General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) have publicly debuted their Stryker A1 IM-SHORAD (Initial-Maneuver Short-Range Air-Defense) prototype at the AUSA (Association of the United States Army) trade show in Washington DC. It is the first of nine prototypes to be delivered to the Army for testing with five already constructed and one already in Army hands. 144 SHORAD platforms are eventually to be acquired with the first entering service next year.
The SHORAD features four integrated weapons systems in its turret – officially the Reconfigurable Integrated Weapons Platform (RIWP) – which is operated remotely from within the body of the vehicle. The missile and gun systems are guided onto aerial targets by an integral 360-degree radar – the Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MMHR) from Leonardo DRS.
For both anti-tank and anti-helicopter, the platform mounts a two-round launcher firing the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire with radar seeker. A four-round Stinger launcher (capable of being reloaded from within the SHORAD unlike the Hellfire) will be equipped with upgraded FIM-92J Stingers fitted with proximity fuses designed for counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) but also useful against both low-level fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.
The SHORAD’s gun is the XM914 30mm equipped with a range of ammunition including airburst and will be equally capable of engaging ground or air threats. Finally for close-in defense, a 7.62x51mm medium machine gun can engage infantry targets threatening the vehicle.
Mobile air-defense is a capability that has stagnated within the US Army during 20 years of counter-insurgency and special operations based warfare with the Army relying upon the Avenger HMMWV Stinger platform, dismounted Stingers and the short-lived M6 Linebacker air-defense variant of the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. BAE Systems offered an upgraded Linebacker known as the M-SHORAD (Mobile Short-Range Air-Defense) in 2017 although the Army decided upon the Stryker-based SHORAD platform.
In related news, GDLS also announced at AUSA that the Stryker A1 Medium Caliber Weapon System (MCWS) has completed trials and is entering production. The MCWS is expected to eventually replace the current M1296 Infantry Carrier Vehicle Dragoon (ICVD) with an upgraded V-shaped hull in accordance with fleet-wide hull upgrades.
Main image of SHORAD Stryker courtesy of Gregory Knowles.