In continuing efforts to revitalize and update the U.S. Army’s Air and Missile Defense forces and systems, the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (5-4 ADA), a subordinate unit under the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, is the first battalion in the Army to test, receive, and field the Mobile Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system.
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.
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.
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.
“This is truly a testament to our Army’s commitment to increase air and missile defense capability and capacity to the joint force, and especially here in Europe,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory J. Brady, Commander of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. “Just under 3 years ago 5-4 ADA was the Army’s first SHORAD battalion activated in almost 13 years, and now they are proud again to be the first to lead the Army’s Air and Missile Defense modernization initiatives with M-SHORAD. The 10th AAMDC is proud to be a part of this Team effort and remains engaged, postured and ready to assure, deter, and defend the maneuver force in an increasingly complex Integrated Air and Missile Defense environment, shoulder to shoulder with our NATO Allies.”
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.
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.