IM-SHORAD system will provide Soldiers with 360 degrees of air-defense protection through a mix of guns, missiles, rockets, and onboard sensors. The Army will spread 144 systems throughout four battalions during the initial acquisition phase by the second quarter of fiscal year 2023. In addition to the IM-SHORAD program, the virus has impacted further testing of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS, for short. The IBCS program will provide the U.S. Army with an integrated command-and-control system, capable of blending current and future air and missile defense sensors and weapon systems under a unified network.
â€¢ Moves and maneuvers with BCTs with necessary mobility, survivability and lethality to fight at the tactical level
â€¢ Detects, identifies and tracks air threats with on-board sensors providing 360 degree aerial surveillance
â€¢ Destroys or defeats ground and air threats using multiple kinetic effectors (direct fire and missiles)
â€¢ Provides protection for the vehicle and crew with the XM914 (30mm) and M240 (7.62mm)
â€¢ Integrates with existing Army networks and interoperable with Sentinel radar
â€¢ Defeats smaller air threats (Group 1 and 2 UAS) at closer ranges with direct fire (as required)
â€¢ Supports growth to directed energy when available
Full integration of the U.S. Army’s air and missile defense with the indirect fire protection capabilities is essential to the way ahead. Creating a wide range of sensor and shooter combinations will yield significantly higher outcomes. IBCS should maximize the U.S. Army’s kinematic technologies, increase operator decision times and improve the overall situational awareness throughout the battlefield. The U.S. Army also bolstered its indirect fire protection capabilities with the recent acquisition of two Iron Dome missile systems, slated for delivery in December and February, respectively. It will take some time for Soldiers to learn the new system. In the end, the Iron Dome will add to the U.S. Army’s current layered air-defense network.