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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.”
A sprawling new survey says a ‘culture of resilience’ helped US military families weather housing woes for years
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Decorated Vietnam vet presents Purple Heart and Bronze Star to family of slain UNC Charlotte shooting hero
Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
CAIRO (Reuters) - After losing territory, ISIS fighters are turning to guerrilla war — and the group's newspaper is telling them exactly how to do it.
In recent weeks, IS's al-Naba online newspaper has encouraged followers to adopt guerrilla tactics and published detailed instructions on how to carry out hit-and-run operations.
The group is using such tactics in places where it aims to expand beyond Iraq and Syria. While IS has tried this approach before, the guidelines make clear the group is adopting it as standard operating procedure.