A batch of sexy-as-hell Stryker armored fighting vehicles bristling with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are headed to Europe sooner than expected to bolster the short-range air defense (SHORAD) systems that the U.S Army has funneled into the region to counter Russia, Warrior Mavin reports.
“We are looking for a rapid solution for the near-term fight,” Stryker program analysis chief Maj. Gen. John Ferarri told Warrior Maven of the fledgling Stryker Maneuver SHORAD Launcher (or Stryker MSL) ‘s role in Operation Atlantic Resolve in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
- Why it matters: The Army has been racing to develop new SHORAD capabilities for the first time since the Cold War, and although Army program executive officer for missiles and space Barry Pike previously confirmed that the Army would likely embrace the Stryker MSL with a 2020 IOC date, Ferarri’s indicated that to Warrior Maven that the Army’s SHORAD program actually plans on deploying those feisty little vehicles to Europe by then.
- Who gets ’em first? The Stryker MSL will likely end up in the hands of the permanently forward-stationed 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which was the first in U.S. Army Europe to receive 80 new Stryker ICVs rocking the 30mm cannon and additional 87 Strykers with the CROWS-J Javelin system, both of which were engineered to help fill that SHORAD gap. Indeed, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment is undergoing new training to field-test Stryker vehicles outfitted with a 5kw Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser for SHORAD purposes.
- Why this system? Last year, the Army assessed several new SHORAD systems at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico: the Stryker MSL, the first U.S.-based test of Israel’s much-hyped Iron Dome interceptor system in its first U.S-based test, and Hanwha’s BIHO “Flying Tiger” air defense system which comes with twin 30mm cannons. Sure, it was a serious tactical demonstration, but it was also a chance to play with some nice, new explosive toys.
- SHORAD is the new black. GDLS debuted the Stryker MSL at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference and expo in Washington D.C. one month after the White Sands SHORAD demonstration. But it wasn’t the only one: 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, a Hellfire-enabled update to the short-lived M6 Linebacker.
- But wait, there’s more! Warrior Maven reports that the Army is also developing “a truck-mounted Multi-Mission Launcher designed to destroy drones and cruise missiles on the move in combat,” a system that has “already successfully fired Hellfire, AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and other weapons as a mobile air-defense weapon. It is showing great promise in testing, fires multiple missiles, and brings something previous not there to Army forces.”
And now, some very important SHORAD action from White Sands: