According to the Warrior Maven, the United States Army is scrambling to send its newest Stryker MSL (Maneuver Short-range air defense Launcher) equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Raytheon Stinger short-range air defense missiles to Europe to counter the Russian regional threat.
Air and missile defense is one of the top modernization priorities for the Army. “We are looking for a rapid solution for the near-term fight,” Maj. Gen. John Ferarri, Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation, told Warrior Maven in an interview.
For the first time since the Cold war, the Army is speeding up the development of new Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capabilities in Europe by the end of 2018. The program is likely to encompass the Stryker MSL, which could deploy its first armored vehicles to Europe by 2020.
General Dynamics Land Systems presents a short promotional video of the Stryker MSL SHORAD.
It is likely that the Stryker MSLs could be assigned ” to the permanently forward-stationed 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which is already the first in U.S. Army Europe to have received 80 new Stryker ICVs armed with the 30mm cannon, and additional 87 Strykers with the CROWS-J Javelin system, both of which were engineered to help fill that SHORAD gap,” said Army Recognition.
In March, we reported how the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was actively testing a high-tech laser weapon in Europe, called the Mobile High Energy Laser (MEHEL) mounted on the M1126 Stryker armored personnel carrier for SHORAD purposes.
“Given that counterinsurgency tactics have taken center stage during the last 15 years of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said the Warrior Maven, the Army now recognizes that increased close-in air Russian threats of cruise missiles and small unmanned aerial vehicles could be a major problem when the next conflict breaks out.
“We are looking for an end to end system that is able to detect and defeat the rotary wing fixed wing and UAS (drone) threat to the maneuvering BCT (Brigade Combat Team),” Col. Charles Worshim, Project Manager for Cruise Missile Defense Systems, told Warrior Maven in an interview.
The Stryker MSL includes a Boeing unmanned turret mounted at the rear of the vehicle; this is where a cargo area replaces the “original infantrymen compartment. The turret is armed with four Longbow Hellfires located on the right side and another pod with four launchers for Raytheon Stinger short-range air defense missile,” said Army Recognition.
Senior military officials believe Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems could have the first Stryker SHORAD prototype ready by 2019 as a step toward producing 144 initial vehicles.
The Stryker MSL will be the most advanced SHORAD vehicle to meet the Army’s requirements for combating a rapidly emerging threat from enemy unmanned aerial vehicles, rotary wing, and cruise missile threats.
“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. This is a key notion of maneuverable SHORAD – if you are going to maneuver you need an air defense capability able to stay up with a formation,” the senior Army official told Warrior Maven in an interview.
The Army is conscious about the exponential rise of inexpensive, unmanned air and land-based drones on the modern battlefield, and is now actively working to field an entire fleet of Stryker MSLs to counter short-range enemy threats. Judging by the regional deployment in the early 2020s, it seems as the Pentagon is getting ready for a shooting war with Russia. Will the endless war-spending bankrupt America? We will find out shortly…