Air and Missile Defence (AMD), neglected during the Army’s focus on counter-insurgency, requires revival to be competitive on the peer-on-peer battlefield.
In addition, the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has introduced a new threat that must be addressed. Brigadier General Brian Gibson, director AMD at Futures Command highlighted the programmes intended to close this gap during his virtual presentation at AUSA Global Force Next (16-18 March).
The Interim Manoeuvre Short Range Aid Defence System (IM-SHORAD) is being delivered to provide forward air defence. The system with its mix of missiles and guns integrated on the General Dynamics Land Systems Striker combat vehicle is in the process of being fielded with the four battalions to be operational by 2023.
Consideration is being given to also including a 50 kilowatt (Kw) high energy laser in future systems. A key advance in AMD sensors will be the introduction of the Raytheon Lower Tier Air and Missile Defence Sensor (LTAMDS) which will replace the current Patriot radar.
It will also tie into the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) which will offer a common integrated fire control capability with a distributed network ‘plug-and-fight’ network architecture. It is currently undergoing user evaluation with a 2022 initial operational capability.
The integration of ADM is receiving particular attention. Lieutenant General Daniel Karbler, commander of the Army’s Space and Missile Command raised the idea of “combined arms air defence” as a future direction for air defence employment. This would be the adaption of ‘convergence’ represented by a sensor-shooter pairing and tactical structuring supported by a mix of weapons and sensors in an AMD task organisation. The changing nature of the AMD threat might necessitate a reconsideration of the its current structure.