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.

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In the blockbuster slice of movie cheese Independence Day, one plot hole that always irked me was the lack of surface to air missiles in the fight against the invading aliens. There is exactly one scene where an Avenger SAM system swivels towards the alien menace as the mothership approaches the secretive Area 51. What garbage is this?

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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.

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U.S. Army/Capt. Judith Marlowe

The FIM-92 Stinger missile was the man-portable air defense system of choice for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps (and a handful of action heroes during the 1980s and 90s, plus some Afghan, uh, “freedom fighters”). Since the end of the Cold War, the Department of Defense has drifted away from the infrared homing missile; the Global War on Terror’s emphasis on counterinsurgency tactics led to a decline in funding for short-range air defense systems (SHORAD). But with the Pentagon adopting an increasingly rigid posture in eastern Europe, the Army is learning to love the Stinger once again.

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Photo via DoD

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.

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Photo via Oshkosh Defense

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is meant to be everything the Humvee is not: It’s designed by Oshkosh Defense to withstand the ground-based IED attacks early on in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that had forced Humvees to armor up, reducing payloads and performance, and slowing brigades to a crawl. With a modular design to accommodate armor plating fit for an MRAP, Oshkosh hopes the first 600 JLTVs, set for fielding by the Army and Marine Corps in early 2019, will represent a quantum leap forward for the Department of Defense’s light truck fleet.

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