PHOTOS: The US Army’s new Strykers blasted drones out of the sky with missiles during first live fire in Europe

Crews from Alpha Battery, 5-4 ADAR perform digital rehearsals with the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system in preparation for the first live-fire of M-SHORAD at the tactical unit level and the first-ever live-fire of the system in Europe on Oct. 7, 2021
Crews from Alpha Battery, 5-4 ADAR perform digital rehearsals with the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system in preparation for the first live-fire of M-SHORAD at the tactical unit level and the first-ever live-fire of the system in Europe on Oct. 7, 2021.
  • The first US Army unit to receive the service's new short-range air defense system put it to the test last week.
  • Soldiers in Germany fired missiles from an M-SHORAD Stryker for the first time in Europe, blasting drones.
  • The M-SHORAD came about amid concerns about Russian unmanned assets and other aerial threats.

US soldiers fired off missiles from the Army's new M-SHORAD Strykers last week, blasting drones out of the sky as they became the first to fire the weapon system in Europe, the Army announced recently.

Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, which is part of the 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command, knocked out aerial drones with Stinger missiles fired from the Army's new Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) Strykers while hammering ground targets with the 7.62mm machine gun at Putlos Bundeswehr range in Germany, the Army said in a statement.

A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021
A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021.

A Stryker is an 8-wheeled armored infantry vehicle. In 2018, the Army made the decision to arm some of these vehicles with sensors and missiles for an air defense role, specifically to defend maneuvering forces from unmanned assets, fixed-wing aircraft, and other aerial threats. The Army decision followed warnings about Russian drone use in Ukraine.

A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021
A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021.

Soldiers from the 5-4 ADAR were the first to get their hands on the M-SHORAD Strykers when they tested a prototype system at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in November 2020. The testing wrapped up in February the following year.

A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021
A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021.

The Army began fielding the M-SHORAD Strykers in April of this year, delivering four units to the 5-4 ADAR operating out of Ansbach, Germany.

A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021
A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021.

M-SHORAD is a replacement for the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger, which is a short-range air defense system that was mounted on a Humvee. Comparatively, the M-SHORAD Strykers are better armored and better armed for high-end combat.

M-SHORAD gunner Spc. Lilly Allen said in an Army statement that she thinks the "Stryker platform overall is one of the best things we could have added to ADA. The maneuverability, the capabilities, everything about it definitely gives our branch an upper hand."

A drone target breaks apart over after a successful intercept by a Stinger missile fired from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021
A drone target breaks apart over after a successful intercept by a Stinger missile fired from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021.

"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," Capt. Connor Knapp, the commander of Alpha Battery, said.

Potentially highlighting concerns about threats posed by Russia, the next major exercise in which the M-SHORAD Strykers will participate is Saber Strike 22 in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland. The large multinational training is focused on responding to regional emergencies, border security challengers, and other threats.

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