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US Army inks $1.2bn deal to equip combat vehicles with air defense weapons

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US Army has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Land Systems for Stryker combat vehicles equipped with new short-range air defense weapons. (File photo)

The US Army just awarded a $1.2 billion contract to General Dynamics Land Systems for Stryker combat vehicles equipped with new short-range air defense weapons.

Under the contract, the company will produce, test and deliver Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) Strykers to the Army, a key modernization effort for the service, according to an Oct. 2 company news release.

The IM-SHORAD is designed to counter threats from unmanned aerial systems, as well as enemy helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft, according to the release, which adds that the Army's initial, $230 million order calls for 28 Stryker IM-SHORAD vehicles.

"This dedicated SHORAD capability adds a new operational dimension to the Stryker fleet in all of the US Army's maneuver formations," Don Kotchman, vice president and general manager of GD Land Systems -- the company that also manufactures Stryker vehicles for the service -- said in the release.

General Dynamics has partnered with Leonardo DRS and Raytheon on the deal, which has an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2025, according to the release.

Air and missile defense is a major modernization priority for the US Army as it prepares for future, large-scale conflicts with adversaries such as Russia and China.

The IM-SHORAD vehicles will be equipped with Raytheon's Stinger Missiles.

The US Army is also working to equip Strykers with 50-Kilowatt lasers under the Directed-Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) effort.

In July 2019, the service selected Northrop and Raytheon to develop competing prototypes of 50-kilowatt laser-equipped Strykers as part of a $203 million deal that includes Kord Technologies as the prime contractor.

Northrop and Raytheon will each bring their laser-equipped Stryker to a competitive shoot-off scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. US Army officials plan to select one of the prototypes, which will ultimately be among four vehicles fielded to the first platoon equipped with the 50-kilowatt version of M-SHORAD.


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