Soldiers assigned to the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-4 ADA) conducted training for the Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense weapon system (IM-SHORAD) on Shipton Kaserne Feb. 2, 2021. 5-4 ADA will be the first unit in the U.S. Army to receive the IM-SHORAD later this year. Over the course of a week, the IM-SHORAD University class covers all aspects of operating and maintaining the IM-SHORAD system, as well as how the IM-SHORAD will affect 5-4 ADA’s capabilities as a unit following the replacement of the Avenger weapon system. The 5-4 ADA became the first short range air defense battalion in Europe and first to receive the IM-SHORAD weapons system in the entire U.S. Army.
The weeks-long class, dubbed “IM-SHORAD University” was put together by 1st Lt. Ryan Pitcher, an air defense artillery officer assigned to the 5-4 ADA, and is designed to familiarize air defenders with the Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense weapon system (IM-SHORAD) system prior to its arrival to the unit in 2021. Pitcher, as well as his non-commissioned officers who received extensive training on the system at White Sands Missile Range last year, are instructing the course. The class will be given in three separate iterations to the entire battalion as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The knowledge that we gained at White Sands was from the contractors who built these systems,” said Pitcher. “We got first-hand experience with the engineers and the coders to not only understand what happens but also why it happens, which is why I feel that my NCOs and I are qualified to teach the battalion about the system. The purpose of the class is to familiarize Soldiers with not only functions but the lingo and acronyms that relate to the system as well as how we will fight differently with this system compared to the Avenger. This class will get everyone started ahead of time, to make sure we are mission capable.”
The IM-SHORAD consists of Leonardo DRS’ Mission Equipment Package (MEP) mounted on a General Dynamics Stryker A1 platform to provide soldiers with protection using guns, missiles, rockets and onboard sensors. The IM-SHORAD system is one of the U.S. Army’s solutions to replace the aging Avenger short range air defense system. While the Avenger worked well in its day as a Cold War platform for the protection of Army units from close in air threats, being less survivable than other modern air defense systems, and requiring a long set up time to get operational. IM-SHORAD is an Air Defense capability which moves and maneuvers in direct support of Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) to destroy, neutralize or deter low altitude aerial threats.