US Army deploying new weapons to Europe to combat Russian threat

A Stryker drives up the hill as part of the movement to assess manueverablity for the Joint Warfighthing Assessment (JWA) exercise in the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 23, 2018. The JWA places a large focus on emergent capabilities, experimetation, and operational concepts. (US Army Reserve photo by Pfc. Maximilian Huth)

The United States Army is stepping up their game in Europe, this time sending new anti-air-capable Stryker combat vehicles that can make short work of Russian helicopters and drones.

In what seems to be the ramping up of a second Cold War, the US Army is once again upping its game in Europe to ensure the safety of its allies against the forces of the Red Star and protect its own troops from aerial threats while on the move- the latter being a doctrine that has been rarely visited since the 1990s.

The Strykers will be equipped with a wide gamut of weapons to destroy close-in air threats attacking maneuvering ground units, to include Hellfire and Stinger missiles, with the possibility of anti-aircraft systems such as 20mm Vulcan guns as well.

“We are looking for a rapid solution for the near-term fight,” said Analysis and Evaluation Program director Major General John Ferrari.

While the systems are a far cry from the olden days when dedicated air defense units were expected to move alongside infantry troops, the Strykers equipped to swat air threats are certainly a step in the right direction- a larger part of an Army effort called short-range-air-defense (SHORAD).

As the age of counterinsurgency doctrine is slowly being taken over by the very real threat of future war with peer adversaries, the “old-school” doctrine of moving as one force (with infantry, armor, anti-air, supply assets, ect.) is once again back in the mind of generals, particularly as Russia continues to become more aggressive.

With fifteen years of fighting less-advanced adversaries, many agree that the US military has a lot of “refreshing” to do.

“We atrophied air defense if you think about it. With more near-peer major combat operations threats on the horizon, the need for SHORAD and high-tier weapons like THAAD and PATRIOT comes back to the forefront. This is a key notion of maneuverable SHORAD – if you are going to maneuver you need an air defense capability able to stay up with a formation,” said Colonel Charles Worshim, Project Manager for Cruise Missiles and Defense Systems.

According to National Interest, the US Military is also eyeing the South Korean-made K30 Biho (called the “Flying Tiger”), a 30mm self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon which combines an electro-optically guided 30mm gun system with surveillance radar on a K200 chassis.

Whatever the outcome, the US military -particularly the Army- appears to see the writing on the wall when it comes to defending against and attacking peer enemies- and they don’t plan on losing.

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