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Bask In The Fiery Glory Of The Army’s Latest Short-Range Air Defense Demonstration
After enjoying years of the Air Force dominating the skies in the fight against the Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the Army is beefing up its short-range missile-defense capabilities to counter the rockets, missiles, and weaponized drones that are increasingly becoming staples of foreign arsenals. And while the return of active-duty maneuver SHORAD battalions for the first time since the end of the Cold War is part of Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley’s strategic emphasis on a “combined arms, multi-domain capable” Army, the tactical implications are far more appealing: a bunch of new, explosive toys to play with.
In September, the Army wrapped a showcase of several new SHORAD systems at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the largest military installation in the United States and the Army’s playground for all things explosively delicious. And the branch’s highlight reel, published on Oct. 30, is everything you hoped and dreamed for — and more.
The showcase featured several next-generation air defense systems, including a Stryker MSL, developed by Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems and boasting an a modernized M229 air defense system bristling with radar-guided AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles and the Stryker’s brand-new 30mm cannon; Israel’s much-hyped Iron Dome interceptor system in its first U.S-based test, first reported by Defense News; and Hanwha’s BIHO “Flying Tiger” air defense system, which includes twin 30mm cannons and, in hybrid models, surface-to-air guided missiles.
“Over last few years, the Army has reduced the force structure of the short-range air defense population due to the threat so as the threat has evolved,” said Col. Chuck Worshim, project manager for the Army’s Cruise Missile Defense System office, in a highlight reel released by the branch on Oct. 30. “We need to go back and relook and build and put weapons systems in there that actually support the fighting force as they're maneuvering to their objective on the battlefield.”
While the sole purpose of the demonstration was to expand the Army’s knowledge of existing capabilities and develop requirements for a long-term SHORAD platform, Worshim said, defense contractors are already cranking out missile-enabled mobile platforms to meet the branch’s future needs.
The Stryker MSL and Iron Dome were featured prominently on the floor of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference and expo in Washington D.C. in October, one month after the White Sands SHORAD demonstration, but they weren’t the only ones: Oshkosh unveiled another version of its much-anticipated Joint Light Tactical Vehicle with its own M299 Hellfire-equipped surface-to-air missile turret, while BAE Systems showcased brand-new Bradley Fighting Vehicles outfitted with their own anti-air armaments, an update to the short-lived M6 Linebacker featuring a Hellfire missile launcher system, electronic warfare capabilities, and a 30mm autocannon to blast incoming ordnance and drones out of the sky.
When these explosive goodies will get to flex their muscles downrange remains to be seen. The Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, currently garrisoned at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany, is set to receive the first batch of upgunned ICVDs in January 2018 — 80 with the 30mm cannon and 87 with the CROWS FGM-148 Javelin missile system. And according to defense contractors, resurrecting the active-duty SHORAD battalions of the 1980s and ‘90s remains an “urgent operational need” for Milley, so far that General Dynamics hopes to get the Stryker MSL ”into the hands of warfighters” by 2019.
“SHORAD remains an urgent operational need for the Army and a top priority [for Milley],” Kendall Linson, business development manager for Stryker and Specialty Wheeled Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems, told Task & Purpose at AUSA in October. “We’re just waiting for the Army to give us the requirements.”
The decorated Marine pilot whose heroics helped stop the 1973 New Orleans sniper attack has died at 84
The decorated U.S. Marine Corps pilot who risked his life and military career to help New Orleans police halt the Howard Johnson's hotel sniper attack that shattered the quiet of a Sunday morning and claimed seven lives in 1973 died Feb. 13 following a lengthy battle with cancer, according to his family.
Retired Lt. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Pitman Sr., whose heroics against Mark Essex that day earned him the eternal gratitude of city leaders and first responders, was 84.
The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.
On Feb. 19, 1945, more than 70,000 U.S. Marines conducted an amphibious assault to take the Island of Iwo Jima from fortified Japanese forces. Over the next 36 days nearly 7,000 Marines would be killed during the battle, which is regarded as one of the bloodiest of World War II, as they faced hidden enemy artillery, machine guns, vast bunker systems and underground tunnels. Of the 82 Marines who earned the Medal of Honor during all of World War II, 22 medals were earned for actions on Iwo Jima.
Now, 75 years later, 28 Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima gathered to remember the battle at the 75th and final commemoration sunset ceremony Feb. 15, 2020, at the Pacific Views Event Center on Camp Pendleton, California.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.
Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.
Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.
The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.