The US Military To Begin Protecting Their Vehicles From Drones With the Help of SHORAD (Short-Range Air Defense)

For any military force to succeed, they must excel in offensive and defensive maneuvers and have the tools and technology to support all missions. Since the end of World War II, the United States of America has had the strongest military presence in the world. The US military spends billions each year on technology R&D to ensure soldiers have the tools to be the best in the ever changing field of combat.

In 1999, US Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki outlined a plan to make the Army more adaptable for deployment. One of the tenants of his plan was the introduction of a new breed of armored vehicles. In November of 2000, General Dynamics Land Systems, a subsidiary of General Motors-General Dynamics based in Canada, was awarded an $8 billion contract to supply the US Army with a fleet of 2,131 Stryker armored vehicles, each one costing about $4.9 million. The Stryker was meant to be the go-between of the heavily armored, yet not easily deployable tanks and the lightly protected easy to deploy Humvees. Today the US Army has 7 active Stryker brigade combat teams and 2 in the National Guard.

Since its introduction into the US Army, Stryker has gone through several upgrades. “Stryker is one of the key platforms that are part of the Army’s overall modernization strategy and, as such, we’ve had several key decisions in the past that are modernizing our various platform capabilities and examining modernizing future capabilities,” said Col. William Venable, Army project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team. In 2019, a prototype of the latest Stryker was revealed at the Washington D.C. Annual Meeting & Exposition of the Association of the US Army. One of the most notable updates to the Stryker was how it would be outfitted to address modern warfare issues such as drones.

When the Stryker was first designed, drones were relatively new in combat use. The only military forces using drones were the US and its allies such as the UK and Israel. There wasn’t a need for defensive drone options. But as drone technology dramatically progressed over the following decade, they became tools that nearly every combatant organization could utilize. The US military had to develop anti-drone measures for everything from heavy artillery military drones, to inexpensive off the shelf drones. Drones completely changed the landscape of war both offensively and defensively.

General Dynamics Land Systems first began working on the anti-drone Stryker upgrades in 2018. Called SHORAD (Short-Range Air Defense), the Army was scheduled to receive the first 12 of 144 Stryker SHORADs in 2020. On October 7, 2021, the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, a part of the 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command finally had the chance to perform a live test of the new and improved Stryker SHORAD.

The test was held at Putlos Bundeswehr range in Germany by Alpha Battery, 5-4 ADAR soldiers. The system successfully took out several ground targets and drones. “With SHORAD in general, our job is to protect the maneuver force, and being on the Stryker platform gives us that key capability to move with them wherever they go and protect from enemy rotary and fixed-wing attack,” said commander of Alpha Battery Capt. Connor Knapp. The Stryker SHORAD system is scheduled to continue testing at bases in Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania over the next few months before being formally introduced into service. Col. William Venable went on to compare the Stryker platform to a Swiss Army Knife, a vehicle that gives ground forces the tools necessary for continued success.

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