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    IM-SHORAD system completes testing on White Sands Missile Range

    IM-SHORAD system ready

    Photo By John Hamilton | The Initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense System is a Stryker-based air defense...... read more read more



    Story by John Hamilton 

    White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs

    Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment are wrapping up a long testing and training mission at White Sands Missile Range.

    The unit has been attached to the Initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense Program since the summer, with the effort closing with an award ceremony held Dec. 3 on White Sands Missile Range. Following a few final short field exercises, the unit will begin the process of returning to Germany and preparing the rest of the 5-4 ADA to receive the system and begin putting it into use.

    As a new air defense system the Soldiers have been training on the use of the system, and conducting a final round of operational assessments, to conduct a kind of final quality control review before the weapons system is finalized and delivered to Army air defense units for use in future operations.

    “The Soldiers provided valuable input for us to take back and make improvements for the future of the system,” said Lt. Col. Michael Bryant, MSHORAD action officer for the Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team “They also had some very good successful engagements with the Hellfire missiles making huge progress for the Army.”

    IM-SHORAD is a Stryker-mounted air defense platform, providing the Army with a replacement to the legacy Avenger system. Better armored, better armed, and more mobile than the system it’s replacing the IM-SHORAD is going to provide the Soldier with a flexible air defense solution that can keep up with a unit on the move, closing out a vulnerability as the use of low altitude threats like helicopters and small drones is on the rise.

    “We’ve learned so much about it, we really enjoy we know that we can push metal and really take care of the job especially for a deployment,” said Sgt. Jae Eddings, gunner with 5-4 ADA and the first woman to fire the IM-SHORAD’s missile system. “High confidence, I enjoy it way more than the Avenger, especially since it has air conditioning and heat… the other thing I love about it is the daytime running camera, that is most definitely better than our old system.”

    Beginning in the Summer, and made all the more difficult due to mandatory COVID-19 quarantine periods, the Soldiers came to WSMR and learned how to use the system before taking it out onto the range and conducting extensive live-fire drills where they shot down numerous aerial targets representing real-world aerial threats.

    “White Sands was an amazing place to give us space and opportunity to test the myriad of fixed wing and rotary wing assets in order to truly test what this system is capable of doing,” said Master Sgt. Derrick Lee, operations NCOIC for the Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team

    The Soldiers used the system as expected, and gave feedback to the program office and vendor allowing the incorporation of a final list of improvements to the system. Much like a quality control team working on a commercial product, the improvements were the kind that may be minor, but can improve the experience of the end user, and make the system just generally work better.

    “There were a lot of things that form a design standpoint the Soldiers were able to test and understand its limitations. Lee said. “I think it’s very important for the Soldier to come and test the system, because we want to give the Soldier the very best equipment to be able to fight and win wars on today’s battlefield. And what better way to have them understand what they are working with before they take that system into combat.”

    This kind of operational testing is a vital component of all acquisitions programs. One of the most important things in the confidence the Soldier has in a new system. A soldier needs to know that the system will not only work, but they also need to know some of the nuances of using the system that only a Soldier can prove out.

    The secondary mission was for the Soldier to train up on the use of the system, allowing them to go back to their home unit in Ansbach Germany, and become the first set of Soldier trainers for the unit’s transition to the new system.

    A visit from Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, director of the Air and Missile defense Cross Functional Team, saw the general award several remarkable Soldiers, and recognize the entire detachment for its efforts on the system.

    “You get a few months where you are the only experts, not in the battalion, not in Europe, but across the globe, you are the only experts on this piece of kit, so be proud about it,” Gibson said.

    The IM-SHORAD system represents more than just a new weapon system, it’s also an example of the Army’s new rapid acquisition cycle in action. In the past the development of a new system has been a long process that could easily take a decade to start to generate results. IM-SHORAD, by comparison only took a few years to go from initial shootoff and selection to a finished product deliverable to the Soldier.

    “From the time the Army said ‘yep we want to do this’ to the point at which the metal was bent and we got it out here, was record time,” said Gibson,. “It matters, this wouldn’t have happened years ago, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support congress, it wouldn’t have happened without our military leadership giving us both the direction and authority, and teh stand-up of Army Futures Command that allows us to expedite capabilities.

    Like many test programs, the IM-SHORAD system will likely continue to see activity on WSMR in the future, as the system gets upgrades, and new capabilities are added.




    Date Taken: 12.01.2020
    Date Posted: 02.10.2021 21:53
    Story ID: 388820

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