Several General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) built Strykers arrived at Fort Sill to begin equipping the second M-SHORAD 4th Battalion, 60th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. An ever growing aggressive Russia exerting its influence in Eastern Europe while trying to destabilize the NATO pact, the Army recognizes the need to protect their maneuvering units and allies from this threat. The remaining 31 vehicles will be field between now and September of 2023. The first 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery, Ansbach Germany was completed April 2023. The strategic decision to test fire M-SHORAD in Germany showcases the commitment the U.S. is making to bolster its defense posture in Europe to counter an aggressive Russia.
After years of inactving active duty SHORAD units, the Army is recognizing the challenge in training a new generation of Air Defense Soldiers. There is a knowledge and generational gap among Soldiers in the Army on how to integrate SHORAD units to provide defensive fires. The other challenge is the time it takes to properly test and field these new systems. However, the Army has been meeting its timelines to field M-SHORAD despite the challenges mentioned above along with a global pandemic in 2020 that did cause a slight delay in getting M-SHORAD to Soldiers.
With more near-peer major combat operations threats on the horizon, the need for SHORAD and high-tier weapons like THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) and PATRIOT surface-to-air missile system comes back to the forefront.
The Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III. Stryker vehicles are produced by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-C) for the United States Army in a plant in London, Ontario. In February 2018, the Army announced that Stryker vehicles would be modified with sensors and weapons to fulfill an interim Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) requirement. In addition to deploying AN/TWQ-1 Avengers and fielding man-portable Stinger missiles, Strykers are to be upgraded to buy time to build a lasting mobile air defense solution. In September 2020, the Army awarded General Dynamics the IM-SHORAD contract worth $1.2 billion, to deliver 144 vehicles over five years. The first order was for 28 vehicles for $230 million.
The M-SHORAD (Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense) system repurposes the eight-wheeled Stryker infantry transport into a mobile drone and helicopter killer that can quickly move around the battlefield in support of ground troops. Sensors help detect and track low-flying aircraft before gunners inside the 360-degree Avenger air defense turret can fire Stinger or Hellfire missiles, the 30 mm M230LF XM914 chain gun and the 7.62 mm M240 coaxial machine gun. The M-SHORAD is an Air Defense Artillery capability which moves and maneuvers in direct support of Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) to destroy, neutralize or deter low altitude aerial threats, including Group 3 UAS, rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. Integrates with existing Army networks and interoperable with Sentinel radar.