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The Army's beastly new short-range air defense turret is moving full steam ahead
After years in development, the Army's high-powered mobile short-range air defense system (M-SHORAD) for Stryker brigade combat teams is marching towards an explosive debut on a battlefield near you.
The Army's fiscal year 2020 budget request released on Tuesday calls for $262.1 million to procure 44 M-SHORAD systems, more than double the amount the branch detailed in last year's request for both fiscal years 2019 and 2020.
The M-SHORAD system represents a major boost in firepower for Stryker vehicles, consisting primarily of a 360-degree Avenger air defense turret designed to bring Stinger and AGM-114 Longbow Hellfire missiles (the latter of which are traditionally used in air-to-surface roles), an XM914 30mm cannon, and a 7.62mm machine gun to bear against UAVs.
The extra cash is just the latest sign that the Army is pushing to get this turret system out the door as soon as possible. This hefty boost came just weeks after the Army posted a sources sought notice for industry partners to whip up 144 of the interim M-SHORAD solution engineered by Leonardo DRS and selected by the branch back in June 2018.
To partially quote the musical savants of P.O.D.: Boom! Here comes the Boom! Ready or not ...
A rendering of the Leonardo DRS mission equipment package atop a Stryker combat vehicle to serve as the Interim Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system for the U.S. Army(Courtesy of Leonardo DRS)
An M-SHORAD solution has been in the works since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and necessitate a resurgence in Cold War style tactics in Europe. According to sources sought notice, the Army sought to receive its first battery of 36 M-SHORAD systems by fiscal 2020. But officials have also stated that they're looking to field the system in Europe that same year.
"We are looking for a rapid solution for the near-term fight," Maj. Gen. John Ferarri, the Army's head of program analysis and evaluation, told Warrior Maven last year. "We atrophied air defense if you think about it. With more near-peer major combat operations threats on the horizon, the need for SHORAD and high-tier weapons like THAAD and PATRIOT comes back to the forefront."
The Army's list of modernization priorities detailed in the Pentagon budget documents released on Tuesday includes "[protecting] our forces from adversary rocket, missile, and drone delivered fires to enable joint operations" using "both theater systems and short-range air defense, like the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense with directed energy technologies"
The directed energy element is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, especially since soldiers have been operating Stryker vehicles outfitted with anti-UAV lasers since the middle of last year. But based on the budget data and sources sought notice, it looks like the Army is putting its money where its mouth is in getting these missile-laden, cannon-rocking boom turrets downrange as soon as possible.
WATCH NEXT: The Army Enjoys Some Stinger-On-Stinger Action
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
One person was injured by Sunday's rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Task & Purpose was learned. The injury was described as mild and no one was medically evacuated from the embassy following the attack.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
The US government is letting Marine veteran Austin Tice languish in a Syrian prison, according to his mother
The mother of Marine veteran Austin Tice told reporters on Monday that a top U.S. official is refusing to give permission for a meeting with the Syrian government to negotiate the release of her son, who went missing near Damascus in 2012.
"Apparently, somewhere in the chain, there is a senior U.S. government official who is hesitating or stalling," Debra Tice reportedly said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Debra Tice said she is not certain who this senior official is. She also praised those in government who are working to get her son back.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.