Air Defense: No Quick Fix For SHORAD
February 21, 2017: The U.S. Army, faced with a renewed Russian threat in Europe and growing use of helicopter gunships by China and UAVs by everyone wants to increase its SHORAD (short-range air defense system) capabilities. SHORAD was much less of an issue after the Cold War ended because the major air threat (the Soviet Union) was gone. Whatever was left could be handled by MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Missile Systems) like Stinger. By 2004 the U.S. Army had only 24 SHORAD batteries (each equipped with 24 Avenger vehicles) and now there are only nine, seven of them in the National Guard.
The Stinger missile is also used by Avenger. These are hummers with a turret mounted on the back. The turret contains two missile pods (each containing four Stingers). Under one pod there is an M3P .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine gun. The weapons operator has use of a FLIR (night vision device) and a laser range finder to locate targets. The machine-gun, however, can't be depressed sufficiently to fire at ground targets towards the front of the vehicle. The missiles have a range of 4.5 kilometers, the machine-gun about half that.
Avenger is a relatively new system, introduced to replace the much older (1960s) Chaparral in the 1990s. The older system was basically an M113 armored vehicle with the top and side armor removed and a launcher holding four early model Sidewinder air-to-air missiles in the rear. These Sidewinders were reconfigured for use from the ground and called MIM-72. The U.S. Army bought 600 Chaparral vehicles from 1969 to 1997. Also mounted on the vehicle were an optical sight for the helping to find and aim (in the general direction of) the target aircraft. The original MIM-72 had a range of 8,000 meters and was still a heat seeking missile. Later versions of the Sidewinder were used and the final version had a range of 10,000 meters and a much more effective heat seeker (able to detect the target from any angle, not just the rear where the hot exhaust was). Chaparral never got much use and was replaced by the Avenger in the United States. Other nations, like Taiwan, still use Chaparral.
Meanwhile the U.S. Army has been developing a new SHORAD internally because it is expected to cost a third of what it would if a defense contractor was used. The new system is the MML (Multi-Mission Launcher) which is fifteen tube launcher mounted on a standard flatbed 6x6 army truck (Medium Tactical Vehicle). The MML cells can fire either a Stinger anti-aircraft missile, a Sidewinder anti-aircraft missile, a Hellfire laser guided missile or any number of future missiles. MML is to be a key component of the IFPC Inc 2-I (Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept) system. This is an air defense system for destroying UAVs and cruise missiles as well as faster moving rockets and artillery/mortar shells. Since some specialized high-speed interceptor missiles have yet to finish development the IHPC won’t be ready for service until the end of the decade. The other components (radar and fire control) will also be truck mounted.
As far as the immediate SHORAD problem is concerned MML may not be the solution, at least in the near term. Right now MML is not ready for production and the major impediment appears to be integrating MML with existing (or planned) radar and security (IFF, Identify Friend or Foe) systems.
MilEME09 said:With the Defense minister saying air defense is one of 18 priority projects, and the fact that the LAV 6.0 chassis was to fix some of the stability issues that really showed up in the LAV III MMEV concept. Could we see the MMEV revived on a LAV 6.0 platform?
Laser In Front, Grunts In Back: Boeing Offers Anti-Aircraft Vehicles
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.
on August 02, 2017 at 1:35 PM
Stryker vehicle armed with anti-aircraft missiles.
ARLINGTON: Need to shoot down Daesh drones or Russian gunships? Boeing is offering the Army an array of ways to do it, from laser-armed 8×8 Strykers to missile-launching MATV trucks and tracked Bradleys.
This September, the Army plans a “shoot off” of competing anti-aircraft systems as it tries to rebuild battlefield air defenses it largely disbanded since 9/11. Boeing’s not the only contender, but it’s been the most aggressive in showing its wares. A new anti-aircraft Stryker will debut at next week’s Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., but that’s just one of several designs they’re prototyping. The aerospace giant has worked with makers of military vehicles – Oshkosh for the MATV, General Dynamics for Stryker, BAE for Bradley — to integrate its weapons systems on their war machines in ways that give the Army multiple options.
M-ATV with anti-aircraft missiles.
What the Army wants is Maneuver SHORAD: Short-Range Air Defense systems that can keep up with frontline combat units and survive in combat, unlike Patriot and THAAD batteries, which have longer range but are heavier and are not armored. It particularly wants Maneuver SHORAD it can afford, so installing existing weapons on existing vehicles is a lot more attractive than developing silver bullets from scratch. And, finally, the Army would love vehicles that can both carry SHORAD systems and still fulfill other roles, like troop transport.
Happily for the Army, Boeing and other companies have made laser weapons much more compact. You still need a dedicated vehicle for a 50- to 300-kilowatt weapon suitable for downing helicopters, airplanes, or (at the high end) cruise missiles, but 2- to 5-kW weapons with proven drone-killing capability can fit in existing combat vehicles. The 2 kW laser Stryker that starred in a recent Army exercise has room for several infantryman in back, but that’s a test configuration not optimized to be compact, Leary said: A properly integrated production model could fit a full nine-man squad, same as a regular Stryker.
The whole system – laser, beam director, power and cooling – is so compact you could install it on a wide range of vehicles without crowding out their other missions, Boeing executive Jim Leary told reporters this morning. Most of the time, these laser-accessorized vehicles would just go about their normal roles. But whenever an enemy tried to spy on US units with the kind of low-cost, low-altitude drones that are proliferating rapidly worldwide, there’d be someone around who could laser them out of the sky. That would stop Daesh-style drone attacks in low-tech wars and make it harder for a high-end enemy like Russia to spot targets for airstrikes and artillery.
Army laser-armed Stryker at Fort Sill.
Actually shooting down incoming artillery rockets, helicopter gunships, and strike aircraft, however, would require more powerful weapons. For now, that means missiles – although work is progressing rapidly on lasers. The Army’s current air defense vehicle is the Avenger, basically an unarmored Humvee with Stinger missiles mounted in pods, but that vehicle isn’t tough enough and that missile isn’t potent enough for a war with, say, Russia.
So Boeing, which built the original Avenger, is repurposing its turret and fire control to fire other missiles from other vehicles. As we’ve reported, the upgraded system can fire variants of both the Hellfire – made famous by Predator strikes – and the AIM-9X – used on jet fighters. What we haven’t reported in detail before is how it fits on different vehicles. There are tradeoffs.
Bradley vehicle with anti-aircraft missiles.
Boeing has worked with Oshkosh to install the upgraded Avenger turret on an MATV armored truck – the older brother of the new JLTV – and with General Dynamics to install it on a Stryker. In each case, Leary said, the missiles take up the whole back of the vehicle, replacing the passenger compartment. These would be dedicated anti-aircraft vehicles.
The M2 Bradley is a little different. There the anti-aircraft missiles would replace the TOW anti-tank missiles carried on the side of the turret (and use the same room for reloads), similar to the old M6 Linebacker. The fire control systems would be integrated into those already on the Bradley, Leary said. The anti-aircraft Bradley would retain its 25 mm chaingun, its machineguns, and its capacity to carry infantry, so it could still do all its regular missions except for killing tanks and busting bunkers.
Leary didn’t say this, but it strikes me the Army today has far more ways to kill tanks than to kill aircraft. Converting one Bradley in every four-vehicle platoon would trade a tolerable 25 percent decrease in anti-tank missiles for a new and much needed capacity for air defense – without affecting the number of infantry or scouts. Stryker units and light infantry would still need to spring for dedicated air defense vehicles, but the heavy brigades crucial to any major war would not. US armor bristling with air defense might just make the Kremlin reconsider in a crisis.
Chris Pook said:Complementary to a GBAD system - Vehicles with AD systems rather than AT systems
Goodbye, MiG: Boeing, General Dynamics Debut Anti-Aircraft Stryker
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.
on August 09, 2017 at 11:21 AM
HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: If you fly Russian MiG fighters, Sukhoi attack jets, or Hind helicopters, your life just got a little harder — and in the event of war, potentially much shorter. At the Space & Missile Defense conference here, General Dynamics rolled out the latest variant of their eight-wheel-drive Stryker armored vehicle, with the troop compartment that’s normally in the back replaced with a Boeing-built anti-aircraft turret. Scroll down for our photos of the vehicle, dubbed the Maneuver SHORAD (Short-Range Air Defense) Launcher, or MSL Stryker.
Evolved from the Cold War era Avenger, which mounted Stinger missiles on Humvee, the new turret can mount a wider array of more powerful weapons:
AI-3s, a ground-launched version of the AIM-9 missiles used by US fighters, with significantly better range and maximum altitude than the old Stinger.
Longbow Hellfires, originally an anti-tank missile, made famous as the favored weapon of the Predator drone, and suitable for both ground targets and low-flying aircraft like helicopter gunships.
Hydra 2.75 inch guided rockets;
0.50 caliber machineguns;
and even low-powered lasers capable of burning out quadcopters and other small drones.
The vehicle on display at Huntsville’s Werner von Braun Center mounts Hellfires on one side and AI-3s on the other, as well as a specialized electro-optical sensor on top. But the GD Stryker is just one of a family of anti-aircraft vehicles that Boeing is developing with various partners, as heavy as BAE’s tracked Bradleys and as light as Oshkosh’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. A JLTV with anti-aircraft missiles and a machinegun will debut at the enormous Association of the US Army annual conference in Washington, DC this October.
The MSL Stryker’s turret, with two AI-3s (modified AIM-9s) on one side, four Hellfires on the other, and a sensor on top.
The mission for all these vehicles: highly mobile air defense that can keep pace with frontline units and survive in combat zones– what the Army calls Maneuver SHORAD. There’s been no successful airstrike on US Army forces since 1953, when a North Korean biplane flying low and slow slipped through US defenses, Since 1991, the Army has focused on missile defense and disbanded anti-aircraft units, assuming Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots will rule the air and keep enemy aircraft off their backs.
That assumption no longer holds. On the low end, proliferating drones present targets too low and slow for jet fighters to intercept. On the high end, advanced adversaries like Russia and China have developed anti-aircraft missiles that can keep US planes at bay and sophisticated fighters that can challenge US pilots for control of the air. The new threats are driving all of the services to seek countermeasures, especially a new concept for all-service operations known as Multi-Domain Battle.
But we can’t carry out any kind of operations if our forces are bombed and strafed every time they try to move, like the German reinforcements struggling to reach the D-Day beaches in 1944. That’s what Maneuver SHORAD — and the new Stryker vehicle — are all about. If friendly fighters can’t keep enemy aircraft at bay, the ground troops will shoot them down themselves.
Colin P said:I'm guessing the weight of the turret is not as great as the weight of the hull removed and it seems most of it's weigh is in the lower hull. What I am not seeing is where are the reloads?
• All-carbon launcher base weighs 19 kg
• Final development expected in 18-24 months
Rheinmetall is developing a new lightweight remote-controlled missile launcher designed to equip a range of 4x4 and 6x6 tactical mobility vehicles with a short-range surface-to-air or surface-to-surface ready-to-fire capability.
Designed to reduce the weight burden on, and be easily integrated with, forward deployed tactical platforms in an air defence/strike role, the Remote Control Lightweight Missile Mount (abbreviated as RCLM) features an all-carbon lightweight frame, weighing some 19 kg. This frame supports an RCLM base platform, including motors and electronics package to weights of between 100 kg and 140 kg. In addition, the RCLM frame and base platform can support a mission payload of up to 150 kg - including missiles (numbers depending on size of the missile, and weight of the maximum payload), launcher, launch tubes, and sensor package.
"Compared to previously available vehicle-mounted missile launching system, this represents a reduction in weight in the order of some 50%," Johannes Höeggemeier, vice-president for sales, Stabilized Platforms in Rheinmetall's Mission Equipment business unit told IHS Jane's .
The RCLM system is not committed to any specific missile or missile producer, Höeggemeier said. "The new launcher can integrate a variety of surface-to-air and surface-to-surface effectors - examples include the [Raytheon FIM-92] Stinger and [MBDA] Mistral in the surface-to-air role, and the [MBDA KFK] Enforcer, [Rafael Advanced Defence Systems] Spike SR, or even the [MBDA] MMP [Missile Moyenne Portée]." Höeggemeier said the RCLM launcher could be configured for four or six effectors, depending on customer requirement.
Powered by a 24/28V direct current in accordance with MIL-STD-1275B, the RCLM - which can be mounted either on the roof or the loading bed of smaller vehicles - is operated from within the vehicle. Roof-mounted radio antennae and/or an IFF (identification, friend or foe) sensor can also be integrated as part of the RCLM package.