Saturday, May 25, 2024

U.S. Army to boost air and missile defense

The U.S Army News Service has announced that Army’s budget request for fiscal year 2020 includes funding to field two “Iron Dome” air defense batteries and the first Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense, or MSHORAD, battery of Stryker variants.

Lt. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-8, spoke Tuesday afternoon at the Association of the U.S. Army’s “Hot Topics” seminar for Air and Missile Defense. His presentation came shortly after specifics of the budget proposal were announced at the Pentagon.

“There’s $1.35 billion aligned against the top four AMD modernization programs,” Pasquarette said about the FY20 budget request.


He added that’s a 65 percent increase from the 2019 budget for funding the four programs: MSHORAD; the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, or IFPC; the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS program; and the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System known as IBCS.

Over $300 million of the proposed budget is earmarked for MSHORAD, which Pasquarette said is a 280 percent increase from this year. It will complete the development and begin low-rate initial production of the MSHORAD systems, he said. It also begins funding of the multi-mission high-energy laser that will eventually be mounted on the MSHORAD Stryker vehicle.

“So we’ll have two really different platforms eventually,” he said. “One with guns and missiles and one with a laser.” 

The FY20 budget begins to equip the first of four MSHORAD battalions, he said. The MSHORAD Strykers fielded next year will have four Stinger missiles on one side and two Hellfire missiles on the other, with a 30mm autocannon and machinegun in the center.

The MSHORAD Strykers with 50-kilowatt lasers are scheduled to be fielded beginning in 2024, he said.

In 2020, the Army also plans to field two batteries of Israel’s “Iron Dome” system as an interim solution for Indirect Fire Protection Capability against rockets and cruise missiles. Each system includes a command post, several launchers and a battlefield radar.

More than $250 million for IFPC is in the FY20 budget request, Pasquarette said. That’s actually a 19 percent decrease from this year, he said, explaining that the program was restructured to experiment with Iron Dome.

“But the funding reduction will not delay the fielding of the enduring IFPC capability,” he said.

“We revised the acquisition strategy based on the decision to go with Iron Dome batteries up front,” he said. “And so we’re going to purchase those two interim IFPC capabilities — the two Iron Dome batteries — and then experiment and figure out what is our enduring capability of the future.”

The FY20 budget requests $427 million for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS program. That’s a 375 percent increase from FY19, Pasquarette said.

“This is going to secure six prototypes and complete software development,” he said, as the program moves toward initial operating capability scheduled for FY22.

The FY20 budget request earmarks $238 million for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System. That’s actually a 25 percent decrease from this year, he said.

“The funding, though, will continue development and support of the second limited user test,” he said. The test is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of FY20.

“Everyone’s really interested in how that will go,” he said.

The $238 million also funds initial prototypes of the command and control system for fielding in FY22, Pasquarette said.

Next year’s budget requests $736 million for the Missile Segment Enhancement program and the Patriot Interceptor. That funding includes procurement of 147 missiles, he said.

For the Patriot missile systems, $606 million was requested for FY20. This includes modifications along with systems integration and tests, he said. “It procures the enhanced launcher electronic system kits, upgrades launchers to Firepack-3s and also (provides funding) to develop software.”

For the Sentinel radar, $220 million will procure eight systems and 50 additional modification kits to improve the existing Sentinel A-3 radars.

About $82 million was requested for Stinger missiles to fund a service life extension and add a proximity fuse to 1,620 missiles, he said.

The FY20 budget includes $63 million for the Air and Missile Defense Planning Control System, which will procure equipment sets for the MSHORAD battalions and address shortfalls in the National Guard, Pasquarette said.

The FY20 budget also requests $15 million for Avenger systems — missile launchers on Humvees — which will “fill the gap” until IFPC becomes fully fielded by about 2031, he said.

“So we’ll be leaning on Avenger for a little bit,” he said.

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About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more



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